Skating program breaks the ice for all skill levels


Want to become the next Michelle Kwan, Tara Lipinski or Scott Hamilton? The Baltimore Figure Skating Club at Mount Pleasant Ice Arena might be able to help. It's offering a seven-week series of group skate lessons, starting Monday.

The Learn-To-Skate series provides 30 minutes of instructional time and 30 minutes of practice time, giving students the chance to pick up the basics and also have fun.

Carla Hackley, the club's Learn-To-Skate director, explains that the program and the club promote ice skating and figure skating in the area.

The seven-week series is open to skaters of all levels and offers instruction for beginners through free-style. Hackley says the series provides lessons for those who want to skate recreationally or for those interested in hockey or figure skating.

The program provides a detailed lesson plan with four levels. The Snowplow Sam Curriculum for ages 4 to 6 teaches preschoolers preliminary moves necessary for strength and coordination on the ice.

The Basic Skills Curriculum teaches the fundamentals of ice skating. Skaters will gain knowledge and experience of the fundamental moves - including forward skating, backward skating, stops, edges, crossovers, turns and mohawks.

The Adult Curriculum promotes physical fitness in beginning adult skaters and improves balance and coordination by teaching proper techniques.

The Freestyle Curriculum gives strong skaters a platform on which to build their skills and gives them the option of choosing whether to pursue skating recreationally or competitively.

All of the Learn-To-Skate instructors are qualified members of the Professional Skaters Association and the U.S. Figure Skating Association. Hackley has been teaching for 30 years and says she has seen a decline in ice skating interest in the past 10 years. "I hope this program stimulates interest in ice skating," she says.

Hackley attributes the decline in interest to other sports becoming popular, most notably soccer, lacrosse and swimming in the Baltimore area. She says that ice skating does see an increase in interest during the Winter Olympics, but because 2004 has been the year of Michael Phelps and the Summer Olympics, ice skating has been struggling to find a base.

Hackley hopes that Kimmie Meissner, a local up-and-coming figure skater, will stir interest in the sport. Meissner, 15, placed second in the World Junior Championships and participated in the Campbell's Classic with Kwan, coming in fifth place. Meissner took lessons from Hackley and participated in the U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills program at Mount Pleasant Ice Arena.

The Baltimore Figure Skating Club's Learn-To-Skate series at Mount Pleasant Ice Arena begins Monday. The lessons are on Mondays at 5 p.m., and the cost is $85 for the seven-week series. Space is limited, so register early. Mount Pleasant Ice Arena is at 6101 Hillen Road. Call Carla Hackley at 410-882-1065 or Mount Pleasant Ice Arena at 410-444-1890 to register. Visit or

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