The idea of figure skating on roller skates was taken from ice
figure skating, and was one of the earliest forms of artistic roller
skating. Artistic roller skaters began attempting figure skating
moves sometime in the early 1800s. In 1819 Monsieur Petitbled (a
Frenchman) developed a new roller skate design, and tried to
convince the public that a skater could do anything on his roller
skates that could be done on a pair of ice skates. Monsieur
Petitbled was unsuccessful in his attempt to convince this notion to
roller skaters. However, it is likely that artistic ice skaters of
his day were successful in performing many figure skating moves on
his newly developed roller skates.
Jackson Haines (considered by many as the father of modern day ice
figure skating) also made his mark by performing figure skating
moves on roller skates. Haines was a professional ballet dancer, and
an excellent ice and roller skater. Haines put on roller figure
skating shows for James Plimpton to help promote Plimpton’s skates,
and the new roller skating recreational activity as a whole.
The skating moves performed during roller figure skating are not
that radically different than those performed in ice figure skating.
During artistic roller skating competitions “roller” figure skaters
are judged on their form, figures, jumps, turns, posture, etc just
like ice figure skaters. One of the most notable differences between
roller and ice figure skating is the media coverage. Ice figure
skating is very popular and widely covered; while roller figure
skating is rarely covered by the national media.
Artistic Roller Skating (Dance Skating)
Dance skating is another form of artistic roller skating.
Dance skating, simply put, is dancing on a pair of roller skates.
Artistic dance skating is performed with the skater’s selection of
music playing in the background. During dance skating competitions
artistic skaters can either perform their dance moves solo or with a
partner. Artistic dance roller skating can be broken down into three
categories; compulsory, original, and free dance.
Compulsory dance roller skating resembles ballroom dancing
and requires the skater(s) to perform a set of mandatory dance moves
and steps. Compulsory dance skating can be performed solo or with
couples however, the majority of compulsory dance skating is
performed by couples. Compulsory roller dance skating is very
similar to its ice skating compulsory dance skating counterpart.
Original dance roller skating is similar to compulsory dance
roller skating. One of the main differences is that Original dance
roller skaters can choose their own music. However, the music
Original dance skaters choose must fall within predetermined tempo
Artistic free dance roller skating can also be performed solo
or with a partner. Free dance roller skating is quite different than
compulsory and original dance skating. In free dance roller skating
the skater(s) are generally not required to perform a set of
mandatory dance moves and steps. Free dance skaters are judged on
their speed, jumps, spins, etc. Artistic free dance roller skaters
are allowed to select their music, costumes and the moves they
choose to perform.
Artistic Roller Skating (Precision Skating)
Precision skating is another form of artistic roller skating that
has increased in popularity over the years. Precision roller skating
is quite different than the other types of artistic roller skating
(figures, dance, freestyle). Precision skating is performed by a
“team” of 8-24 roller skaters.
Artistic precision roller skaters work closely as a team to perform
various synchronized movements. Precision skaters perform their
routine to music and attempt to move together as a single unit,
precisely at the same time, and in perfect unison. As with other
types of artistic roller skating, the idea for precision skating was
taken from ice skating. Unlike the other types of artistic roller
skating, precision skating has only been around in the United States
since 1957; and that was precision ice skating, not precision roller
Artistic Roller Skates
Artistic roller skates must be designed to withstand jumps, dance
movements and other demanding artistic roller skating moves.
Artistic roller skates weigh less than the average recreational
roller skate, and are normally made with a high-cut leather boot.
The high-cut leather boot provides the artistic skater the
additional needed support. Artistic roller skates have a stronger
sole plate that allows the skate to withstand the impact of jumps,
and other artistic skating moves. Artistic roller skates have
smaller wheels than recreational roller skates, and should be
equipped with at least an ABEC-3 rated bearing. Because of the
various jumps, spins and other artistic skating moves, artistic
roller skates either have adjustable toe-stops or no toe-stops at