In ice dance you will see various turns, some featured as
major steps of the pattern dances and step sequences, and others used to
connect these steps and other elements in the program.

The level of a step sequence depends on the number and variety of difficult turns executed cleanly. The turns required for a step sequence to be assessed a level 4 are the following: double twizzle, bracket, rocker, counter, choctaw, and outside mohawk.

The level of a step sequence depends on the number and variety of difficult turns executed cleanly. The turns required for a step sequence to be assessed a level 4 are the following: double twizzle, bracket, rocker, counter, choctaw, and outside mohawk.

**Anatomy of a Turn**

Each turn consists of 3 parts:

1) an

*entry edge curve*

2) a

*blade turn*(one-foot turn) or*change of foot*(two-foot turn), which may or may not include a*change of edge*and
3) an

*exit edge curve*

Executing a turn requires the skater to shift their weight
towards the front or the back of of the blade. The blade has a rocker, also
known as a radius, which is a measure of its curvature. Greater curvature means
less of the blade is in contact with the ice. This curve feature gives a skater
greater mobility, allowing them to better maneuver around the ice. Some people
also refer to the apex of the blade’s curve as the rocker.

In ice dance, you want to see entry and exit curves that are
smooth and continuous as well as long with large amplitude (ie. big curves).
You also want to see entry and exit edges of roughly equal depth. The turns
must not be scraped or jumped. Another important feature of a turn is the control of the hips, upper body, and free leg.

So how do you identify specific turns? The entry edge will
be identified as

*forward*or*back*and*inside*or*outside*. The skating foot (*right*or*left*) will also be indicated.*forward*: the skating direction is forward

*back*: the skating direction is backward

*inside*: the edge being used is the one closer to the inside of the boot. Another way to think about this: the inside edges are the ones that face each other.

*outside*: the edge being used is the one closer to the outside of the boot. Another way to think about this: the outside edges are the ones that face each outward.

The word

*swing*is used to indicate a swinging action of the free foot past the skating foot.
When we talk about a

*change of direction*, we are referring to a change from forward to backward or backward to forward (and NOT clockwise to counter-clockwise or vice versa). We will also discuss turns with respect to lobe. We are referring to circular lobes. Think of two circles joined at one end on the ice. Continuing along the same lobe is like continuing along the outside of the same circle. Changing lobes is like moving along the opposite side of the next circle.
To illustrate each turn we have provided a theoretical
example and a slow-motion gif example of a turn from one of the short dances this season.

We’ll look first at

__one-foot turns__. These turns are performed entirely on one foot (ie. you will NOT see a change of foot).**twizzle**: This is a continuous travelling turn. That is, it travels across the ice and the rotational action is continuous.

gif example: Here is Bobrova
& Soloviev each performing a double twizzle in their Not Touching Midline
Step Sequence

**three turn**: This turn involves a

*change of edge*(outside edge to inside edge or inside edge to outside edge) and

*change of direction*(from forward to backward or backward to forward). It gets its name from the ‘3’ tracing it creates on the ice: picture an arc with a cusp (little pointy thing) in the middle that points inward. The turn is executed in the same direction as the overall curve of the turn (if the arc is skated in a clockwise direction, the blade also turns clockwise).

theoretical example: The skater enters on a
right forward outside edge curving in a clockwise direction. The skater turns
their blade clockwise and exits on a right back inside edge, maintaining a
clockwise direction of curve. The skater has performed a right forward outside
three turn.

gif example: Here is Maia Shibutani (of Shibutani & Shibutani) performing a right forward outside three turn as a transition in their short dance. Note that she is curving in a clockwise direction on a right forward outside edge, turns the blade clockwise, and continues to curve in a clockwise direction on a right back inside edge.

gif example: Here is Maia Shibutani (of Shibutani & Shibutani) performing a right forward outside three turn as a transition in their short dance. Note that she is curving in a clockwise direction on a right forward outside edge, turns the blade clockwise, and continues to curve in a clockwise direction on a right back inside edge.

**bracket**: This turn also involves a

*change of edge*(outside edge to inside edge or inside edge to outside edge) and a

*change of direction*(from forward to backward or backward to forward). It gets its name from the bracket tracing it creates on the ice: picture an arc with a cusp in the middle that points outward. The turn employs counter-rotation. That is, the blade turn is executed in the opposite direction of the overall curve (if the arc is skated in a clockwise direction, the blade turns counter-clockwise).

theoretical example: The skater enters on a
right forward outside edge curving in a clockwise direction. The skater turns
their blade counter-clockwise and exits on a right back inside edge maintaining
a clockwise direction of curve. The skater has performed a right forward
outside bracket.

gif example: Here is Davis & White each performing a right forward inside bracket in their Not Touching Midline Step Sequence. Note that each skater is curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right forward inside edge, turns the blade clockwise, and then continues curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right back outside edge.

gif example: Here is Davis & White each performing a right forward inside bracket in their Not Touching Midline Step Sequence. Note that each skater is curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right forward inside edge, turns the blade clockwise, and then continues curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right back outside edge.

**rockers**and

**counters**:

Each of these turns involves a

*change of lobe*(ie. each turn starts out on one lobe and changes to a different one after the turn). Put another way, the curve of the entry edge is opposite to the curve of the exit edge. The edge is the same before and after the turns (ie. a rocker or counter with an outside entry edge will have an outside exit edge). The difference between these two turns is the direction of the turn in relation to the directions of the entry and exit edge curves. Their tracings have an ‘S’ shape with a cusp in the middle.**rocker**: The blade turn is performed in the same direction as that of the curve of the entry edge and thus the cusp created by the turn points into the first lobe/curve.

theoretical example: The skater enters on a
right forward outside edge curving in a clockwise direction. The skater turns
their blade clockwise and exits on a right back outside edge, now curving in a
counter-clockwise direction. The skater has performed a right forward outside
rocker.

gif example: Here is Cappellini & Lanotte each performing a right forward inside rocker in their Not Touching Circular Step Sequence. Note that each skater is curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right forward inside edge, turns the blade counter-clockwise, and is then curving in a clockwise direction on a right back inside edge.

gif example: Here is Cappellini & Lanotte each performing a right forward inside rocker in their Not Touching Circular Step Sequence. Note that each skater is curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right forward inside edge, turns the blade counter-clockwise, and is then curving in a clockwise direction on a right back inside edge.

**counter**: The blade turn is performed in the same direction as the exit curve and thus the cusp created by the turn points into the second lobe/curve.

theoretical example: The skater enters on a
right forward outside edge curving in a clockwise direction. The skater turns
their blade counter-clockwise and exits on a right back outside edge, now curving
in a counter-clockwise direction. The skater has performed a right forward
outside counter.

gif example: Here is Ilinykh & Katsalapov each performing a right back inside counter in their Not Touching Midline Step Sequence. Note that each skater is curving in a clockwise direction on a right back inside edge, turns the blade counter-clockwise, and is then curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right forward inside edge.

gif example: Here is Ilinykh & Katsalapov each performing a right back inside counter in their Not Touching Midline Step Sequence. Note that each skater is curving in a clockwise direction on a right back inside edge, turns the blade counter-clockwise, and is then curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right forward inside edge.

We’ll now look at

__two-foot turns__.
These turns can be either open or closed. These terms refer
to the placement of the free foot during the

*change of foot*. In an*open*choctaw or mohawk, the free foot is placed toward the front or near the middle of the instep of the skating foot. In a*closed*choctaw or mohawk, the free foot is placed behind the heel of the skating foot.**choctaw**: This turn not only involves a

*change of foot*but also a

*change of edge*(outside edge to inside edge or inside edge to outside edge) AND a

*change of direction*(from forward to backward or backward to forward). The pattern created on the ice is very similar to that of a rocker or counter.

theoretical example: The skater enters on a
left forward inside edge curving in a clockwise direction. The skater then brings
the right foot towards the front of the left foot (skating foot) and places the
blade down, exiting on a right back outside edge and now curving in a
counter-clockwise direction. The skater has performed a left forward inside
open choctaw.

gif example: Here is Virtue & Moir each performing an open choctaw in their Not Touching Midline Step Sequence. They have chosen to do a converging pattern with one partner using the left foot as the initial skating foot and the other partner using the right foot as the initial skating foot, with each curving in opposite directions. Note that the female partner begins by curving in a clockwise direction on a left forward inside edge and brings the free foot forward, placing it in front of the skating foot (such that after the change of foot the new free foot is behind the new skating foot) and exiting on a right back outside edge now curving in a counter-clockwise direction. Meanwhile, the male partner begins by curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right forward inside edge and brings the free foot forward, placing it in front of the skating foot and exiting on a left back outside edge now curving in a clockwise direction.

gif example: Here is Virtue & Moir each performing an open choctaw in their Not Touching Midline Step Sequence. They have chosen to do a converging pattern with one partner using the left foot as the initial skating foot and the other partner using the right foot as the initial skating foot, with each curving in opposite directions. Note that the female partner begins by curving in a clockwise direction on a left forward inside edge and brings the free foot forward, placing it in front of the skating foot (such that after the change of foot the new free foot is behind the new skating foot) and exiting on a right back outside edge now curving in a counter-clockwise direction. Meanwhile, the male partner begins by curving in a counter-clockwise direction on a right forward inside edge and brings the free foot forward, placing it in front of the skating foot and exiting on a left back outside edge now curving in a clockwise direction.

**mohawk**: This turn maintains the edge with the

*change of foot*and involves a

*change of direction*(if it is entered into on a forward outside edge it will be exited on a back inside edge). The pattern created on the ice is very similar to that of a three turn or bracket.

theoretical example: The skater enters on a
right forward outside edge curving in a clockwise direction. The skater then brings
the left foot behind the right foot (skating foot) and places the blade down,
exiting on a left back outside edge and but still curving in a clockwise
direction. The skater has performed a right forward outside closed mohawk.

gif example: Here is Pechalat & Bourzat each performing a right forward outside closed mohawk in their Not Touching Midline Step Sequence. Note that each partner begins by curving in a clockwise direction on a right forward outside edge and brings the free foot forward, placing it behind the skating foot (such that after the change of foot the new free leg is in front of the skating foot) and exiting on a left back outside edge and still curving in a clockwise direction.

gif example: Here is Pechalat & Bourzat each performing a right forward outside closed mohawk in their Not Touching Midline Step Sequence. Note that each partner begins by curving in a clockwise direction on a right forward outside edge and brings the free foot forward, placing it behind the skating foot (such that after the change of foot the new free leg is in front of the skating foot) and exiting on a left back outside edge and still curving in a clockwise direction.