Footwork Sequences for All Figure Skaters

When figure skaters put a series of turns and steps together, they are doing footwork. The possibilities are endless. This article lists some suggested footwork sequences that can be skated by a figure skater who can do most ice skating turns and steps.

  • Video Montage of Top Figure Skaters Doing Footwork
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Ten Step Mohawk Sequence

An Ice Dance Team Does Forward Inside Mohawks Together
An Ice Dance Team Does Forward Inside Mohawks Together. Photo Copyright © Jo Ann Schneider Farris

A very simple footwork sequence is a ten step mohawk sequence.

This footwork sequence is usually done in the counter-clockwise direction and on a circle or curve.

The skater begins on the left foot and does a forward progressive or crossover. So...the first three steps are left forward outside, right forward inside, and left forward outside.

Next, the skater does a right forward inside mohawk, followed by a short right back outside edge, then a short left back inside edge, followed by a back crossover (left foot over right), and then a step forward to the right forward inside edge.

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Waltz Three Turns

Waltz three turns are easy for most figure skaters and can be done in either the clockwise or counter-clockwise directions. The skater does a forward outside three turn and follows the turn with a back outside edge, then steps forward and repeats the three turn and back outside edge over and over.

Extending the free leg to the back on the back outside edge makes this move look nice.

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Mohawk Variations

A mohawk is an ice skating turn that is done from same edge to same edge, from either forward to backward or backward to forward.

A simple footwork sequence can be done by doing two mohawks in a row. If the skater can mix the directions of each mohawk, a very interesting sequence can be created.

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Killian Step Sequence

The Killian step sequence begins on the left foot and is done on a curve in the counter-clockwise direction.

The skater first does a forward progressive, followed by the right foot crossing in front to the outside edge and then the left foot is crossed behind to a forward inside edge. Then, a choctaw is done: the skater goes from the left forward inside edge to a right back outside edge. He then tucks the left foot behind on a back inside edge, followed by a short right back outside edge, a cross in front to the left back inside edge, and then a step forward to the right forward inside edge.

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Power Three Turns

Power three turns can be done down the length of an ice arena. This sequence should be done in both directions. It is suggested that the skater do three turns on the left foot on one length of the arena and three turns on the right foot down the other length of the arena.

First, the skater does an outside three turn followed by a wide step. For a moment the skater will be on two feet. After the wide step, the skater should pull his or her feet together and do one back crossover on a different curve. After the back crossover, the skater should step forward and repeat the sequence at least one or two more times.

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Small Jumps, Moves, Turns, and Steps Can Be Put Together in Various Ways

Small toe jumps, such as a side toe hop or mazurka, can be followed by a power three turn sequence and repeated. A skater could then do a mohawk sequence, followed by three turns, then a hop or half-turn jump. The entire sequence could be repeated or done in the opposite direction in a straight line or on a diagonal. Twizzles, bunny hops, short spread eagles, or lunges could be inserted between each sequence.

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Twizzles are multirotational one-foot turns done in figure skating. Twizzles can be done in a row. It is very common to see a skater doing a twizzle in one direction and then to follow the first twizzle with a twizzle in the other direction. Usually, skaters turn for at least four revolutions on a twizzle.

Sometimes viewers of figure skating get confused between twizzles and spins. Twizzles travel and move down the ice. Spins stay in one place.

Twizzles can be done both forward or backward. Twizzles can be done on both inside and outside edges and twizzles can be done in any direction.

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Mixing Choctaws, Counters, Rockers, Brackets, Edge Pulls, and Cross Steps

As a figure skating becomes more advanced, adding difficult turns to footwork sequences will make the footwork more interesting. Many skaters take turns from the moves in the field tests to make up footwork sequences. Multiple brackets, counters, and rockers and cross steps where the skater steps in front or behind can make footwork complicated and interesting. Also, doing footwork step sequences in a circle is difficult, but will give the ice skater more points in competition. Choctaw turns, rather than mohawk turns, can make footwork more interesting and difficult.

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Running Threes

If a figure skater does a forward inside three turn and then uses the free leg's toe to turn forward and gain speed, and then repeats the inside three turn again followed by the toe assist to step forward and to begin another inside three, the skater has done a series of running threes. Once a skater gets the hang of doing running threes with speed, he can use this simple step sequence to connect ice skating moves in a freeskating program.

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Backward Power Three Turns

If a skater does a back outside three turn followed by a forward inside mohawk and repeats the sequence in a circle, he has done backward power three turns. The skater should push hard on the back outside edge. This footwork sequence should be done with much speed and the skater should practice doing back power threes in both the clockwise and counter-clockwise directions.

Share Your Favorite Footwork

Do you have a favorite footwork sequence you'd like to share with other figure skaters?