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Aug 27, 2017

Smooth Moves

One aspect of skating that has particularly received a great deal of attention (disproportionate attention, some would say!) in the IJS era is transitions--particularly transitions before jump elements.  With pre-jump transitions being doubly rewarded in both the Program Components Scores as well as in the grade of execution scores, it behooves skaters to cram in something before a jump so that the judges can accordingly reach for the upper registers on their scoresheets. Unfortunately, this tendency towards rewarding transitions before jumping passes has often resulted in careless, split-second moves in the field elements or sloppy steps wedged in before jumps that fail to reflect the music or overall choreography . . . but that is a subject for another day.  Instead, today we will reflect on the pre-jump transitions that thrill and excite, and/or memorably serve some higher interpretative purpose.  In that vein, the following list includes some of my favorite pre-jump transitions from both the 6.0 and IJS eras:

Kristina Czako is unequivocally the queen of the most electrifyingly unique and difficult ways to enter into a 2A, with the above video (at 4:06) being merely one example of her superlative skill in this category.

Stephane Lambiel's running threes into 3Lo (1:43 in the video above). This is a great transition because Mr. Lambiel snaps into the loop out of nowhere--after doing a series of three turns, you're expecting yet another turn--then, BAM! 3Lo! Plus, the leap off the exit of the 3Lo (right to the music) is just gorgeous.

How could a post like this be complete without a mention of Jill Trenary's trademark 1-foot axel into a 3S (1:16 above)?

Matt Savoie's 2005-2006 long program is basically a clinic on interesting entrances into jumps. Which transition is your favorite in this program? Mine is either the split jump-spiral-3S, or maybe the hydroblade into the 3A.

Longtime readers of this blog (all three of them) may remember that my favorite element in figure skating is a triple axel off of a (long, extended) spread eagle. Ilia Kulik demonstrates a particularly superlative rendition of this element in his Liebestraum exhibition at 0:22 in the above video.

Of course, it goes without saying that Yuzuru Hanyu's effortlessly smooth spread eagle-3A-spread eagle sandwich (at 1:17 in the above video) is also a classic as well . . . love his arms during the spread eagles!

I've always liked the the turns Daisuke Takahashi does when entering into his 3F in his Blues for Klook long program (3:46 in the above video), because this entrance into the 3F is not only difficult, but also happens to be perfectly timed to the music.

And finally, there is Surya Bonaly's back flip (one foot landing!) into a 3S. So badass, it's illegal. Everyone else can go home.

So . . . given that this is clearly a non-exhaustive list, what are your favorite pre-jump transitions?


  1. If you haven't seen it, I'd definitely put Yuzuru's twizzle-3a-twizzle near the top of my list. I believe the twizzle-3A-twizzle was a planned part of his Notte Stellata exhibition program and I would really like to see him do it in a competitive program, but he never landed the jump well enough with the transitions in/out in any of his gala performances this past season so there aren't many videos of it. The best video I've seen of it is from a fancam during the GPF practice session: It definitely made my jaw drop when I first saw it. Eventually he messed it up so often he ended up changing it to a spread eagle-3A-twizzle at WTT.

    I also loved the entrance he used into the 3A-1lo-3S in Seimei, the one Kurt dubbed the hidden triple axel.

  2. @kiches

    That twizzle-3A-twizzle is so cool! Thanks for sharing; I'd never actually seen that before.