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USFSA Curriculum Levels & Resources

Learn to Skate USA

The links and curriculum are used with permission from U.S. Figure Skating.  

The Learn to Skate USA program was released in June 2016. This is a comprehensive program endorsed by US Figure Skating, USA Hockey, US Speed Skating and the Special Olympics.

Please click on links below for a complete list of skills for each level:

Snowplow Sam

The Snowplow Sam levels are designed to help the preschool-age skater develop preliminary coordination and strength to maneuver on the ice. Snowplow Sam is a big, fuzzy polar bear who loves to skate. Time with Snowplow Sam will allow preschool children to become comfortable on the ice.

Basic Skills

The “basic skills” are the fundamentals of the sport. These eight levels of the program introduce the fundamental moves: forward skating, backward skating, stops, edges, crossovers, turns and Mohawks. Upon completion of the Basic 1-8 levels, skaters will have a basic knowledge of the sport, enabling them to advance to more specialized areas of skating.

Free Skate

Each Free Skate level is divided into four sections: moves in the field, spins, dance/footwork sequence and jumps. The Free Skate levels are designed to give skaters a strong foundation on which to build their skills. This is the point where the skater can choose whether to pursue a recreational or competitive approach to the sport of figure skating.

Skate Coach iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch Apps

Videos and Tips for all the U.S. Figure Skating skill requirements. These apps offer a helpful visual resource for all of the skills listed in the Snowplow Sam, Basic Skills and Freeskate levels. Apps are available for all to purchase. Link opens iTunes Store.

What is a Gold Medalist? Link to the USFSA Webpage

Passing Senior Level tests is a very high accomplishment and takes many years of practice and dedication. To learn more about Gold Medalist status and the Gold Medalist jacket, click on the above link to the USFSA website.

USFSA Testing

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:

  • To further develop their skating skills using set standards
  • To be more competitive at local competitions by improving power, edges and quality of skating
  • To better focus their practice ice time
  • To gain credentials to meet future goals of becoming a coach
  • To earn points toward a feature in the annual ice show
  • To gain a better understanding and knowledge of the sport of figure skating

Moves in the Field

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

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.

Moves in the Field Test Levels

  • Pre-preliminary
  • Preliminary
  • Pre-juvenile
  • Juvenile
  • Intermediate
  • Novice
  • Junior
  • Senior








Free Skate Test Levels

  • Pre-preliminary
  • Preliminary
  • Pre-juvenile
  • Juvenile
  • Intermediate
  • Novice
  • Junior 
  • Senior









Dance Test Levels

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).

  • Preliminary
    • Dutch Waltz, Canasta Tango and Rhythm Blues
  • Pre-Bronze
    • Cha Cha, Fiesta Tango and Swing Dance
  • Bronze
    • Willow Waltz, Hickory Hoedown and Ten-Fox
  • Pre-Silver
    • Fourteenstep, European Waltz and Foxtrot
  • Silver
    • American Waltz, Tango and Rocker Foxtrot
  • Pre-Gold
    • Kilian, Paso Doble, Starlight Waltz and Blues
  • Gold
    • Viennese Waltz, Westminster Waltz, Quickstep and Argentine Tango
  • International
    • Austrian Waltz, Cha Cha Congelado, Finnstep, Golden Waltz, Midnight Blues, Ravensburger Waltz, Rhumba, Silver Samba, Tango Romantica and Yankee Polka