Synchronized skating is a discipline of figure skating. It is performed by teams of 8 to 20 skaters executing a series of mandatory elements choreographed to music. Often the program will have an overall theme that is expressed through music, costumes, makeup and choreography. Points are given for execution of the elements, artistry and musical interpretation. The number of elements varies with each category.
Circle elements consist of sets of skaters moving in a circular motion. A team can perform one large circle, two circles side by side or a circle within a circle to increase visual interest. To increase difficulty and express the theme of the program skaters can perform footwork, variations in handholds, and head and arm motions.
Block elements consist of skaters in closely spaced rows performing in unison as they travel across the ice. Blocks in the beginner, elementary and juvenile levels are performed while the skaters maintain a handhold while in the higher levels blocks are performed with and without a handhold. Accents such as bunny hops, toe taps, arm and head motions are used to highlight the music and character of the program.
Line elements consist of all of the skaters in one or two long lines traveling across the ice. The goal is to create a straight line while performing complicated changes in footwork, handholds, head and arm motions. The line may change directions or pivot. This requires the ends of the line to travel at different speeds to create visual interest.
Wheel elements consist of skaters in a 2, 3 or 4 spoke formation pivoting around a center point. In the lower categories the centre of the wheels are fixed, while in higher categories the centre of the wheels travel across the ice. Variations in wheels occur with footwork, changing handholds and full handhold releases while maintaining the wheel shape and rotational speed.
Intersection elements occur when one set of skaters pass through a second set of skaters traveling in the opposite direction. In the lower categories the skaters must pass each other in straight line while facing forwards. In higher categories these restrictions are removed with complicated footwork, collapsing shapes (box or triangle), and back-to-back entry occurring while skaters pass by each other at high speeds.
Creative elements are performed in the Juvenile category and higher and consist of part of the team performing a move in isolation, while the rest of the team moves in formation. The isolation elements can consist of spirals, jumps, spins or other skating elements that are synchronized, but not in formation. This element is used to express the theme of the program and usually highlights a piece of the music.