The New Pastime: Figure Skating

If you are a frequent commuter in Los Angeles, chances are you've probably seen a billboard at some point in the city in the last few weeks advertising the World Figure Skating Championships, which were held at the Staples Center from March 22-29.

This event was the biggest competition for professional figure skaters of the season. It also marked the first time the event was ever held in Los Angeles, and it was only the 12th time it was held in the United States altogether since its inaugural competition over a century ago in 1886.

Spectators of the event were treated to the world's best skaters performing quick spins and dynamic jumps with artistic precision while attempting successful landings to appease judges who focused on their every move.

Although the World Figure Skating Championships were held in Los Angeles, the region's reputation for warm weather doesn't help the activity of ice skating ascend on the list of popular pastimes for locals. In fact, many Angelinos would have trouble finding a place to ice skate if they desired to. Many people with an affinity for figure skating assume that it's too late for them to learn how, because most successful skaters begin at a fairly young age.

However, adults that still possess the desire to pursue figure skating lessons do have options. Although few and far between, local ice rinks have classes to teach student skaters both young and old.

A good location for those who want to learn how to skate or who may already know how and just want to take it in during their spare time is the Culver Ice Arena located in Culver City.

The Culver Ice Arena offers figure skating lessons for adults at five levels which include Adult Beginner, Adult Novice & Intermediate, Adult Intermediate & Advance, Adult Advance & Freestyle and Adult Freestyle. The classes are 10 weeks in length and costs students $125 to participate, with discounts being offered to early enrollers, re-enrolling students, as well as discounts for groups of three or more people.

With the elegance and grace that professional figure skaters display almost effortlessly, the unique full body movements required makes figure skating a good form of exercise that is comparable to dancing or even yoga. Although it may appear to be simple, ice skating in itself requires a high level of stamina to maintain. It helps build strength and develop muscles throughout the legs.

Former Santa Monica College student Jasmin Staten makes trips to the ice skating rink bi-weekly for what she calls her "own personal unique workout." Once inside the ice arena, an entirely new world opens up that residents of L.A. may have only envisioned in their minds.

The experience may seem difficult for first time skaters, however, like any other activity figure skating can become easier and eventually mastered with time, patience and practice. And for residents of Southern California, mastering the art of figure skating would be a rare feat in itself, although definitely not impossible, as many may believe.

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