Specialty Figures – Angel Wings (Kirsten Olson)

Specialty figures expert Kirsten Olson teaches the specialty figure “angel wings.”  (See Kirsten’s presentation on the Maltese Cross specialty figure here.)  The turns used for angel wings are the bracket and the double three turn.  Kirsten demonstrates the pattern and draws over it with a marker so we can see it.  She notes that the hardest part about this figure is generating the “natural” rotation for the double three turn immediately after the “counter” rotation of the bracket.  Kirsten says, “But that’s what makes this figure a good practice tool for them [skaters].  Especially going in for novice and above where they have to do these footwork sequences and be flipping both directions as quickly as possible.”  She talks about how to check and release the turns properly and she explains that this figure requires patience and a willingness to go slowly.

Kirsten redraws the pattern smaller so it’s easier to see and she notes that more advanced skaters can shrink the pattern a little and do it entirely on one foot.  She talks about how to generate the necessary speed and power when transitioning from one wing to the next with a power pull.  She does a mini demonstration and explains that the one-foot version ends up with the edges and turns switching direction.  Kirsten encourages you to modify this pattern and play with it.  She says, “Get creative with them.  There is really no right or wrong way to figure out your pattern so much as the pattern is complete.”  She suggests starting on either foot or starting backwards instead of forwards.  She says, “Specialty figures are all about the tracings you’re making on the ice…  Make it difficult and make it creative.”

Why do these figures?  They build edge and turn control as Kirsten notes briefly at the end.


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