The Biellmann spin is an upright figure skating spin in which the skater executes a one-foot spin while holding the other foot extended over and behind the head, forming a teardrop shape with the body.
The spin has also been referred to as a "tulip on a turn-table" due to the shape formed by the torso and leg. The position requires very great flexibility and spinning ability, and when performed, it's almost always by women. The Biellmann position is also used as a spiral position and as a position in ice dancing lifts.
The Biellmann Move is a popular and difficult move in pole dance. It can both be performed on a static or spinning pole.
The spin is named after Swiss figure skater Denise Biellmann, who made it her signature move in the late 1970s. Denise Biellmann did not invent the spin, but was the first skater to perform the move and win a major international title. It is not sure who invented the spin but she was the one to perfect it and popularize it. Denise Biellmann learned the spin at the Acrobatic School.
Janet Champion and Slavka Kohout of the United States were also doing this spin before Denise Biellmann. Tamara Moskvina was seen with this spin in the 1960s, specifically at the 1965 European Figure Skating Championships.
Cecilia Colledge performed a one hand Biellmann spin from a layback spin at the 1937 World Figure Skating Championships.
Irina Slutskaya has been credited as the first person to have ever performed a Biellmann spin with a foot change (i.e., doing a Biellmann, then stepping onto the other leg while in the same spin and performing it on the other leg).
A spin becomes a Biellmann spin, by definition, when "the level of the boot passes the head so that the boot is above and behind or over the head." Some skaters have better positions than others, but as long as the boot is over the head, it is a Biellmann.
When learning the spin the skater does not usually drop their head into the teardrop shape formed by their body so as to maintain balance.
There are many spin variations that are derived from the classic Biellmann spin:
Since the inception of figure skating's cumulative points-based judging system, many skaters have used the Biellman position in various elements, such as spiral sequences due to its added point value regardless of the quality of the position. Moreover, performing a Biellmann spin after 8 revolutions in a layback spin adds a "difficult variation," which can increase the point value of the spin.
The Biellmann spin also has the distinction of being classified as a difficult variation of both a layback and an upright position spin, meaning that a person could include the Biellmann in either spin and it would still be counted as a one-position solo spin.
Due to its increased use since the inception of the new judging system, the 51st International Skating Union Congress passed a resolution that places a limit on the number of times that a Biellmann position may be used in a skating program.
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