Camel spins are figure skating spins that are done in same position as the spiral move, which is based on the classic arabesque position from ballet. Like a spiral, the skater’s upper body and free leg are held horizontally in the camel spin. The free leg is extended parallel to the ice, and the free foot is turned out. The skater’s back should be arched, and the head should be up. The arms are usually held out to the sides, but other arm variations and positions are acceptable.
Some people say that Jacques Gerschwiler, a Swiss figure skater and coach, created the camel spin. His student, British figure skating champion, Cecilia Colledge, is known to be the first skater to perform the move and has been credited as the spin’s inventor. The spin was first called the “Parallel Spin.” When it was not done correctly, a skater would make a hump with his or her rear end since the head and free leg would be below the hips. That mistake caused the spin to be eventually called the “Camel Spin.” Originally, only ladies did camel spins, but today camel spins are done by all figure skaters.
New figure skaters find it difficult to do camel spins, because it is difficult to center the spin and maintain speed. Some skaters get too far up on the front of the blade and end up on the toe pick. Others find it difficult to keep spinning while arching the back and keeping both legs extended and almost locked. Some skaters fall out of the spin too early onto an inside edge.
The most common entry ice skaters use to enter the camel spin is a back crossover entry. A skater first does a few back crossovers in a circle.
After doing a few back crossovers in a circle, the last back crossover “winds ups” the skater.
Next, the skater steps forward into the center of the circle that was created by the back crossovers. He or she then reverses direction, and pushes into the camel spin.
As a skater enters the camel spin, he or she should step onto a strong and deep curve. Shoulders should be level. The skating knee should bend deeply as the skater leans forward into a spiral position.
Some ice skaters straighten the skating knee quickly as the spin begins; others rise up slowly. The weight of the foot should be on the ball of the skate and not too far forward over the toe pick. The back should be arched. A skater’s head should be held up during the entry and also during the spin.
It is important that a skater spins for at least four revolutions in the horizontal camel position. Both the skating leg and the free leg should be straight. The free toe should be turned out.
End the camel spin by spinning for a short duration in the upright position. Then, exit the spin by pushing out backward onto a strong extended back outside edge.
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