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There are five disciplines in figure skating:

  • Freeskate
  • Skills
  • Dance
  • Artistic
  • Synchro

As skaters develop they should be given lessons in all disciplines of skating.  Tests are given in all disciplines of skating and children progress through the disciplines starting with the pre prelim tests and ending with the gold test. Group lessons provided within the CanSkate program are an introduction to all the disciplines of skating.


In Free Skating skaters learn how to execute jumps, to spin in a variety of positions and to incorporate those and other skills into a program of a specified length using connecting steps and music interpretation.  It is divided in to six different levels: Preliminary, Junior Bronze, Senior Bronze, Junior Silver, Senior Silver, and Gold.

Each free skating test is divided into two parts, Elements in Isolation and Free Program.  The Elements in Isolation consist of stroking exercises (which all must be assessed as Satisfactory or better in order to pass), jump and spin elements, field movements and step sequences.  Of the 14 elements performed at each level 12 must receive Satisfactory or better evaluations in order to pass that portion of the test.  The Free Program is a program of a specified length skated to music of the candidate’s choice.  The program must successfully demonstrate certain elements in order to be passed.


Consisting of seven levels of tests, the Dance program teaches timing, musicality, rhythm, interpretation, structure as well as basic skating skills such as edges, flow, control and unison.  Dancers skate with partners and sometimes by themselves to various musical rhythms, including waltz, tango and blues.  Each compulsory dance has a series of steps that must be skated in a specific pattern.  Dancers progress through the six different test levels, and can skate the dance tests in any order within each level.  A candidate must pass a specified number of the test dances at one level before proceeding to the next.  In addition to the compulsory dances, there are also Creative Dance tests, which can be taken as the skater progresses through the levels.


These are exercises skated to prescribed music, containing edges, turns and field movements designed to expand on the fundamental movements for skaters of all levels.  The basic components of all disciplines of figure skating are incorporated into the program.  Edge quality, control, power and speed are basic skating fundamentals that are mastered in the skating skills area.  Skating skills consist of eleven test levels, Star 1 to 10 and Gold.  Each has specific exercises that need to be performed successfully to pass.


Artistic skating encourages creativity and movement to music, and allows skaters to explore the performance aspect of skating without focusing on technical elements.  Skaters may take artistic tests in four different Star 5, 7, 9 and Gold.


Excerpted from Skate Canada Publication, "Figure Skating: What Every Parent Needs To Know"



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