I love looking back in time. Synchronized skating was once called precision skating and had as many as 36 skaters on the ice at one time way back in the day. Figure skating’s newest and fastest growing sport may have had its roots even further back than we know.
To find out more, I turned to one of the figure skating family’s favourite historical bloggers, Ryan Stevens (http://skateguard1.blogspot.ca ) for his perspective: “Skaters have been performing in groups since the nineteenth century. The well-to-do in Victorian England performed elaborate 'combined figures' around oranges. In Canada, dances like the quadrille and the Lancers (a combination of the waltz, polka and Austrian folk dance performed by groups) were all the rage at skating parties. Fours skating was also a very popular discipline for decades.”
For Dress Wright Synchro’s owner and chief designer Deanna Wright, taking a look back is important not only in terms of costuming but also in terms of the sport itself. “To understand the trends that will happen in the future, you definitely need to recognize the past,” said Deanna.
Ryan commented: “What we think of as synchro skating today really got its start in club carnivals and professional ice shows. The kick lines of the Ice Folliettes and Ice Capets were absolutely synchro skating. North America started holding competitions regularly in the seventies and eighties and in 1989, the first international competition for synchro - then called precision skating - was held in Sweden. The ISU officially recognized it as a discipline in 1994 and the rest, as they say, is history."
History indeed. Canada has a strong past and undoubtedly future in synchronized skating, with 6 bronze, 4 silver and two World Titles (Nexxice 2009 and 2015) to its credit since the first World Championships too place in 2000.
The last word belongs to Ryan, “At one time, synchro was seen as something 'less than'. If you were an Ice Capet in the Ice Capades or skating in the precision number in your club's carnival, you 'weren't good enough to have a solo'. I think it took many years for the skating community and general public to grasp that synchro was difficult stuff - it took real skill, talent and nerve. It wasn't 'less than'. Of course, synchro should be an Olympic sport. The more skating the better!”
Synchronize Your Watch
This is a fun one dating all the way back to 1985. This team, the 9-time national champions, the Corps de Patineurs from Brisbane, Australia is the first non-Canadian or US team to compete internationally in Precision (Synchronized) skating. This is from 1985 when the team travelled to the 9th edition of the Canadian International Precision Skating Competition.
Team Up! with Dress Wright Synchro: Deanna says that inspiration can be found everywhere. If you are at bit of a loss, help and ideas are as close as the Dress Wright Gallery found here. Don’t forget to check out our dresses that were created along themes that can be the starting point for your team’s look. Check out our catalogue here (pages 16 – 30) for our selection of dresses.
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