PAN AM Roller Sports Figure Skating Footwork

pan am roller sports figure skating         With inevitable comparisons to the technical dance elements of figure skating on ice, ‘artistic roller skating’ is more difficult for a few reasons.  The reinforced boot-skates on wheels are heavier for jumps and the cement surface makes for some ouch (!) landings.  In programs lasting four minutes or less, a roller skater’s choreographed routine to music is judged for technical merit (height, speed, strength, and precision) and artistic merit (originality, variety, ease, and overall harmony).


‘Footwork’ is a specific aspect of this sport and it is judged separately from the artistic moves. For roller figure skating footwork, think of airplanes on runways – their approaches, take-offs and landings.  But, since an approach to a jump might be backwards skating on two feet, with the left foot crossed in front of the right, the analogy ends there.  Footwork connects all the hopping, spinning and jumping elements of the routine.

Head Spinning Moves

Inverted Camel Spin – The skater is on her right foot with her body and left leg extended outward parallel to the floor, rotating her hips 180 degrees, spinning upside down.

Camel Spin – She back enters into this from a ‘travelling camel’ or by cranking a series of 3-turns with the free leg swinging wide.

Layback Spin – In this back spin, the skater’s torso and free foot point to ceiling, her back is deeply arched and her free leg extends in front.

Heel Camel Spin– She spins on the back two wheels of her skates.

Broken Ankle Camel Spin – The skater rotates on the edge of the two inner wheels.

The roller skates are equipped with tiny ‘dance plugs’ which enable the skaters to stop when the performance is complete.  Total control… go figure!

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Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)



Pan AM Aquatics Water Polo Footwork

pan am aquatics waterpolo    Picture this: soccer in a pool, goalies at either end, players sprinting as they follow the ball…AND no one is allowed to let their feet touch the bottom at any time.  It takes footwork called Egg-Beater Kicks to keep them up and running.

Egg-Beater Kicks

The faster their feet move, the greater the propulsive forces. This gives the players more height in the water.  During their kicks, the right leg moves counterclockwise and the left leg moves clockwise. These alternating circular movements produce an upward force. Their feet trace an elongated oval path almost touching the back of their thighs during maximal knee flexion, finishing in a low position almost under their hips with their knees almost extended.

This is a contact sport. For good measure, water polo players get their toenails checked before games. The nails must not extend past the tip of the digit.

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Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


PAN Am Aquatics Swimming (Open Water) Footwork

pan am aquatics open water swimming    Onshore, we see… waves lapping, freestyle arms pulling the swimmers ahead, 3K…4K…5K…back-and-forth…surge and slow…lead, draft, fall-back, one swimmer sprinting ahead of the pack with a strong kick to get to clear water, round the buoys smoothly, a sudden herd of swimmers at the lead swimmers’ feet, trying not to touch them…10K of open water swimming… a marathon.

Sprint Flutter Kick

This fast, up-and-down motion alternates feet. Toes pointed, feet stay submerged, rotating as the body rotates. Feet stay in the narrow path that the head and shoulders have cut through the water. This kick uses a lot of energy so it is best saved for the last part of the open water swim.

Distance Crossover Kick

This slower, less taxing kick is helpful for long events. Swimmers cross their ankles with each (or every other) kick.  The crossover kick is used less for propulsion and more for keeping swimmers in their rhythm and afloat.


Etiquette dictates that free riders have to stay back a few inches and not irritate the lead swimmer’s feet. If a competitor keeps touching his feet, the lead swimmer’s gives a few extreme kicks. The competitor gets the message.

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Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


“Re-setting”… Footholds in Russia’s Neighborhood

Metaphor in pix - Russia and its neighbors

 “Putin’s Achilles heel: oil and gas.”

“Putin pivots to the east”

“Putin Rushes In, Pretending Not to; Obama Stands Back.”

“Russian Cossacks Take Foothold in Crimea.”

“Ukraine: a Russian footprint?”

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Keeping Up with American Political Metaphors

Metaphors in pix USA

“Democrats’ Last Stand? Party foothold in Deep South at stake in Landrieu run-off.”

“Deportations Give Migrants Cold Feet.”

“’Foot-in-Mouth’ Kerry’s Nixonian Blunder.”

“Hagel touts ‘light footprint’ strategy for US military amid Ukraine unrest.”

“Running in the shadow of Obama.”

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Fancy Footwork – Metaphors out of the UK

Metaphor in pix UK treadmill

“Carney kept on his toes, and lands on his feet, in day of questioning in London.”

“A great leap forward for Labour.”

“Mark Carney Says UK Economy Must Work Like A Marathon Runner.”

“MPs Slow The Westminster Treadmill With Weekly ‘Mindfulness’ Meetings.”

“Scottish independence: UK companies are voting with their feet.”

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Jookin – Feet in the Air

feet in the air, jookin

Lil Buck is a mover and a shaker, the self-titled “ambassador” of Jookin – an intricate footwork dance style. Jookin evolved from Gangsta Walking, popularized on the streets of Memphis TN, about 30 years ago.  Lil Buck learned to dance with his sister in his living room, moved onto classical ballet, and then onto street performing in LA. These days, his freestyle footwork impresses onlookers beyond the street.

On stage at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Lil Buck took four beautifully exaggerated steps in slow motion. He was improvising to a string quartet. The well-heeled audience had probably come for Yo-Yo Ma but they gasped when Lil Buck accomplished a signature move, gliding smoothly across the floor as if levitating. He moved so that the notes seemed to vibrate up his body, his sneakers squeaking as he pirouetted.

“I think he’s a genius,” Mr. Ma said after the show. A video of their duet to Camille Saint-Saëns’s “The Swan” went viral in 2011; they have since performed it around the world — “one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Mr. Ma said.;_ylt=AwrBT7Ur8DJUiGsA9QpXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEzanF0azdvBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDMwNF8x

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Footwork Patterns in Dance: The Slow Waltz


The Slow Waltz is famous for its ‘box step’. Dance partners create a square footwork pattern on the floor, counting ‘1,2,3’- ‘1,2,3’ as they move together, one going forward, one going backwards, to form the box. Once mastered, other graceful moves can be added.

Basic box steps for the man:

  1. Step forward with the left foot
  2. Right foot step sideways to the right
  3. Bring your left foot next to your right foot
  4. Step back with the right foot
  5. Step back sideways with the left foot
  6. Bring your right foot next to your left foot

Box steps for the lady:

  1. Step back with the right foot
  2. Left foot step sideways to the left
  3. Bring your right foot next to your left foot
  4. Step forward with the left foot
  5. Step forward sideways with the right foot
  6. Bring your left foot next to your right foot

At each step the dancers rise on their toes. They balance themselves by throwing body weight from one foot and then on the other. Despite the relatively slow tempo, The Slow Waltz is transformed into a dynamic dance by its turns, its step variations and its elegant poses.

Think Fred and Ginger.

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Footwork Patterns in Dance: The Twist


The Twist is a rock and roll dance named after the smash-hit song “The Twist” by Chubby Checker. Super popular in the 1960s, it was the first major rock and roll dance style in which the couples did not have to touch each other while dancing.

Faced with explaining how to do the dance to the youthful audience of the era, a member of Checker’s entourage came up with the following description:

“It’s like putting out a cigarette with both feet, and wiping your bottom with a towel, to the beat of the music.” 

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Footwork Patterns in Dance: The Moonwalk


The Moonwalk is a dance move that presents the illusion of the dancer being pulled backwards while attempting to walk forward. A popping move, it became popular around the world after Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk footwork during a performance of “Billie Jean” on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever on March 25, 1983. The Moonwalk became his signature move.

The Technique

A Moonwalk dancer creates the appearance of gliding backwards. Initially, his front foot is held flat on the ground, while his back foot is in a tiptoe position. His flat front foot remains on the ground but he slides it lightly and smoothly backward past his tip-toe back foot. He lowers what is now his front foot and raises his back foot into a tiptoe position.  He repeats these steps creating the illusion that he is being pulled backwards by an unseen force while still trying to move forward.

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