Spin Class, Part 1 – Forward Upright Spin (Kim Ryan)

Figure skating spin specialist Kim Ryan teaches a spin class at a recent seminar. This is a chance for us to learn or review Kim’s main teaching concepts related to spins. The first video focuses on preparing for the forward upright spin, also called the forward scratch spin. Kim begins with a discussion and demonstration of her “skinny-v” concept, noting that it’s very helpful for centering. The skinny-v has both arms in front of the skater at slight angles with the thumbs up and the elbows down, and the free leg is straight and either directly in front of the skater or slightly off to the side (not way off to the side).

For pulling the arms in, Kim has the skaters keep their arms straight but cross them in front a the wrists, thumbs still up. Then the skater bends the elbows downward and pulls the hands (thumbs) toward the body. When bringing the free leg in, Kim has the skaters bend the free knee and cross the free foot in front of the skating leg while keeping the free knee in front. The free knee should not be off to the side, because that would cause the hips to open which increases the likelihood of traveling. The timing has the skater cross the wrists at the same time as pulling the free foot across, and then pull the hands in at the same time as pressing the free foot down.

To end this portion of the class, Kim talks about the need for skaters to communicate with their bodies. And part of that is “inviting the audience in” by having open hands (palms up). This not only affects the presentation of the spin, but it also helps keep the shoulders open and down, further helping with centering and the overall look of the spin.


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