“Oh My God! I’m Spinning!”

“The easy stuff can look really good, as long as you’re uninhibited,” says pro ice-skater Marni Halasa, instructor at the Chelsea Piers rink and former skating choreographer of Broadway’s Elf the Musical. Here, her tips on how to glide, twirl, and arabesque like you know what you’re doing.

Illustrations by Remie Geoffroi

1. The Two-Foot Spin
For this move, “put both arms out to the side, parallel to the ice,” Halasa says, while keeping your core strong. Start by marching in a slow counterclockwise circle, “as if you’re walking on solid ground.” Make sure that your feet stay parallel. It’s not a crossover. “You’ll get a little momentum.” Then: “Sweep your arms in over your chest. This will propel you into a one-revolution spin.” Halasa says novices tend to exclaim: “Oh my God! I’m spinning!” 

2. The Spiral
The Spiral is not a spin, but a one-footed glide with the leg stretched back—“like a mini arabesque.” Engage your abdomen (“It’s what balances you,” notes Halasa), and push off with your nondominant foot, shifting your weight to your skating foot. Keep your raised foot off the ice and pointed out behind you, below your hip. “As long as you’re pulling in your abdominal muscles and lifting your chest up, you’re presenting yourself nicely.”

3. The Forward Swizzle
Start with your feet in a V position, hands loosely folded across your chest. Make like a ballerina and dip into plié. Then, push forward, letting your arms sweep down and out to either side. When your feet are wider than your shoulders, use your inner-thigh strength to pull your toes into an upside-down V. Repeat around the rink, and you’ll notice that “your feet are tracing the shape of a lemon.”

How to Fall
“If you feel like you’re going to take a spill,” Halasa says, “bend and grab your knees. If you can, lean to one side; it’s better to land on your muscle-y quads than to fall straight on your knees.” Make a fist if you’re worried about your fingers. But, says Halasa, “I’ve been teaching for 21 years, and no one has ever been sliced.”

“Oh My God! I’m Spinning!”