The term shadow skating was not used until 1923 when the late Kenneth Dundas applied it, in the Manchester Guardian, to the pair programme skated by my wife and me, and built on the lines of that of Bernard and Alex. A few years ago in an American show brought over by John Harris (Ice Cycles), it had been revived most beautifully. Bernard also had a foursome, consisting of the Adams brothers, with two other Princes instructors, Christian Soldan, a Swede, and Leonce Pesquier, a Basque from Biarritz, who had learnt his skating at the Palais de Glace in Paris and in Nice.
Another feature of the skating of the period was the introduction and development of ice dancing. This had been brought in a rough though gay form, from Vienna. The dances were the Valse and the Bohatch, a little march step which Max Bohatch, who won the European Championship in 1905 when it was held in Bonn, used as a speed-making step. Then someone or other in Vienna found a ladies step that fitted, with the result that a dance came into being known as the Ten Step. As usual the British took up these dances and in due course, the annual Open Waltzing Competition came to be held on the two days of the Swedish Cup. At Princes Skating Club, by custom, most of the great skaters of the day participated. I remember once, when Mrs. Johnson and J. Keiller Greig won, there were forty-eight couples on the programme. These large numbers were always eliminated down to the last eight who skated after the free skating of the Championship and it was considered very good to be in the last eight. Once Mrs. Johnson skated with Grenander and another time with Herr Roth who had been second in the World Championship. Arthur Cumming and The Hon. Mrs. Arthur Cadogan who won the Senior Pairs of the F.S.C. were another fine couple, as were Miss Muriel Harrison and Basil Williams (winner of the Swedish Cup 1913). Miss Toby Ledger and Ivan Sneh, both enormously tall, were one of the best couples I ever saw. The winners in 1912, and the two competitions in 1913 and in 1914 were Miss Allingham, afterwards Mrs. T. D. Richardson and T. D. Richardson, who also won the first and only Ten Step competition ever held there mainly by virtue of the fact that they could skate it perfectly to a figure eight! The final tests of the last eight were the ordeal of the Chairs, three of them, round which the skaters waltzed in Serpentine form. The other, a version of which has recently been adopted by the international ice dancing authorities, was to waltz round the rink in a clockwise direction and then, at the end, to change direction to anti-clockwise. This is more difficult than when done in the opposite way and in any case it is a fine test of good dancing.
Axel Paulsen, 1870 Whose name is perpetuated by the jump he evolved.
Summing up the major changes in skating and the marked features of the period from the advent of Grenander to the 1914 outbreak of war, I would say that in the main, they were the complete establishment, both here and abroad, of the international style, in place of the old English, which still however claims a few devotees. The entire establishment of womens skating and of pair skating. And then, towards the end, signs of a breakaway from the traditional method of Salchow, wherein more freedom, more individuality was in evidence, as a direct result of Arthur Cumming and the teaching of Bror Meyer and Bernard Adams. No account of the history of skating would be complete without mention of those two famous strongholds of the English style, Davos and St. Moritz. It was on the world renowned rinks of these resorts that in the nineties and the early years of this century the English style was brought to perfection. There was keen rivalry between both these places, the Davosers claiming the Davos Bowl and the St. Moritzers the Holland Bowl as the blue ribbon of the year. But the old style gradually faded away and already by 1914 had practically disappeared. But it had done a great work. Its principal exponents, following the tradition of Vandervell, had shown the world the basic principles of edge running and of true poise on a skate, emphasising the importance of shoulder control, with correct head and hip positions and with the elimination of all superfluous movement. Moreover, it was in this style as I have already said that the compound turns, rockers, counters and brackets, were formulated and demonstrated.
The Early Years upto 1914
Part 13
The Early Years upto 1914 (Part 14). The Early Years upto 1914 Index.