What This Workbook Explores
How we think about movement training:
- Compartmentalizing movement training can greatly handicap progress especially in the young skater. Are various classes taken in the vague hope that “something” might help? Is physical conditioning viewed as a necessary evil to just “do” and get over with to achieve an end product? Continuity in movement training brings organization to the learning process. When all movement is connected in the mind and body of the skater the “product”, will be a reflection of the continuity of training. Consistency in performance as well as confidence in presentation will be achieved more quickly.
That more is not always better:
- Endless repetitions of an exercise without precise concentration on the task at hand or taking into account the age and condition of the skater are two of the major causes of overuse injuries. Learning how to focus, feel and accurately communicate about the entire process of movement training (involving the whole person) will increase: mental awareness, physical control, efficiency of movement, and more accurate repetitions. This in turn produces positive, progressive change, reduces the risk of injury and creates a true sense of mastery within the skater.
- How raising intuitive abilities through visualization techniques and intuitive analysis can improve technical ability.
- To recognize the differences between internal and external visualization and how to utilize each at appropriate times in training.
How the interrelationships between anatomy and physiology play a crucial role in training:
- How to assess your personal alignment “map”
- Where and when not to stretch
- Why sleep is so important both to the creative process as well as growth and physical healing.
- Why certain muscles need more warm-up time than others.
- Why deep breathing is so important to emotional as well as physical health
- How posture affects attitude
Body Awareness and the “origins” of movement:
- Every movement has a proper origin within the body. To be successful each of these origins need to be understood and felt. For example: From where on your body does “turn-out” originate? What are the primary muscles used in a jump take-off and how does that affect the landing? Every body part affects the whole, and even “isolated” movements require control in the rest of the body. Proper body alignment and awareness of these “origins” affects every aspect of one’s skating: jumps; spins; footwork and artistic expression. Applying these principles consistently will unify and enhance every part of your skating.
- How balance, centering and moving on different spatial planes are affected by eye focus and head position. The head, neck and eyes are often neglected in movement training yet they are crucial to balance and spatial perception. Building spatial awareness into movement training through the use of varying eye foci and head orientation during exercises precludes having to “re-train” balance problems when later adding choreography.
What to look for in off-ice dance classes
- The quality of classes in any given field will vary from location to location. Many parents, coaches and skaters do not know what to expect or look for in dance class training. Often dance studios, especially in rural areas, are geared toward recitals (choreographed pieces) and not toward teaching technical excellence as a methodical process. Ballet is often reduced to just another “style of dance” and not taught as the mind-body training method that it truly is. Understanding the difference between simply learning the outward appearance of a movement and learning the inner workings of that same movement on a technical and intuitive level will help to bring clarity, continuity and focus to any movement or conditioning class and put it within the grasp of the figure skater’s needs.
Who is this book for?
A – Adult figure skaters: To help skaters learn how proper body alignment, placement and good breathing techniques should feel within their own bodies and how to take that technique into any lesson both on and off ice; to help skaters not to simply copy movement but to create within themselves a conscious awareness of the importance of moving with intelligence, freedom and deliberate control from the inside out; the “mind- body” connection; to stimulate creative thinking and exploration of their own movement patterns within the context of good skating technique and artistic expression.
B – Coaches: To help increase awareness as to how applying the biomechanics of human movement to both artistry and technique from “the ground up” will benefit every aspect of their teaching and coaching; to identify what benefits their skaters should be receiving particularly from their off-ice dance classes, and to help provide a cohesive learning environment for their skaters by reinforcing these principals during their on-ice lessons; to use the technical as well as the creative methods in this book to help spark the coaches’ own creative forces.
C – Dance Instructors: To bring an awareness of the special needs of figure skaters taking their classes. Edges and velocity make a difference in body placement and the particular feel of a movement; to recognize that whether the dance instructor is teaching at the rink or the dance studio, skaters primarily need to grasp origins of movement, musicality and the “Whys” of correct movement technique respecting the differences between the two forms.
- Over 90 precise and clearly explained exercises illustrated with over 400 color photographs demonstrated by: Cloe Albiero, former student with the Paris Opera Ballet; Kimmy Geddie, Director of Dr. Peggy Willis-Aarnio’s Conservatory of Classical Ballet, and Principal Artist with The Willis Ballet; Caroline Lee Pak 1988 U.S. Nationals Novice Gold Medallist, figure skating coach and Pilates instructor
- Beautiful watercolors of elite figure skaters by artist Sarah S. Brannen
- Technical and artistic illustrations by Mary Gainer
- Additional professional photography by: Sarah S. Brannen, Kathy Goedeken, Dina Makarova, and Rhonda Wiles.
- Reflective and analytical workbook questions with blank note pages provided.
Conveniently spiral bound to lay flat for teaching purposes.
Chapter 1: A Unified Approach to Movement Training*
Chapter 2: Anatomy and Physiology 101**
Chapter 3: Kinesthetic Awareness
Chapter 4: The Warm-Up
Chapter 5: Fundamentals of Classical Barrework
* Illustration © 2006 Sarah Brannen
** Illustration © 2006 M. Gainer