Subtleties of Partner Skating – Basic Stroking (Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue)

Two-time World Ice Dance Medalists Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue teach a class on the foundational details of partner skating, and in particular, basic stroking with a partner. For those interested in partner skating (pairs or ice dance), there is a ton of great info in this video. Zach is clear about the starting position, particularly the hands at shoulder height, and the necessary tension for “connection” with the partner. With proper connection, the follow knows when the lead is going to stroke.

Most of the lesson is about how to create this connection, and it often requires patience (waiting) and smooth and clear movements (bending, maintaining arm tension, etc) and a focus on feeling rather than seeing (closing eyes). Zach offers helpful demonstrations with Madison and also with one of the skaters in the class. Zach notes that even with set steps or choreography, each individual on the team has specific responsibilities and should work to maintain the connection. The urge for most skaters new to partnering is to rush and speed up, but this is a recipe for poor results.


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