Figure Skating Elements: Connecting moves
Connecting elements, sometimes called moves in the field, are a variety of different moves done between the main elements in a program (ie. spins, jumps, step sequences). These elements are not scored on their own. They are usually counted as transitions and marked in the “transitions” category of PCS (program component scores). Oftentimes they’re there to make the choreography of a program more interesting. This post does not cover all the possible moves (because there are a lot), just some common ones.
Hydroblade: The skater glides on a deep edge with the body in a very low position nearly parallel to the ice. There are many possible variations in position - in the gifs, Takahito Mura does a hydroblade on an inside edge with both hands on the ice, while Akiko Suzuki does a variation on an outside edge without any hand support.
Spreadeagle: The skater glides on both feet with the toes turned apart and the heels facing each other. The spreadeagle can be done on the outside or inside edge. It is commonly used as an entrance to axel jumps. Takahiko Kozuka, possessor of some of the best spreadeagles in current skating, transitions from an outside-edge spreadeagle to an inside-edge one in the gif above. And here’s Jonathan Cassar’s incredible inside-edge spreadeagle:
Lunge: The skater bends down on one knee and glides on one blade. There are many possible lunge variations such as bending backwards or a sideways lunge. The lunge is often used in the entrances to jumps.
Ina bauer: The skater’s heels face each other but the feet are not in a straight line with each other; they are offset. The leading leg is usually bent while the trailing leg is straight. The trailing leg is usually on the inside edge. The leading leg can be on the outside or inside edge. You can see a front view of the ina bauer in the gif of Nobunari Oda doing an ina bauer with the leading leg on the inside edge. A layback ina bauer is a variation where the skater arches their back while in the ina bauer position, as demonstrated in the gif by Shizuka Arakawa, who popularized the move. The ina bauer can be used in the entrance to a jump.
Besti squat: The skater squats down while their heels face each other like in a spreadeagle. The Besti squat can be done on either the outside or inside edges.
Cantilever: Like a Besti squat, but the skater bends backwards until their back is parallel to the ice while gliding on their inside edges. Hand support on the ice is optional.
Split jump: The skater jumps into the air, usually from a flip jump entrance, and does a split. Splits can be done forwards-backwards, like Mao Asada’s, or side-to-side (a Russian split), like Daisuke Takahashi’s.