Learn the Basics of Waltz Jumps

A Figure Skater Lands a Jump
A Figure Skater Lands a Jump. Credit: technot / E+ Collection / Getty Images

The waltz jump is usually the first "real" ice skating jump that new figure skaters learn and master. It is also fun to do. A good waltz jump will look and feel like the skater is flying in the air.

Famous Ice Skaters Who Did Beautiful Waltz Jumps

Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton was able to do a beautiful waltz jump with a striking leg split. Figure skating legend Sonja Henie, who among other things originated ice shows and short skating skirts, popularized waltz jumps by highlighting sequences of them in her programs.

Canadian ice skating champion Toller Cranston and Olympic champion John Curry, were known for doing beautiful balletic waltz jumps. In fact, the waltz jump is a move taken directly from ballet resembling the tour jeté, a ballet leap done from one foot to the other.

Today's elite skaters are rarely seen doing waltz jumps at competitions or even during warm ups, for which it was once the standard jump. Today the jump is the basis for mastering the single, double, and triple Axel, which also have forward outside edge takeoffs.

Take-Off and Landing Basics

A figure skater takes off from a forward outside edge (one of the few jumps to do so), makes a half revolution in the air, and then lands on the opposite foot on a back outside edge. Some of the ways to enter the waltz jump include an entry from back crossovers, from a mohawk sequence preparation, or from a standstill.

Usually, skaters first do a long back outside edge and then push and step forward onto a forward outside edge.

Then, the free leg kicks through, and the skater flies through the air. The arms first go back and then move forward as the jump proceeds.

As with all jumps, the landing is on the back outside edge and is held for at least a distance equal to the skaters height.

Learn to Do a Waltz Jump

If you are a new figure skater, doing the waltz jump will give you a great deal of happiness and satisfaction.

 

  1. First, try the jump while holding onto the rail or off the ice.
  1. Get used to the feel of jumping and rotating on skates by doing some quarter-and-half turn jumps on two feet on the ice.
  2. Then, practice the feeling of kicking a free leg through by doing some bunny hops.
  3. Get the feeling of landing a jump by practicing landing positions and holding long and extended back outside one-foot glides.
  4. Finally, try a waltz jump.
  5. Glide on one foot, kick your free leg through, leap into the air, rotate a half turn, and land.

Common Errors

Skaters rarely have trouble doing a waltz jump, but a common error new figure skaters make is to twist around on the take-off. Sometimes, the landing is not held properly. Sometimes, the free leg does not follow through or swing through properly as the skater takes off. Sometimes, the arms go out of control or move too high above the head.

If a skater imagines that he or she is kicking a football or is stepping up a set of stairs when he or she kicks and jumps through, the jumping technique of the waltz jump may improve.