Artistic roller skating first gained official recognition back in the 1870s and today, under the umbrella of The Federation of Artistic Roller Skating, the sport is proving very popular with people of all ages. It is a sport similar to figure skating but where competitors wear roller skates instead of ice skates. One form of the sport may even make the next Olympics!
The Federation is keen to promote the sport and encourage skaters to become proficient enough to be able to enjoy the sport and, hopefully, eventually compete in artistic roller skating events and, with the latest developments, even become Olympians!
There is a wide-ranging competition programme; so skilled skaters can compete at all levels. The highlight of the year is the World Championships.
In artistic roller-skating, there are several elements to practice like spins, arabesque, jumps, turns and lots more elements but there are also different types of skating.
In freestyle roller dancing, the movements are based on music. This type of dance is either choreographed or planned so any level skater can come and dance.
For figure skating, there is a minimum of two circles and a maximum of three. Skaters perform on a circle, maybe to do an edges routine (when you use one of your legs to do a nice edge round the circle). The judges will pick the best edge.
Inline skating is when you perform on inline skates and can include jumps, spins and turns. Recently, it was announced that the speed version of the sport could even feature in the 2020 Olympics!
(The above forms of skating are typically performed on laminate flooring or a similar surface that won’t scrape your wheels. But there are a lot more types of skating, often on the street or anywhere really.)
"Inline speed skating is a 21st-century sport that can bring a new dimension to the Olympic movement,"Anne-Marie Waugh, CEO of the British Roller Sports Federation, told BBC Sport. “It is fast, exciting, thrilling and above all unpredictable.” The strongest all-round nations at present are Colombia, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, France, Italy and Belgium.
Artistic roller skating looks very similar to skating on ice and many ice skaters started in roller skating. Roller figure skating is often considered to be more difficult than ice skating as roller skates are heavier making jumping harder.
'I don't recognise that club badge, Whereabouts are you from ?', a gentleman asked me as I stood next to him whilst watching skating at a recent competition. 'Lincoln', I replied. 'I didn't know that there was one of our clubs in Lincoln', he commented.
I do not know if you're aware but Lincoln hasn't skated competitively in artistic rollerskating for over 40 years. There's obviously been roller disco's, roller derby, speed skating and at one point there was even roller hockey. But artistic rollerskating never really happened in Lincoln.
Hence I felt really privileged to stand alongside our skaters as they stepped onto the rinks at this years competitions. Our first competition in September in Bolton saw us walk away with five beginners medals. However our latest competition in Great Yarmouth saw exactly the opposite. Someone once said that it is not the number of medals that you win that makes you great, but the attitude behind the medals.
As I look back over the short history of Lincoln Artistic Roller Skating one of the things that I am very pleased about is the attitude and the approach of all our skaters, parents and trainers. Even on days where training seems very hard and very tough we always keep smiling and we always keep trying. We all know that we have a very hard and very tough road in front of us as we begin to prepare for next years competitions but I am 100% convinced that the attitude that we have is more than what we need to make us more and more successful.
I was recently reminded of the story of Blondin who first tightrope walked above Niagara falls in 1859. In order for Blondin to make this perilous 17 minute walk he needed to believe that he could do it. But that belief did not get him from one side to the other. He needed to act on that belief and put one foot in front of the other to make the journey. (On one occasion he carried his top hatted manager on his back across the same rope, now that is trusting someone). When we first talked about starting an artistic rollerskating club a few years ago, some people laughed and said it would never happen. When we started talking about taking people to competitions again people said that we wouldn't manage it. But we have taken one step after another and we have got there.
I would really like to encourage all our skaters to believe that they can achieve great things with their skating, don't just believe that you can do the elements you need to do, believe you can Jump the jumps, spin the spins and learn the footwork and the choreography.
Having a great attitude and having belief is fantastic. But as we've said having belief doesn't actually make it happen.
Blondin started practicing to be a tight rope walker as a very young boy after seeing a circus in his home town. He would spend hours every day practising his tight rope walking with his fathers fishing rod. He knew that he could do it but he also knew that he needed to practice practice and practice to do it. For all of us to get to where we need to be we need to work very hard. We need to practice the elements time and time again until they are perfect and not make excuses or reasons why things don't happen. But find ways to make them happen.
As club coach I believe that all our skaters can achieve great things with their skating, I'm proud of everything that you've already accomplished I'm proud of everything you're going to accomplish.
Belief makes it real. But hard work and faith makes it happen.
I got my 1st pair of roller skates for my 7th birthday, my mum wanted something fun to do together that we could both enjoy as she used to skate. We found a roller disco to go to on a Friday night and went every week we could as i loved it, I learnt to skate quickly I was very determined and didn't give up when I fell over I just got straight back up again. My mum taught me the basics but soon I was better than her and could also skate backwards really well something she never mastered (something she admits herself). The roller disco got too busy even when 2 others started up in Lincoln and it got impossible to move let alone skate! so I began looking for somewhere better to go.
Skating makes me feel good, alive and free.
I found LINCOLN ARTISTIC ROLLER SKATING and I was lucky as its very close to where we live, and everyone is so friendly and helped me fit in. Nigel is a great teacher and has really helped me to take my skating to another level in the few months I have been there, I have already passed my grade 4. I have also made new friends at the group who like skating as much as I do. I recently practiced and performed my first showcase which I really enjoyed and it was the first time I have shown my love of skating to other people.
I hope to get good enough to perform in a competition one day, but until then I will keep practicing !!
My name is Jonny Clegg and I'm 22 years old. I compete nationally and internationally at Senior Men level.
I started skating at the age of 11 which is quite late to start I feel. I fell in love almost instantly with the sport. I skated at a rink which was 10 minutes away from my house. So every Saturday and Sunday you would find me walking down to go and skate. I would always be the first one there, the first on the rink and the last one off the rink. By the time I was 16 years old I had reached preliminary standard in Solo Dance. I then found out about the British Championships, Cup Of Europe, World Championships etc. I had no idea that there were so many other opportunities so I looked into it and found out to qualify for the championships I'd have to be Silver standard as I was in the Junior category.
I worked so hard to achieve this and then went on to pass Inter-Bronze, Bronze, Inter-Silver & Silver Solo Dance in just 8 months. Including Elementary, Preliminary, Inter-bronze Couples Dance and Elementary Freestyle.
I would never force so many tests on a skater but I was determined to get to that standard. I did it and so can anyone else. You just have to work hard and push yourself.
Now, I've achieved lots of goals as I'm Inter-Gold solo dance, Bronze Couples dance and Preliminary Freestyle. I've also competed at the Cup Of Europe in France and Portugal including other Internationals.
Skating means so much to me. My favourite part of training is at the very beginning when you've just put your skates on and you skate around warming up. Every time it gives me goosebumps and I feel like I'm in my own little world. I'd skate forever if I could.
If you have passion, determination, enthusiasm and commitment to something you love, with skating or anything in life, then nothing can stop you other than yourself. Go for it!
I heard you've been watching my oooooooold videos! I hope you're enjoying them. A lot of love went into those performances. And a lot of time and effort. Those routines, were the result of years of hard work and dedication. I couldn't have been as successful as I was if I didn't love it, but just as important were the hours and hours every week that I trained. Luckily because I loved it so much it didn't feel like work. But it was. I skated six days a week when I was younger...sometimes seven. Any chance I could get, I was in the rink. Maybe you don't have the chance to get there that often, so it's so important to make the time that you are there focused and concentrated practice time. Challenge yourself every day, try to be better each time you head to the rink, and even when things get hard, remember how much you love it!
I heard about LARS on Radio Lincolnshire when Nigel was being interviewed about the club, which was then Lincs skate school. I was really interested in learning to skate backwards after a couple of tries at a roller disco. I contacted Nigel and at 49, two years ago, I donned a pair of roller skates and the rest well is history.
Was I nervous, Oh yes I certainly was and tottered about doing ‘penguin’ steps. I kept going each week, keen to improve and desperate to get my first grade passed.
It didn’t take long for me to be hooked and by the following January I had ordered my own artistic skates and I was so excited when they arrived.
I was honored when Nigel and Patricia asked to join the team and help at our skating sessions.
I progressed, slowly I must say. It took me a year to pass my grade 3 in artistic roller skating and do a 3 turn.
A showcase was organized for us all and as the date got closer I got more nervous and on the day my legs were shaking so much but I completed my routine and even stayed upright. By the time the second showcase came along I felt so much more confident and felt I performed my routine much better.
Our club is so friendly and we all look out for each other. It is so good to see the younger skaters progress, not just as skaters but as people as well, and become confident in themselves. I feel very honored to be a part of just a fun loving caring club and feel we are not just teaching skating but encouraging the growth of young people too.
Thanks, Karen Horner-Glister
Skating… Roller Skating… Artistic Roller Skating…. Wow! Where do I start?
Like with every sport, you need commitment, passion and a love for what you are doing; but to skate you need resilience and self-discipline. It isn’t easy skate, your centre of gravity and your balance goes out the window when you first get your skates on. However once you have that back and you can move, the feeling of skating around the hall is like nothing else, indescribable.
I started to skate when I was 8 years old with my mum, at a local club in Oxfordshire. When I saw the other skaters skating and doing their dances, thinking it looked to graceful, especially by mum; I knew it would be something I would love. I had already been dancing for 2/3 years, so dancing on skates looked interesting, new and exciting. But then comes the first hurdle, passing the grades! As without the basic elements and postures skating doesn’t happen, let alone the dances.
Passing your grades seems a long slow process, your coach always giving your something else to think about, something else to correct, but that feeling of finally completing an element to pass your grade it amazing. It took me, what felt like ages to get my Mohawk correct, but now knowing I can do it; it’s that next building block to achieve something even better. My next challenge is getting by backwards edges to pass my grade 6; I will get there, it is just a matter of practice, practice, practice with a little added patience.
The best thing about skating is the club! The friends you make and the laughs we have. There are always, well most the time; tumbles on the way to learning a new element, but the club friends are always there to cheer you up and get you back up on your skates. Sometimes the elements we are given to learn look impossible and when learning it little by little still feels impossible to complete, but that feeling of accomplishment, when you have done it for the first time reminds me each week why I keep skating.
Roller skating isn’t easy but each week we make progress and every showcase we do, shows me that the things we thought were impossible are possible. I feel so proud of what I have achieved and that of the others I skate with. Like our club moto says ‘its not learning to skate, its learning to fly’. This is so true.
Thank you LARS for keeping me skating.
Hi, and welcome to the first blog from Lincoln Artistic Roller Skating.
Last Sunday, the 26th of April the club held its second showcase. It was a morning of great enthusiasm, excitement and also courage. It was fantastic to see club members putting their skates on, getting done up and showing off what they have learnt over their time with the club. The event included individual programs and group routines put together by skaters and staff members. The excitement and buzz of the morning got me thinking back to when the club was first launched in January 2014and how far we have come in the short time since then.
A few days later the idea of a club blog was mentioned to me. Linked with the thoughts from the showcase and that idea here go, the first club blog. Or as well-known search engine puts it’s ‘the airing of musing on something that interests (in this case Lincoln Artistic Roller Skating).
I was asked recently what I enjoyed most about the club. Was it the skating? Was it the artistic ‘stuff’ we do? Was it the people who come along? Was it the fun we have? What is it that I enjoy the most? I suppose thinking about it that is a very hard question to answer because all of the above are true. What I think is brilliant about the club that we are all part of is that it’s a place where we can better our artistic skating skills in a friendly, fun, focused way. Wherever we are on our artistic roller skating journey the club is a place that we can come long and take those little steps or big strides that we need to take in order to get that bit further.
A few weeks ago we had a skating friend from another club join us for a session. On leaving the session they thanked me for making them feel so welcome and allowing them to come along. This is wonderful to hear that people feel they can come long and enjoy the skating with us. Yes artistic skating is exciting, yes its hard work, yes it can be painful, yes it takes commitment and dedication but being part of such a friendly welcoming club enables us to get better with likeminded people who all want the same thing.
Over the past year and a half the club has grown from small beginnings. All our skaters were brand new to the artistic game, some even brand new to roller skating full stop. Yet week in, week out people have kept coming to training and practice sessions. Learning the basics and then moving on to more complicated elements. There have been lots of tumbles and lots of tears but everyone keeps getting up and trying again. Most people know what it’s like to be frustrated when they cannot get ‘that’ element down that they have been working on for seemingly months. The phrase ‘victory comes through perseverance’ is very applicable to all our skaters. Someone once said to me, ‘every fall is a step nearer to landing the jump’. Every session is a step nearer to being able to skate the way you want to skate. I would like to encourage all our skaters to keep working hard and keep trying to push that little bit further. I know that you will all get there.
Finally I would like to thank everyone who has helped to get the club to where it is today. For those people who helped us out in the early days of ‘Lincs Skate School’. For those who have given us help and advice in setting up ‘Lincoln Artistic Roller Skating’. To all our friends at the Federation of Artistic Roller Skating for their technical support. Also to the team at Bishop Grosseteste University who help us greatly with our skating venue. But mainly to the team, skaters and parents at LARS who’s day to day commitment makes the club what it is, it’s our club and its ‘we’ that makes it what it is.
Skating… Roller Skating… Artistic Roller Skating…. Wow! Where do I start?
Marco Santucci, Italian Seniors artistic champion, written for the Lincoln Artistic Roller Skating skaters
"Wearing skates it's part of my life. Something special that happens everyday. Gliding on the edge and skating as natural as breathing, although that's possible only after many years on the rink, it's worthing the pain. Because with the skates on I can free myself, expressing what I feel at best, fearless...
People ask me why I'm going on skating, why I'm doing that: I answer why would I stop something that makes me feel special. That makes me feel "the only one", if just for a little moment in all my life. I spent my day trying to get closer to my limits, reaching and finally moving them farther. Untill the spark of ambition will light in me I'll never give up: simply because that's me.
I'm not jumping.. That's trying to fly.."