Natalie Richmiller, 7, attempted to put her best foot forward and then the other foot during a “Learn to Skate” clinic Sunday at The River’s Edge, Davenport.
It was hard. Her arms waved, and she leaned forward slightly as she skated around the downtown Davenport rink.
Her favorite skating trick was the forward swizzle, a movement where skaters push their feet out and back in a V-shape.
“It was a lot of fun. I fell sometimes when we were going backwards,” the Moline resident said, her face glowing.
About 200 children took to the ice and attempted to learn the art of staying upright on shining blades during the clinic. Experienced skaters helped newcomers learn the art of falling properly and skating forward. The more advanced attempted spins and spirals.
The event was offered by the Figure Skating Club of the Quad-Cities in partnership with River’s Edge.
January is the U.S. Figure Skating Association’s Learn to Skate month, and the club teamed up with River’s Edge to offer free skates, ice and admission for kids 10 and younger, event coordinator Shari Baker said.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids who have never skated to come out and give the sport a try,” Baker said.
Megan Collins, 11, of Rock Island spent the afternoon helping the newcomers. As a skater with three years of experience, she knows how much practice is needed to get comfortable on an icy surface.
“I thought it would be fun to teach new skaters who don’t even know how to skate, a first look at skating,” she said.
Solo skater Grace Lomelino, 9, of Davenport and the River’s Edge synchronized youth and adult skating teams made skating look effortless during a short exhibition. Grace, a skater with three years of experience, performed to a jazzy rendition of “Me and My Shadow.” Her favorite movement is the scratch spin.
“It’s a (upright) spin where you cross your right foot over your left foot and spin,” she said.
Not every child at the clinic is a future Evan Lysacek or Rachael Flatt, but the event offered a basic understanding of skating elements.
The key part of the sport is “not falling,” Garet Crouse, 11, of Bettendorf said. His advice for those less sure of foot is “hold onto the wall.”
And he did just that.