Figure Skaters Experience a Competition-Like Setting On a Regular Basis:
Participants wear competition costumes, put on makeup, and fix their hair as if they are competing. When competition time comes around, they are prepared. They've already done their competition programs multiple times, in costume, in front of an audience.
The weekly exhibition experience is supposed to simulate and give skaters the feel of competing. It was like a regular fancy dress rehearsal.
These experiences also help figure skaters prepare for figure skating tests.
All Levels Of Skaters Participate:
Skaters of all ages and levels participate in figure skating exhibitions and simulations. Sign-up procedures are usually simple. Skaters fill out a form and pay a fee, which helps the club or rink pay for the private ice rental costs.
A committee of volunteers sets up the schedule while other volunteers help with announcing, ice monitoring and coordinating music. Refreshments are often served. On some nights, judges, coaches, or technical specialists provide critiques for the skaters.
Coaches Find Exhibitions and Simulations Useful:
Figure skating coaches appreciate the regular opportunity for their skaters to perform. Most coaches encourage their skaters to take part in as many exhibition/simulation opportunities as possible.
"Skating simulations and/or exhibitions are a very important part of preparation for competition," says a figure skating coach. "I use the exhibitions to simulate the competition experience for my skaters: off-ice warm-ups, actual competition-type warm-up, a specific skating order and a performance."
The General Public Learns About Figure Skating:
In addition to helping skaters get ready for competitions, exhibitions make it possible for the a community to see figure skaters perform and help promote the sport. Many or most figure skating exhibitions are open to the public, and there is no admission fee. Fans also have the chance to watch up-and-coming and elite figure skaters.
"I love getting to perform!" says a young skater. "Getting a chance to do my free skate program before regionals gave me the experience I needed. Doing a skating exhibition feels like a competition event. It's also nice to have my friends and family there cheering for me!"
On occasion, before an exhibition or simulation, figure skaters gather to celebrate special achievements of fellow club members.
Exhibitions Require Sacrifice:
Hosting these exhibitions on a regular basis takes work and commitment, but it is well worth the effort. Skating can be a lonely sport. At performance time, it's the skater or skaters, the ice and their music.
Judging Critiques Are Essential:
Whenever possible, it is recommended that judges, coaches, and technical specialists help simulate the competition experience by giving critiques to skaters at these exhibitions and simulations. Skaters can then know what to improve and what to work on. Judges and technical specialists should be available to give critiques and evaluations throughout the year, but most importantly, near competition time so that changes or improvements in a skater's program can be made.
All Figure Skating Clubs and Rinks Should Consider Offering Exhibition/Simulation Opportunities:
Does your club or rink offer something special to give its skaters a regular chance to perform? If not, consider asking your rink's director or club president about making exhibition opportunities available. Performing in front of an audience makes better figure skaters!