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STARSkate & Competitive Podium Pathways

STARSkate offers opportunities for skaters of all ages to develop fundamental figure skating skills in the areas of ice dance, skating skills, free skate and interpretive skating. This program teaches figure skating skills in a group and/or private lesson format in a progressive and sequential manner and includes specifically designed awards and incentives. Skaters have the opportunity to take Skate Canada Tests through a nationally standardized testing system with the focus being on testing and local competitions over qualifiying for national level events. Skills, Tests, Achievement, Recognition – this is what STARSkate is all about!

Competitive Podium Pathways is  a program for skaters in singles, pair and ice dance and synchronized skating wishing to compete in qualifying events within Skate Canada. Categories are based on technical level as well as age. Competitive skaters begin in the STARSkate program and move into Competitive based on coach direction.

How does STARSkate work?

STAR 1-5 Program (Pre-requisite: Achieve the skills equivalent to the CanSkate Stage 6 badge)

The STAR 1-5 program introduces the sport of figure skating. This program provides the building blocks of our sport to support a skater’s development in any area of figure skating they choose to explore. The STAR 1-5 program is situated at the entry of the ‘Learn to Train’ stage in the LTD model, where key skill development and training strategies are introduced. To support this, STAR 1-5 has been designed to provide direction from a coach as much as possible to support correct technique and offer a well-balanced skill set in their development. Coaches will guide the skater’s practice time to initiate good training habits. You can expect a variety of coach-directed sessions: • Classes (including lanes up and down the ice) • Group work • Stations • Training books (guided training) • private or semi-private lesson time (if desired).

You can also expect off ice training sessions for your skater. Off ice training builds general physical literacy skills and supports figure skating skills being developed on the ice. Sessions can include:

Off ice jump/spin • Musicality/Expression • Agility/Coordination • Strength. • Mental Training • Goal Setting • Technical training • Flexibility

The STAR 1-5 program includes a full complement of progressive assessment opportunities. These assessments enable skaters to set and achieve goals and measure progression through the STAR 1-5 program. These assessments are completed in-club with coaches during their regular training sessions. Skaters also have the option to begin attending local events/competitions to perform their elements and programs as they progress through the STAR 1-5 program. There is increased opportunity to participate in community functions and Performance & Development Opportunities (PDOs).These opportunities may include events to support skill development, challenge days, fun events, and performance opportunities like Ice shows.


What do the areas of figure skating mean?

Skating Skills are a combination of fundamental skating movements that include edges, turns, field moves and basic skating. The basic components of all disciplines of figure skating are incorporated into the program. The movements are derived from former compulsory figures, free skating and ice dancing. The objective of the Skating Skills program is mastery of the basic fundamentals of skating – edge quality, control, power and speed.

Ice Dance teaches timing, musicality, rhythm interpretation, structure as well as basic skating skills such as edges, flow, control and unison. In addition to the traditional compulsory dances, there are also Creative Dances to challenge skaters’ creativity, artistry and originality.

Free Skate consists of jumps, spins, footwork, field movements and stroking, either in isolation or performed in sequence to music. Each test consists of 2 parts – elements in isolation and a choreographed program (except for STAR 1 which is just elements in isolation).

Artistic programs encourage and develop skaters’ creativity, expression, musicality, movement, interpretation of music, as well as the use of space, rhythm, line and style. The program provides skaters with the opportunity to explore the performance aspect of skating without focusing on technical elements like jumps or spins.

Synchronized Skating (Synchro for short) is a team discipline, that has groups of skaters performing a variety of elements in unison. Synchro provides skaters the opportunity to develop 
synchronized skating elements while promoting: 
• Musicality and expression
• Strengthening skating skills
• Teamwork
Skaters can expect to be introduced to basic formations such as circles, lines, blocks, intersections, and performing field moves in unison.  Being a member of a Synchro team brings a unique camaraderie with peers and opens the opportunity to compete as part  of a team. Synchro events are known for their high energy, team spirit and community feel

Star Skate Coaching –What You Need to Know

Like most other Canadian figure skating clubs, Halifax Skating Club Club offers group lessons at 
the Pre-CanSkate, CanSkate and Jr Academy levels. Once a skater moves beyond the CanSkate level they will need to select a private coach to oversee their continued development.
Private coaching will help speed progress by increasing focus on each skater’s individual goals and challenges; these may include the exciting experience of going to competitions or working through Skate Canada test levels. If your skater wants to try competing or testing, Skate Canada dictates that you must have a coach. Many times a private coach will group their skaters of equal levels for group lessons. This helps in keeping the cost for lessons lower to the parent.  Our entire coaching team has extensive knowledge of teaching skaters at all levels Including -

Recreational / Competitive/ all genders/ special needs / Singles / Pairs/ Dance/ Synchronized skating / English / French 

Each of our coaches pride themselves in meeting the individual needs of each skater.  

Can the office staff or board members recommend a coach for me?

No. Anyone involved with the day-to-day operation or governance of a Skate Canada Club must 
remain impartial. Recommendations of one coach over another are considered unethical. Besides,  nobody knows your skater’s personality and communication style better than you. Private coaches  must be hired directly by you, and lesson fees, scheduling and so on are to be arranged directly with your coach. Private coaching fees are not included in skating session fees, and cannot be paid through the club

So how do I choose a coach?


Your private coach should be someone the skater is comfortable with. Ask your skater for an opinion–if they have been with HSC throughout their skating development, they will have some familiarity with the teaching style of several coaches through group lessons, warmups and so on. But be careful that they are not just asking for a certain coach because their friends are with that coach! Personal fit is important.  You might want to observe the coaches on sessions other than your usual  sessions. While you will not be able listen in to lessons directly, watching the coaches from the stands might help to give you a feel for how each coach works. 

How to select a StarSkate Coach 

A full listing of our club coaches is available under our about us page

How many lessons a week do we need?


The number of private lessons per week will depend on the skater’s goals. Naturally, the more lessons a skater has the faster they will progress. However, remember that skaters also need to learn to work independently –do not schedule so many lessons on each session that they do not 
have a chance to develop this skill. Semi-private lessons (lessons where skaters of similar ability share a private lesson) are a good option if they are supplemented by private lessons, so each skater gets a chance to work on his/her individual needs with the coach.

Payment for lessons in the STARSkate program is made directly to your private coach. The club fee paid when registering for sessions covers things like ice, club led group stroking, off-ice training, and administration. Most coaches bill at the end of every month and require payment within 15 days. Your coach can discuss billing and payment options with you if you have questions. 

Which HSC coaches teach private lessons?

See Coach Bio sheet for further information on each coach. All our professional coaches teach both male and female skaters of all levels of ability and experience. Simply let us know which coach you are interested in selecting, we will then notify all the coaches of your interest. Once a coach is ready to commit, we will connect the parent and coach via an email. All further 
communication regarding the skater and their progress will go though the selected coach.

Now That You Have a Coach Communication is key. If you have any questions about your skater's progress or your  lessons, speak with your coach. Afterall, you are paying them to work with your child. This is a business arrangement and must be treated as such. Discuss your thoughts, ask questions, and raise any concerns openly. Our coaches pride themselves on friendly, supportive and positive skater/coach relationship

Your contact for all things academy related (IE skating sessions, registration fees, cancellations etc.)can be sent to LeeAnne  HSC Director of Development

 Please continue to communicate with you skaters coach for anything directly related to their development on the ice. 


How does CompetitiveSkate work?

Skaters enrolled in CompetitiveSkate learn a variety of life skills as they progress up the competitive ladder. These include goal setting, focus, ability to deal with success/failure, time management and principles of fair play and sportsmanship. In addition to the life skill benefits, skaters in this program receive:

  • access to provincial and national funding programs (as applicable)
  • the opportunity to be selected to Skate Canada’s National Team
  • the opportunity to compete at Skate Canada Sectionals, Skate Canada Challenge, and/or the Canadian Figure Skating Championships
  • opportunity and potential to be selected to represent Canada internationally
  • access to sport science services

How does the program structure work?

The Skate Canada Competitive Pathways Program offers nationally standardized competitions to competitive skaters. These events are the stepping stones to things such as the National Team and the World and Olympic teams. Skaters competing in the qualifying event structure can do so at the Pre-Juvenile, Juvenile, Pre-Novice, Novice, Junior and Senior levels in singles, pair and ice dance.


Can I return to STARSkate if I try Competitive?

Yes, you can. There are a number of options once a skater decides that Competitive may not be the program for them. Skaters may choose to return to STARSkate (which can include synchronized skating). Skaters age 16 or older and with at least a STAR 5 test level may be interested in becoming coaches, evaluators, judges, technical specialist, technical controller or data specialists. Skaters age 18 or older may even continue skating as an adult under the AdultSkate program.