Figure Skating - Lifts


Lifts are a required element in pair skating and ice dancing. Pairs lifts differ from dance lifts most notably in that dancers are not allowed to lift their partners above their shoulders.

Dance lifts are differentiated by the skating involved. There are seven kinds of lifts approved for ISU competitions. They are separated into short lifts and long lifts. There are many positions the lifting and the lifted partner can take to improve the difficulty of the lift. Each position must be held for at least three seconds to count and is permitted only once a program.

Unlike dance lifts, pair lifts are grouped by the holds involved. In ISU senior level competition, the man must rotate more than one times, but fewer than three a half. In competitive pair skating, lifts must travel across the ice to be included in the technical elements score while stationary lifts are included in choreography. There are five different groups of pairs lifts, differentiated by the holds involved. Legal holds are Armpit holds, Waist holds, Hand to hip holds, and Hand to hand. There are two kinds of hand to hand lifts: press lifts and lasso lifts. The lasso lifts are considered the most difficult pair lifts. The judges look at speed, ice coverage, the quality of the lady's position, position changes, and the man's stability and cleanness of turns throughout. Skaters may also raise their score by having a difficult entry such as in spiral or spread eagle position, a difficult exit, or other feature such as stopping and/or changing the direction of rotation.

Twist lifts are a form of pair lifts, where the lifted partner is thrown into the air, twists, and is caught by the lifted partner. The lady may do a split before the twist, called a split twist. This is not mandatory, but it increases the grade of execution of the element if each leg is separated by at least a 45° angle from the body axis. The lady must be caught by her waist in the air. She lands on the backward outside edge. The man also ends the lift on one foot. Judges also look at the height of the element. Skaters may raise their score by performing turns, steps or other moves before the element, the lady holding her arms over her head, or delayed rotation.

In both pairs and dance, lifts that go on longer than allowed receive deductions.

Synchronized skating teams are also allowed to perform lifts in the free skating portion of the senior division only. Lifts can be pair lifts (such as in a dance lift) or a group lift with two or more skaters lifting another skater. In a pair lift, no more than one arm may be fully extended above the head at any time. Acrobatic lifts are not allowed. To gain additional points, teams will sometimes rotate and/or move lifts across the ice.

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