Mohawks

Mohawks

Today we delve into the world of Mohawks, admittedly a topic I was initially not very well versed on. However, after a few days of internet research fueled by my severe caffeine addiction and motivated by a restless newborn who refused to sleep through the night, I present to you my guide to Mohawks – the two-foot turn comprised of same entry and exit edges (i.e. outside to outside or inside to inside).

Overview

Table documenting similarities and differences between the various mohawks turns.

Hip Orientation

Before we can properly distinguish the difference between each mohawk we must first understand the idea of an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ hip orientation. I personally find that if we use the free leg as a reference point, it is much easier to distinguish if the hip is to be considered open or closed.

For example, when the free leg is trailing the employed skate it “opens” the hip resulting in what would be considered an ‘open’ hip. However, when the free leg is in front of the employed skate it “closes” the hip resulting in the ‘closed’ hip position.

Macarena Carrascosa of Hey Macarena Fitness demonstrating an Open and Closed Hip Position.

Most Common Mohawks

Open (Op)

  • Position where free leg is placed before weight transfer- placed on the inside of the employed skate, commonly at the instep (as depicted below).
  • Tracing – does cross during turn
  • Hip – after the weight transfer the new free leg is now trailing behind the heel of the new employed skate, resulting in a open hip position.
  • These turns are sometimes referred to as “Chasse Type Mohawks”
Open Mohawk (Op) Diagram

Closed (Cl)

  • Position where free leg is placed before weight transfer – placed on the outside of the employed skate.
  • Tracing – does cross during turn
  • Hip – after the weight transfer the new free leg is now ahead of the toe-stop of the new employed skate, resulting in a closed hip position.
  • These turns are sometimes referred to as “Progressive Type Mohawks”
Closed Mohawk (Cl Mk) Diagram

Heel to Heel (Hh)

  • Position where free leg is placed before weight transfer – heel of the free leg placed adjacent to the heel of the employed skate
  • Tracing – does not cross during turn
  • Hip – after the weight transfer the new free leg is now trailing behind the heel of the new employed skate, resulting in a open hip position.
Heel to Heel Mohawk (Hh Mk) Diagram

Less Common Mohawks

These mohawks are considered to be less common either because they are rarely performed or practised in roller figure skating

Inverted (Iv)

  • Position where free leg is placed before weight transfer – Toe of the free leg placed adjacent to the toe of the employed skate
  • Tracing – does not cross during turn
  • Hip – after the weight transfer the new free leg is now ahead of the toe-stop of the new employed skate, resulting in a closed hip position.
Inverted Mohawk (Iv Mk) Diagram

Ballroom

This turn is considered less common because it can only be performed by couples. Essentially it is where a couple skating in the closed position (i.e. they are holding hands and making an ‘O’ shape with their arms) will turn from forwards to backwards or backwards to forwards using a combination of Inverted and Heel-to-Heel mohawks. Therefore one of the skaters will perform a ‘Hh’ mohawk, and the other partner will perform an ‘Iv’ mohawk.

Ballroom Mohawk Diagram

Variations

Swing

A swing mohawk is any mohawk that involves the inclusion of a swing of the free leg directly before the execution of the turn.

Dropped

Similar to three one foot turns, “dropped” turns make reference to how long the resulting edge is held for. In the case of a dropped mohawk, the resulting edge created when the free leg becomes the new employed skate, is only held for less than one beat of music. It is possible to perform both Open or Closed Dropped Mohawks.

Held

Again, like the three one foot turn, “held” refers to a turn where the resulting edge is held for longer than one beat of music. Therefore, an open or closed, held mohawk will ‘hold’ it’s resulting edge for more than one second (i.e a minimum of two beats).


For those of you who are after a video to help you learn how to mohawk, i highly recommend the following video by 4x World Champion Nicole Fiore:
How To Roller Skate – Mohawk Turns – Tutorial 13

In my next post we will go through Choctaws and how to distinguish the multiple variations.

Ngā Mihi,

Sarah Butler
Founder of Māia Fitness

Reference List

Skate Australia (2012a). Australian Artistic Committee Dance Manual Part 1. Edition 14. Retrieved from https://www.sk8info.org.au/manuals/dance1.pdf

Skate Australia (2012b). Australian Artistic Committee Dictionary. Edition 4. Retrieved from https://www.sk8info.org.au/manuals/dictionary.pdf

Skate Dance Diagrams and Tools. (2020). Turns. Retrieved January 24, 2020, from https://skatedancediagrams.weebly.com/turns.html

World Skate. (2019a). Rules for Artistic Roller Skating Competitions Dance Book 2020 Retrieved from
http://www.worldskate.org/artistic/about/regulations/category/262-rule-books.html?download=3977:official-regulation-artistic-dance-and-solo-dance-book-2020

World Skate. (2019b). Rules for Artistic Roller Skating Competitions General 2020 Retrieved from
http://www.worldskate.org/artistic/about/regulations/category/262-rule-books.html?download=3966:official-regulation-artistic-general-2020

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