The links and curriculum are used with permission from U.S. Figure Skating.
The Learn to Skate USA program was released in June 20216. This is a comprehensive program endorsed by US Figure Skating, USA Hockey, US Speed Skating and the Special Olympics.
Skaters may choose to test their skills in front of a panel of USFSA (United States Figure Skating Association) judges in order to advance their skill level. Our club offers skaters the opportunity to work on skills in three areas for USFSA testing: Moves in the Field (MIF), Free Skate and Dance. Clubs throughout the state of Wisconsin offer test sessions throughout the year. Skaters must be Full Club Members and submit an application, signed and approved by the coach and a board member, in order to be eligible for testing.
Skaters may choose to pursue testing for the following reasons:
Moves in the Field (MIF) are patterns that skaters learn on the ice in order to improve quality of edges, quickness, power, posture, body control and footwork.
Skaters learn MIF patterns during both group Free Skate lessons and private lessons.
When a skater has mastered all of the patterns at each level, s/he is able to test in front of a panel of USFSA judges at a local test session. The judges evaluate and score each pattern. Skaters must earn a minimum score in order to pass the MIF level. If a skater does not earn the minimum score, s/he is able to retry the test again on or after 28 days.
Skaters must pass levels in successive order (i.e., Pre-preliminary MIF must be passed prior to testing Preliminary MIF) because the skills build upon each other as the skater advances. In addition, skaters must pass Moves in the Field prior to testing Free Skate at the same level (i.e., Pre-preliminary MIF must be passed prior to testing Pre-preliminary Free Skate).
When a skater passes the Senior level MIF test, s/he earns Gold Medalist status in MIF through the USFSA.
Free Skate is the area of figure skating that we are most accustomed to seeing on television. Skaters perform spins, jumps and other elements in programs skated to music.
Each level of Free Skate has required elements the skater must master and perform during a program skated to music (with the exception of Pre-preliminary Free Skate, which is not skated to music). Typically, there are five jump elements, two to three spin elements and footwork. The program must be well-choreographed and show a relationship with the music as skaters are judged not only on the required elements, but also the artistry of the program.
Skaters learn choreographed programs during private lessons with a coach. When the skater has mastered all of the required elements and has passed the prerequisite level of Moves in the Field, the skater tests the program in front of a panel of USFSA judges. If the skater does not pass, s/he is able to retry the test again on or after 28 days.
Free Skate tests are taken in successive order so that skaters must master skills from a lower level prior to advancing to a higher, more difficult level (i.e., Preliminary Free Skate test must be passed prior to testing the Pre-Juvenile Free Skate test).
When a skater passes the Senior level Free Skate test, s/he earns Gold Medalist status in Free Skate through the USFSA.
Ice Dance is the area of figure skating in which skaters must perform set-pattern dances to music. Dances are performed with a partner through the Pre-Silver level; for Silver and above, dances are performed both with a partner and as a solo.
Ice Dance requires skaters to learn to skate steps in time to the music, have good quality edges, power, speed, flow and grace across the ice, proper posture and rhythm.
There are three dances at the Preliminary through Silver levels, four dances at the Pre-Gold and Gold levels and ten dances at the International level.
When a skater has mastered the dance pattern and steps during private lessons, s/he will schedule practice time with a dance partner and test the dance in front of a panel of USFSA judges at a local test session.
Skaters may test one dance at a time or multiple dances. However, all dances at the lower level must be passed prior to testing dances at the next level (i.e. all three Preliminary dances must be passed prior to testing a Pre-Bronze dance). A skater must receive a minimum score in both the categories of Technique and Timing/Expression in order to pass the dance test. Technique focuses on the accuracy of the skater's steps, edges and dance pattern while Timing/Expression focuses on skating the steps to the correct rhythm of the dance as well as matching facial and body expression to the mood of the dance (i.e., the Cha Cha is upbeat, so the skater is expected to smile). If a skater does not pass, the dance may be retried on or after 28 days.
Once a skater passes all four Gold level dances, s/he earns Gold Medalist status in Dance through the USFSA.
Dances may be tested in any order within each test level; however, all dances must be passed at the lower level prior to testing a dance at a higher level (i.e., at the Preliminary level, the skater may test the Canasta Tango prior to testing the Dutch Waltz and Rhythm Blues, but all three must be passed prior to testing any dance at the Pre-Bronze level).
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