Possessed of a powerful yet elegant body, he took to skating, bringing all his ballet training to bear upon it, and duly neglected his dancing. Haines, who like many a prophet, had little or no honour in his own land, in consequence emigrated to Europe, giving exhibitions which aroused enormous enthusiasm, in which he demonstrated the great beauty possible of attainment on the ice, once the basic principles of the use of the head, body, arms, shoulders, free hip and leg, as laid down in the ballet, have been mastered and translated.
He eventually settled in Vienna, for it was there that his new ideas were received with the most interest and sympathy, the result being the foundation of the celebrated Viennese School. There is a photograph extant of Haines appearing on skates in the opera Le Prophete. This must be the first ever example of skating on a tank, that is, a small artificial ice rink used on the stage of a theatre. He died in a small town near Helsinki, in 1875, where a monument was erected to him. During Haines lifetime, and in the immediate years that followed, two famous men, von Koerper, a Viennese, and Max Wirth, founder of the Frankfurt club who had gone to live in Vienna, worked hard. They were both idealists, and they absorbed all that Haines had shown them of beauty and rhythmic movement, all his ideas of musical interpretation.This was the beginning of what was then known as the Continental as opposed to the English style. It was frowned upon in this country on account of the free they called it wild use of the arms and legs to assist the movement. Nowadays, there being no rivalry, it is known as the International Style, and except among a few in this country it has entirely superceded the English. It is perhaps worthy of note that among those who do still practice the English style, largely for the pleasure of skating the combined figures which, being a form of team skating can be great fun, most of the best exponents are those who are primarily international style skaters, which of course was not the case until a comparatively few years ago up to the First World War in fact. Mainly through the genius of von Koerper, the Viennese drew out a syllabus of figures, the first of its kind in the world, and one which was the basis of the present schedule of the school figures, when it had added to it der Englische Drier, as Vandervells turn was then known on the Continent, the counter, and the bracket, which had been perfected by Maxwell Witham from the spade work of Vandervell. Until the 1890s, figure-skating advanced at a steady pace, in Britain firmly entrenched in the Victorian style, and in Germany and Austria especially in Vienna in the production of carnivals and costume festivities of the gayest character. But more serious things were afoot, and, by 1896, the
The Early Years upto 1914
Part 6
The Early Years upto 1914 (Part 7). The Early Years upto 1914 Index.
International Skating Union held its first championship, which took place in St. Petersburg, and was won by the great Dr. Gilbert Fuchs of the Münchner-Eislauf-Verein. After 1924 this and the Ladies’ Championship of the I.S.U. were styled Championships of the World. The ladies competition started in 1906, and as has been mentioned earlier on, was won by Mrs. Madge Syers of the Figure-Skating Club. The Pairs Championship began in 1908, was held in St. Petersburg and won by Heinrich Burger and FrI. Hubler of the Munich Skating Club. Apropos pair skating, it is interesting to note that in the winter of 1890 / 1801 a sensation was created in ice-sport by pair skating, consisting of a man and a lady skating together. The first pair skaters in the International Style, as distinct from the hand-in-hand of the Victorians in their English style, were Fri. Mathilde Obiack and Herr Victor Seybert, and Frl. Paula Steinhausen and Herr Albert Blatter of Vienna. The fashion for this delightful but exacting form of skating spread quickly, but it had to wait until 1908 before the authorities of the I.S.U. would give it official recognition. Pair skating has always been a specialty of the Viennese, the two pairs mentioned being the forerunners of many that have not only satisfied the judges but brought the spectators to their feet.
Mrs. Madge Syers