What are they and how to do them.
First of all, the word contraction begins with a c! C for Contraction and the shape of your spine during a contraction is a C! That may be an aha moment….it was for me! Honestly, I see contractions as both a blessing and a curse.
A contraction is a continually stretched line with two forces of energy. The energy through the spine is stretched and continues forward in a “c” curve and it is accompanied by constant energy through the abdomen (thus the valley) of the contraction. The second half of the contraction becomes a simultaneous stretch and expansion of one total half of the torso (divided by the spine) in opposite directions to expand and breath outwards finishing a movement that can look very restrictive if now done in a thoughtful manner.
Contractions are one of the new “go to’s” in figure skating choreography as they are an easy way to vary a level of a skater, interpretation to music, or add a performance quality. When they are well done with beautiful skating skills they are magical and a beautiful transition from one step(movement) to the next. But when performed without consideration to line and movement they may actually impair the anticipated result.
It takes a very good skater to be able to masterfully perform a contraction especially in a step sequence. Be sure that while the energy and movement of the contraction is focused forward and inward then outward that the skater still performs these on an outside or inside edge. In other words, make certain that the force of the contracted movement downwards and forwards will not lead the skater to a flat.
Contractions? Why not? But remember they are a blessing if done well and a curse if not!