Taking your first steps in the world of figure skating is an adventure that can transform into a lifelong pursuit of your personal skating journey. For some skaters, that involves chasing a spot on Team USA, and for others, it is simply getting the opportunity to participate in a sport they love (plus many other options in between). Regardless of where you are headed, everyone starts at the same place — the basics.
U.S. Figure Skating provides resources and programming for skaters of all ages to get started in the sport. From Learn to Skate USA® to specialized beginner programming at a skating club near you, there are many resources available to help aspiring skaters achieve their dreams. Browse the information provided below to find the programming and disciplines that interest you, and get started on your personal skating journey today.
Aim higher with the Aspire program!
As you make your transition from group lessons to U.S. Figure Skating’s introductory membership, the Aspire program is a cost-effective package program in place to inspire and educate you about what it means to be a figure skater. The safe, supportive group training environment motivates skaters to acquire new skills, develop good practice habits and learn the fundamentals of off-ice training alongside their peers.
Learn to Skate USA®
Before you can figure skate, you need to learn the basics of ice skating. Endorsed by U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey and US Speedskating, Learn to Skate USA®, powered by Toyota, introduces beginning skaters to the fundamentals of ice skating. Through personalized attention, skaters are better prepared to move on to more specialized forms of skating.
At the early stages, Learn to Skate USA® teaches everyone the fundamentals of ice skating before moving on to specialized programming that allows you to hone your skills. For aspiring figure skaters, participants advance to participate in the free skate, ice dance, synchronized, Theatre On Ice, Artistry in Motion, pairs and Axel Club curricula.
Ice Skating Disciplines
In singles figure skating, men and women compete solo, demonstrating required elements during a program that can include jumps, spins, step sequences and more. There are two segments that make up domestic and international competitions: the short program and free skate.
As defined by the International Skating Union, pairs figure skating is "the skating of two persons in unison who perform their movements in such harmony with each other as to give the impression of genuine Pair Skating as compared with independent Single Skating.” Each pair consists of one male and one female skater, and together they complete both a short program and free skate. In contrast to ice dance, pairs skating features overhead lifts, and side-by-side jumps and spins.
With its roots in ballroom dancing, ice dance features a male and female performing a choreographed routine to music. Similar to singles and pairs, ice dance has two competition segments: a rhythm dance and a free dance.
In synchronized skating, a team of eight to 20 skaters work together to perform a choreographed routine in unison. Originally known as “precision skating” due to the high level of coordination needed to successfully manage such a large number of people on the ice at one time, synchronized skating is a true team sport that brings individual skaters together into a single, cohesive unit.