I am lucky enough to have been around and involved in synchronized skating as a PA announcer from a time when the sport was still known as Precision Skating. Let’s just say I have seen a lot of changes; from the number of skaters on the team, to the quality of the skating skills and to the costumes along the way.
I remember working at one of the first international precision skating events in Toronto in the very early 1990s. The name of the game was to try and have the skaters all look as much alike as possible. There was a team from Russia whose team included both men and women and who were skating to (I think) Scheherazade. The team came on to the ice wearing beautiful beaded ice blue costumes with short bolero styled tops and harem pants with a see-through chiffon leg. Even the men. Even the hairiest of the men. Even now, it’s a sight that is difficult to ‘un-see’.
That said, Russia gets full marks for trying to capitalize on the idea that ‘oneness’ was the goal. This has stood them in good stead as they have captured two ISU World Synchronized Skating titles in 2016 and 2017.
It’s been fun to watch the changes in the sport of synchronized skating. The number of skaters on a synchro team has landed with 16 skaters on a senior team from the original 32. The sport has evolved to a point where the synchronization in the skating is the key to great synchro skating.
Translating the athleticism and beauty of the sport belongs to the legions of photographers who capture it in the moment. Sean McKinnon, synchro dad-turned photographer explains it this way “Synchro has changed significantly even in the 10 years that I have been involved. In 2007 most synchro elements were performed in unison (or with symmetry). Group elements were best photographed in a wide shot to capture the uniformity of the team.” McKinnon continues,” Today, I prefer to shoot closer to ice level, capturing vivid facial expressions, and multi-skater tableaus, in addition to the group elements that emphasize the beautiful lines that only a team of skilled skaters can create. “
Forty years ago, in 1977, the Ilderton Winter Club in Western Ontario (original skating home to Olympic dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir), hosted the first Canadian Invitational Precision Skating Competition which led the way to a sanctioned national event in 1983.
Dress Wright Synchro is part secret synchro weapon when it comes to helping to complete a synchronized skating team’s picture on the ice. Dress Wright Owner and Chief designer Deanna Wright explains: “The competition dress for a synchro team is like a frame for a picture. It fastens the aesthetic of the dress to the artistry and expression of the theme of the program. It could not be more important.”
Synchronized skating. Where athleticism and the imagination meet.
SYNCHRONIZE YOUR WATCH
This video is from the ISU’s skating YouTube channel and showcases some great teams and some great looks from today’s synchronized skating teams.
TEAM UP! WITH DRESS WRIGHT SYNCHRO
Deanna says that as long as we’re talking about pictures being worth a thousand words, this would be a good time to showcase the gallery. You can also take this opportunity to check out the Dress Wright catalogue.
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