Lifts

Figure skating 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. Lifts are also executed by synchronized skating teams in the free program in competition, as part of a movements in isolation requirement.

Dance lifts

Dance lifts are differentiated by the skating involved. There are seven kinds of lifts approved for ISU competitions. Dance lifts have become increasingly athletic.

Short lifts

These lifts may last up to six seconds in competition on the senior level.

  • Stationary lift - A lift performed "on the spot". The lifting partner does not move across the ice, but is allowed to rotate.
  • Straight line lift - The lifting partner moves in a straight line across the ice. This lift may be performed on one foot or two.
  • Curve lift - The lifting partner moves along a curve across the ice. This lift may be performed on one foot or two.
  • Rotational lift - The lifting partner rotates in one direction while traveling across the ice.
  • Long lifts

    These lifts may last up to ten seconds in competition on the senior level.

  • Reverse rotational lift - The lifting partner rotates in one direction, then switches and rotates in the other direction, while traveling across the ice.
  • Serpentine lift - The lifting partner moves in a serpentine pattern across the ice.
  • Combination lift - A lift combining two of the four short lifts. Each part of the lift must be fully established.
  • Positions

    Each position must be held for at least three seconds to count for levels. Each position is permitted only once a program.

    For the lifting partner
  • One foot
  • Shoot the duck
  • Spread eagle - inside edge
  • Spread eagle - outside edge
  • Spread eagle - straight line, for the Straight Line lift only
  • Ina Bauer
  • Crouching, with both knees bent, on both feet
  • Crouching, with one knee bent and the other leg extended to the side
  • Lunge, with the free leg in any position
  • One hand lift
  • Rounding above the shoulder
  • Only two of the above spread eagle positions may be used in a single program.

    For the lifted partner
  • Full split (180 degrees)
  • Full Biellmann position with the leg held above the head.
  • Full doughnut/ring with one or both legs held close to the head
  • Upside down combined with difficult hold
  • Vertical position with a cantilever
  • A horizontal position with only one point of support
  • Leaning forwards or backwards with the legs as the only points of support
  • Full layback position with no support from the other partner above the thigh.
  • Leaning out with the body and legs in a horizontal line with the shoulders and/or upper back as the points of support.
  • Non-traditional gender roles in lifts

    In ice dancing, the lifting partner is usually the man and the lifted partner is usually the woman. However, the rules allow for the woman to lift the man in competition. Notable couples who have performed "genderbending" lifts include Marina Anissina / Gwendal Peizerat, Federica Faiella / Massimo Scali and Sinead Kerr / John Kerr.

    Program requirements

    The International Skating Union sets down length requirements for lifts in programs and skaters are penalized if a lift goes on for too long.

    For the 2006–07 season, at the senior level, the original dance required two lifts to be no longer than six seconds each. For the free dance, four lifts were required and they were separated into short and long.