Dancing tricks


Inline dance has always fascinated me as some tricks are more exciting and much more difficult than traditional Styleslalom steps using cups. It’s unbelievable but I was in difficulty to try even the simplest dance step when I had already reached good results in slalom.

I managed to pick up the steps while traveling to Amsterdam, London and NY. There I met some of the best dancers who showed me and made me understand the analogies and differences in their dances and styles. Some dance steps, like tip-tap or the 8 step, are more beautiful to see if you use in-line skates, while other steps, like forward and back walk (in slalom double crazy) are prettier if they are performed using traditional skates, called quads.

In N.Y. dance schools distinguish between the two kinds of skate and in fact dance courses are different in according to the skates that are used.

For example, the skaters who practice jamskating (discipline which consists of mixing tricks of breakdance and acrobatics) use exclusively traditional skates. On the other hand in-line skates have a frame longer with hard and stiff boot, so they make much more difficult most of breakdance tricks, while the use of traditional skates even facilitates their execution!

It’s easy to realize that any sort of dance, for example ballet, consists of one or more sets of elementary steps. So I listed all those steps and gave them a reference name. Then I began to study them one by one, and arranged them into more complex choreographies.

My following purpose is to show, by short movies, some of these elementary steps.
Certainly these steps might help in-line dance fans that once learnt, could mix them and let their imagination go wild, creating varied choreographies! I think that also a skater without “black blood” in his veins can obtain good results, studying the elementary steps and mixing them together. The music that you listen will suggest the sequence and the order of alternating the various steps.

1 – Butterfly, simple and adding 180 from both sides

2 – Walks

Backward walk: Basic step and examples

The running back walk (Crazy Legs)

2.1.4a(Crazy legs).wmv
2.1.4b (Crazy legs).wmv

For this kind of walk, after the first runnings, the movement on the skates becomes a curve and it describes parenthesis with the external skate. Even if the body remains in the same place, the upper body moves slightly sideways when it switches from one parenthesis to next one.
Sometimes the execution of the backward walks can be interrupted by approaching the two skates alternatively 2 or 3 times in a row. The skates can also touch each other, leaning on the ground only the first skate, or lifting both skates.

Forward walk: Basic step and examples

When you perform only the first cross in the back and forward walks before opening your legs and arms, you can stop in sideways positions setting your skates on toe-heels. I show it in the next video

Another version of forward walk that I like a lot is shown on the next video:

In short, by the skate leaned on the earth I perform a curve so long that it’s possible to keep the other leg lift for more time showing better its backward movement. After turning, the skate leaned on the earth can be lifted on the heel when you already let down the other leg. That is shown on video :

3 – The eight step

A version of this step can be obtained from the running backward walk and making the parenthesis more and more round. In order to do that the two skates have to be perpendicular to each other, like i show in the next video.

I want to show you the running backward walk performed by Steve Kay, an excellent dancer I met in Central Park in ’97.

4 – Sideways 180s and 360s from both rotation sides

These tricks can be performed in different ways, let’s see the most important ones.

4.1 With a skate on the ground and the other skate on the toe.

4.2 With both skates on the toes.

The sideways 180s on toe-toe

4.3 Lifting one skate or with the heel on the ground

Another way of performing this trick will be shown in the section 9.
The way by which you perform the 180s or 360s sideways that I’ve shown on the previous video can be also used to perform more turns, always on one leg, as I show on the next movie.

5 – Sideways movements

While performing the walks or the 180s and 360s, we can move from one place to the other.

The next movie shows some possible movements.

6 – Tip-tap

It’s possible to resume two basic versions of tip-tap that I show on next clips.

6.1 Running tip-tap

6.2 Hopping tip-tap

Then you can perform other versions by these basic ones. Let’s see some examples.


6.3 Repeating twice the terminal hop

6.4 On one leg, touching or not your skates

6.5 On one leg clapping your hands

6.6 Running and hopping tip-tap kicking one leg and clapping your hands at the end of the movement

6.7 Running tip-tap adding eagle opening

6.8 Running tip-tap adding eagle opening and clapping hands

6.9 Tip-tap adding sideways 180s and 360s

6.10 Tip-tap only on one leg adding 360 on toe-heel from one side and the other one at the end of the movement.

It’s possible to perform only half of a tip-tap, its first two steps: repeated on the same side or alternated from one side to the other one. It means that after having performed the first crosses of the tip-tap there are two possibilities: either to come back at once to the beginning position or to continue performing the same cross on the other side and then to come back to the opposite beginning position. This is what i show in the next video.

I have to outline that these movements don’t require sliding on the floor, so, when they are learnt without skates, they are almost learnt using skates.
The eagle step shown in the video 6.7 can be performed also switching from one side to the other one like you can see in the following videos.

Some tip-tap examples or the back walk or the eagle opening can be mixed by sideways movements shown on video 5.1. You can watch the result in the following videos.

7 – Eagle and antieagle steps and tricks

You can also perform the hopping tip tap shown on 6.1, opening sideways your skates as much as possible. The result is the following:

8 – Hops and pendula

I remember that, when you perform a pendulum, you must begin to rotate your body when your leg has completely ended its swing, that is the up phase in the external pendulum or the down phase in the internal pendulum.
Only one or two swings of an internal or external pendulum, that is a single 180 or 360, can be used like a switching figure to break at the moment a step performance or to continue the same step toward an other direction.
On the next video, while performing the tip tap only on the right leg, first I show how to invert the direction of the step by one single swing of internal pendulum on the left leg, then I show to break at the moment the step performing two swings, always of internal pendulum, to continue then the tip tap in the same direction of before.

On the video 8.3 I insert one single swing of internal pendulum before on the left leg, then on the right one, while performing the running back walk

Let’s see now the alternation of internal pendulum single swings, before on a leg then on the other one, while performing the running back walk.

You can alternate in the same way the single swings of the external pendulum, as I show on the next video by the back crossing.

Finally on the video 8.6 I perform some swings of both pendula on both legs, always from the running back walk.

You can also alternate the swings of the external pendulum performing the sideways 180s, as next video shows.

9 – Some skills on heel-toe

9.0 Backward walk

9.1 1Sideways 180s and 360s, with or without running

9.2 The back walk with simple and double 180s and 360s from both sides

9.3 The forward walk with simple and double 180s and 360s from both sides

9.4 Some 180s alternated from one part to the other one interrupted touching the skates

9.5 The back walk with sideways movements and 180s or 360s from both sides

9.6 Now I alternate the swings of a pendulum, for example the external one, with some skill on toe-heels.

9.7 Some mix

10 – Tricks on the ground

The most common ways to sit on the ground are the following ones:

1) By crossing the legs (Bhudda)
2) By placing the knees on the ground

In the second case the back can be kept vertical until the end of the exercise or, alternatively, it can be bent while lowering the knees until reaching the floor. There are more versions of the case a).
The two most common ones depend on whether the legs are crossed lifting only one of them, or whether both legs are lifted by a jump.
The movement has to be continuous, it means that it must begin when the leg that is lifted and crosses the other one isn’t yet leaned on the floor in the first case, or, in the second case, when both skates are lifted and, already crossed, lean on the ground.
Of course you may alternate the two tricks, for example you can sit down in the Bhudda position, then stand up jumping and placing the skates parallel leaving 50cm between them, then sit down again placing the knees on the floor. Or, when you are sitting down on your knees, you can stand up jumping and sit down again, crossing your legs, in the Bhudda position.
Then your fantasy and athletic skills will suggest you the best way to alternate these tricks. For example, it’s also nice to stand up and to sit down more times using the same trick, but alternating it by a 180°.

A third version of the case 1) is to sit down, after having crossed the skates, and to put all the weight of the body in the back of the skate touching the floor only with one wheel (the toe wheel).

These kinds of ground transitions, above all if you learn them from both sides, can be useful to break at the moment the performance of one step, like for example the running back walk or the sideways 180s. I show it on the following video.

11 – Special spins

11.1 On heel-toe changing the arms position or on the toes.

11.2 Rotations on the heels and eagle or on the toes and anti-eagle, AND switching between the two rotations.

11.3 On one leg or on the two toes in a sitted position

11.4 180 and 360 crossing the skates on the floor

A single rotation on the heels using opening and closing the legs in eagle, like I show in the video 11.2, can be learned on both sides and be used in combinations in other tricks, like the tip-tap.

The180 and 360 shown in the video 11.4, when learned on both sides, can be mixed with other tricks. Let’s see it

12 – Corean spin

This is a popular trick in the slalom community. That’s why i want to say when and how I saw this trick for the first time, performed without the slalom cones. I saw it at Central Park in ’96 performed by a NY skater with Korean origin. I loved it immediatly and when i came back to Italy , after a couple of years, I learned to do it in the slalom run.
Anyway it is obvious that the skater I saw in NY didnt invent anything new… in fact this is a very well known trick to any dancer, with or without skates.
The dance trick consists in crossing the legs till getting to a still stop, keeping the position, then uncrossing turning on the opposite direction. The stop is better the lower the body goes, the key point is to flex the legs (see pictures inpage 3). You can get to the corean spin position passing by different positions (i.e. trough the crossed compass), some of them are shown in the videos.
Moreover, while spinning, the skates can touch the floor one on the toe and the other one on the heel, instead of the two toes: this way we obtain a new version of corean spin.

13 – Break-dance: basic step

Ground work: Leg and Clap
Ground work: Alternating Leg and Clap

14 – Eagle and anti-eagle square

The eagle square is a movement over the square sides in the eagle position

If, before moving sideways, we perform an eagle step at both sides like in the video 6.7, we obtain a new figure, watch the following video

If we move over the square sides in the antieagle position instead of the eagle one, we obtain the antieagle square

15 – Eagle opening and closing

The eagle opening and closing on the toes and heels, seen in the video 7.3 and again in the 6.5, can be added in other tricks described so far. Some examples are on the following videos:

16 – Other examples

17 – Examples of performances using the previous steps

18 – Pivots

This trick consists of one skate turning around the other one that touches the floor only with one wheel.
In other words, one or more circles are described by a skate, keeping the other skate in the centre, leaned against the floor touching only the heel or the toe wheel.
The move reminds the circular movement performed by a pivot, this explains the name of the trick.
To tell the truth, the skate in the center doesn’t remain always on the same point but it also turns creating circles or ellipses that are smaller than the ones described by the other skate. In the following, the bigger circles will be called main or external circles to differentiate them from the internal and smaller ones performed by the skate that touches the ground only with one wheel.
To perform more turns, you have to bring one skate closer to the other one every half turn, so you obtain the necessary push to continue the move.

As the video shows, there are many versions of the pivots: the main circles can be performed on the left or right skate, sliding forward or backward, while the other skate can describe the internal circles on the toe or the heel wheel.
Moreover a pivot can be performed in a single turn or alternating more half turns. Using a half pivot you can stop or bend down doing the splits and stand up again performing another half turn, or performing one spin.
The following movie shows how the same tricks can be also performed crossing the legs: there are also two possibilities depending on whether a skate crosses forward or backward the other one. In this last case you can put one skate so far from the other one that they aren’t crossed anymore.

NOTE1: For some pivots, the skate that touches the floor only with one wheel, can also be lifted every half turning. So it looks like we are performing turns only on one leg because the other leg touches the floor only once every half turn.

NOTE2: While performing more turns, if we reduce the radium of the pivot the skates will get closer together and the wheight of the body will be distributed on both skates. So it’s easy to begin a toe-toe or heel-toe spin. In particular, through a crossed pivots you obtain a Corean spin.

NOTE3: Also the skate that describes the main circle can be leaned on the floor by one wheel. The result is shown in the following movie.