The Next Ice Edge

The Next Ice Edge Seminar

The Next Ice Edge Seminar is available for booking each Spring. Taught by Nathan Birch and Ian Lorello, The Next Ice Edge is designed to improve skills of all skaters through classes both on and off the ice. Exercises focus on technique, breath, and intention – emphasizing line, edge quality, and lean. For information, email The Classes and Private Instruction cover three major components:

  1. The Golden Rule: A full explanation of why leaning into the curve is the backbone of this work.
  2. The Positions: The isolated alignment of limbs in relation to the front and back of the blades executed in long sustained edges.
  3. The Curriculum: The Basic and Advanced exercises developed specifically for The Next Ice Edge utilizing The Golden Rule and The Positions as a means to navigate across the ice.

Nathan Birch

Nathan Birch co-founded The Next Ice Age with Tim Murphy. He began his professional career in the John Curry Skating Company where he learned fundamental skating skills in daily on-ice classes taught by Mr. Curry. Upon forming The Next Ice Age, Nathan began to develop his own technique known as The Next Ice Edge.

Ian Lorello

Ian Lorello is the first skater certified to instruct The Next Ice Edge curriculum. As an athlete, he represented the U.S. internationally in Ice Dance through 2015, earning two ISU Junior Grand Prix bronze medals. Ian was personally coached by Mr. Birch on the details of The Next Ice Edge technique.

The Next Ice Edge Class

The Next Ice Edge class entails skating in formation – in blocks of three or four – down the length of the rink, with the goal of maintaining the original formation while performing a specific edge exercise.  The technique used by each skater to maintain the formation is known as “birding,” which is to match the speed, curve, line, and lean of the formation’s leader. Because the formation follows a side-to-side “S” pattern as it travels down the rink, the lead skater actually changes from moment to moment.
 Although the exercises have changed and developed over time, the common elements are:

Lean – the angle of the body over the blade with respect to the ice
Line – the extension of the body from toe to fingertip
Edge Quality – the part of the blade the skater is skating on (i.e., inside or outside edge), and the direction the skater is skating (i.e., forwards or backwards)
Speed – the skater’s velocity, both in absolute terms and relative to the other formation skaters
Carriage – the skater’s overall posture and alignment

The Next Ice Edge is the building block of ensemble skating performance, similar to how ballet class is foundational to developing dance technique.  It was a mandatory part of John Curry’s daily routine, and when The Next Ice Age was hired by Dorothy Hamill to help choreograph some of her productions, she made class mandatory for her skaters as well.

The following video and pictures show Artistic Director Nathan Birch leading class at The Gardens Ice House October 30th, 2010 (also see our Events page for upcoming open rehearsal dates, where you can watch class in person):