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USFS General Dance Rules
& Regulations

source USFS 2010-11 Rulebook

4250 Compulsory Dances
4251 General Requirements:
The following must be observed during the skating of compulsory dances: (See ISU Special Regulations Ice Dance Rule 608 (1)):
A. Technique:
1. Accuracy: The steps, dance positions, timing and movement of the dances must be in accordance with the dance diagrams and descriptions. Subject to general conformity with the basic requirements, some latitude is given to allow a couple to
demonstrate their own individual style. This is usually accomplished by the use of a variety of arm and/or leg movements. Footwork must be neat and deep edges should be skated with speed and flow.

Obvious two-footed skating must be avoided. On chassés and progressives the feet should be lifted as small a distance from the ice as is consistent with the making of a clean stroke. The skater must carry the weight over the skating foot.

2. Placement: The steps of the dances must be skated in accordance with the dance diagrams and descriptions. Maximum utilization of the ice surface is desirable, which requires deep edges and good flow. There should be no apparent struggle for speed. Ice coverage must not be obtained by the use of flat or shallow edges.

In a regulation-size arena (100 x 200 ft.) for compulsory dances, the couples may not cross the center line of the rink. In arenas less than regulation size, the couple may cross the center line proportionally to the width of the ice surface.

3. Style: Carriage should be upright but not stiff with the head held up. All actions should be easy and flowing and performed in an elegant manner. The dance holds (see the Dance Glossary) should be firm and the fingers neither spread nor clenched. There should be no apparent struggle for speed and speed should not be obtained at the expense of good style. The free leg should be extended; the foot
turned out and pointed down.

4. Unison: The dance couple should skate as close together as possible, with their movements in unison without apparent effort. The dance holds should be firm and the fingers neither spread nor clenched.

Dance positions must be in accordance with the dance descriptions. Arm and hand movements or positions which differ from those specified in the descriptions of the required dance holds are permitted provided that the leading hand of the man remains in the prescribed position.

Should a couple be completely out of position, it should be reflected in the marks awarded. The man should show his ability to lead and the lady to follow. Body
movements such as leg swings, knee bends and lean should be equal. All movements and changes of position of a couple must be well coordinated. Note: The unison requirement does not apply to solo dance track tests.

B. Timing/expression
1. Timing: The dances must be skated in strict time to the music with
the start of the dance commencing with a major accent. All
movement must be coordinated with the rhythm of the music so that
all steps are completed without any break in continuity.

2. Expression: The dance must be skated smoothly and rhythmically
with the character of the music being correctly interpreted.
interpretation shall be shown by variations in the execution
dance movements which reflect the patterns in the music.
overall effect should be such that each compulsory dance
distinct flavor. The partners should relate to one another.

4260 Original Dance 2009-2010
4261 General Requirements:

    If the general requirements do not conform to ISU regulations and as revised by ISU
    Communication, the ISU prevails. U.S. Figure skating rules referenced do apply.

A. The original dance is the skating by a couple of a dance of their own creation to dance music they have selected for the designated rhythm(s).

B. The original dance must reflect the character of the prescribed rhythm(s) and be translated to the ice by demonstrating technical skill in steps and movements along with flow and the use of edges.

C. Vocal music using lyrics is permitted. The incorrect selection of music for the rhythms/dances chosen must be penalized by the judges.

D. Only music with a rhythmic beat may be used, and the couple must skate primarily to the rhythmic beat. The musical introduction to the original dance may be without beat or melody for a maximum of ten seconds.

E. Variations of tempo within one selection of music are permitted. Each selection may have a different tempo.

F. The couples should list the rhythms/dances of the music chosen when registering their music for the information of the referee and judges of the event.

G. The time of the original dance program must be reckoned from the moment when one of the couple begins to move or to skate until both partners arrive at a complete stop at the end of the program.

H. Except during required step sequences, the pattern of the dance must proceed in a generally constant direction (either clockwise or counterclockwise) and must not cross the long axis of the ice surface except once at each end of the rink (not more than 20 meters from the barrier).

I. Loops in either direction are permitted provided they do not cross the center (long) axis.

J. All steps, turns, rotations and changes of hold are permitted provided that they are appropriate to the rhythm. Difficult, original, varied and intricate footwork is required for both skaters. For the Linking Footwork/Movements component, a program that relies heavily on the use of chasses and progressives (runs), posing and one-directional
skating is considered to be less difficult than one containing changes of edge, rockers, choctaws and other such steps and turns and multidirectional skating.

K. Hops and jumps of not more than one full rotation are permitted. These jumps with up to one rotation may not be performed simultaneously and are not permitted at all in either step sequence.

L. Excessive skating on two feet, by either partner or both, is considered as showing the inability to skate or maintain balance. However, one highlight for which one or both partner(s) are on two feet may be included (maximum duration: five seconds).

M. Kneeling or sliding on two knees is not permitted. This will be considered a fall and the appropriate deduction will be applied.

N. Touching the ice with hand(s) is not permitted.

O. A program which is choreographed so that its performance extends to all sides of the arena is preferable to one directed to only the judges’ side.

P. The program must be developed through skating quality rather than through non-skating actions such as sliding on one knee, or use of toe steps which should be used only to reflect the character of the dance and underlining rhythm and nuances of the chosen music.

Q. Partners must not separate except to change dance hold, to perform the not-touching step sequence or the permitted full stop. Separations at the beginning and/or end of the program may be up to 10 seconds in duration without restrictions on distance of the separations.

R. There are no restrictions on dance holds. Skating in hand-in-hand hold with fully extended arms is permitted only if in character of the rhythm chosen but must not be used excessively.

S. After the clock is started with the first movement, the couple must not remain in one place (even if doing brief extra stops which are permitted) for longer than 10 seconds. During the program one full stop (maximum duration: up to 10 seconds) or two full stops (maximum duration up to five seconds each) are permitted. Any choreography appropriate to the music selection (including a separation of not more than two arms length apart) may be included.

T. If appropriate for the chosen music the lady and the man are permitted to wear trousers and sleeves of any length. Rule 3556 should apply. Decorations on costumes must be nondetachable. If a decoration or a part of the costume or hair decoration such as flowers, headbands, ribbons, etc., which are also part of the costume, falls on the ice during the performance, the costume deduction of 1.0 is required by the referee. Small props that are part of the costume and are characteristic for the chosen music are allowed (hats, head bands, ribbon). Props may not be thrown in any part of the program and/or passed from one skater to the other in any part of the program. The following types of props are not a part of the costume and are not permitted: cane (walking stick), umbrella, bouquet, etc. If used, the costume deduction will be applied.

4262 Illegal Elements/Movements
The following elements and movements are not permitted unless otherwise stated in
an ISU communication:
A. Movements and/or poses in the lifts:
• Lifting hand(s) of the lifting partner higher than his head*

*It is NOT considered as an illegal lift if:

• The point of contact of the lifting hand/arm of the lifting partner
with any part of the body of the lifted partner is not sustained
higher than the lifting partner’s head;

• The lifting hand/arm which is used for support or balancing only or
which touches any part of the body of the lifted partner is not sustained by the lifting partner higher than his head for more than
two seconds.

• Lying or sitting on the partner’s head

• Sitting or standing on partner’s shoulder, back

• Lifting partner swinging the lifted partner around by holding the
skate(s), boot(s) or leg(s) only and/or by holding the hand(s) with
full arm extension by both partners

• Lifted partner in an upside down split pose (with angle between
thighs more than 45 degrees)**

**A brief movement through an upside-down split pose (with any angle between thighs) will be permitted if it is not established (sustained) or if it is used only to change pose.

B. Jumps of more than one revolution or jumps of one revolution skated at
the same time by both partners.

C. Lying on the ice.

D. Kneeling on two knees


4270 Free Dance Rules
4271 General Requirements:
If the general requirements do not conform to ISU regulations and as revised by ISU
Communication, the ISU prevails. U.S. Figure Skating rules referenced do apply.
A. A free dance is the skating by the couple of a creative program with dance steps and movements expressing the character of the music chosen by the couple.

B. The free dance must contain combinations of new or known dance steps and movements including required elements and steps sequences composed into a program displaying good skating technique and the personal ideas of the couple in concept, arrangement, and expression.

C. The choreography, including required elements, of a free dance should clearly reflect the character, accents and nuances of the chosen music, demonstrate changes of pace, variation in speed and tempo, and utilize the whole ice surface.

D. The free dance must not have the concept of a pairs free skate program or an exhibition dance.

E. The choreography of a free dance must not have the concept of a pairs free skate as defined in 4030.

F. A free dance that is choreographed so that its performance extends to all sides of the arena is preferable to one directed to only side.

G. A free dance must be developed through skating quality rather than through nonskating actions such as sliding on one knee or use of toe steps which should be used only to reflect the character of the dance and underlining the rhythm and nuances of the chosen music.

H. Music for free dance may be vocal and must have an audible rhythmic beat and melody, or audible rhythmic beat alone, but not melody alone. A program that displays a change in tempo and a well-balanced use of melody, rhythmic beat and musical accents and not melody alone is considered to be of a higher quality because it shows a greater variety of dancing skills and reflects the concept of ice dancing as a competitive sport.

I. The couples should skate primarily in time to the rhythmic beat and not to the melody alone. Skating out of time or out of phase with the music must be penalized.

J. The time of the free dance program must be reckoned from the moment when one of the couple begins to move or skate until arriving at a complete stop at the end of the program.

K. All steps and turns are permitted. Deep edges and intricate footwork displaying skating skill, difficulty, variety and originality must be included and performed by both partners. A program that relies heavily on the use of cross cuts, simple stroking and running, one-directional skating, excessive stopping and posing is considered to have insufficient required difficulty, intricacy and variety of linking dance footwork (e.g.
threes, mohawks, choctaws, rockers, counters, brackets, twizzles, etc.)

L. All changes of hold are permitted. Many and varied dance holds increase the difficulty of the program and therefore should be included. Skating face to face is considered to be more difficult than skating side by side, hand in hand, separately or one following the other.

M. The number of separations to execute intricate footwork is unlimited. The distance between the partners should not exceed two arm lengths. The duration of each separation must not exceed five seconds. The separations at the beginning and/or the end of the free dance may be up to 10 seconds in duration without restriction on the distance of separation.

N. Full stops, with a maximum duration of five seconds, in which the couple remains stationary on the ice while performing body movements, twisting, posing and the like are permitted.

O. Free skate elements and movements are permitted provided they are appropriate to the character of the music and to the concept of a wellbalanced free dance program.

P. Lifts, jumps, dance jumps, hops, dance spins, pirouettes and other dance movements must be in accordance with the definitions in the Dance Glossary defining dance terms.

Q. Pairs skating elements, excluding spirals, spins and step sequences, are not permitted.

R. Touching the ice with hand(s) is/are not permitted.

S. Kneeling or sliding on two knees is not permitted. This will be considered a fall and the appropriate deduction will be applied.

4272 Illegal Elements/Movements
The following elements/movements are not permitted unless otherwise stated in an ISU communication:
A. Movements and/or poses in the lifts:
• Lifting hand(s) of the lifting partner higher than his head*
• Lying or sitting on the partner’s head
• Sitting or standing on partner’s shoulder, back
• Lifting partner swinging the lifted partner around by holding the skate(s), boot(s)
   or leg(s) only and/or by holding the hand(s) with full arm extension by both
   partners
• Lifted partner in an upside down split pose (with angle between thighs more
  than 45 degrees)**

B. Jumps of more than one revolution or jumps of one revolution skated at the same time by both partners;

C. Kneeling on two knees on the ice;

D. Lying on the ice.


*It is NOT considered as an illegal lift if:
• The point of contact of the lifting hand/arm of the lifting partner with any part of the body of the lifted partner is not sustained higher than the lifting partner’s head;
• The lifting hand/arm which is used for support or balancing only or
which touches any part of the body of the lifted partner is not sustained by the lifting partner higher than his head for more than two seconds.

**A brief movement through an upside-down split pose (with any angle between
thighs) will be permitted if it is not established (sustained) or if it is used only to
change pose.

References:

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

  
   
Ice Dancing General Rules and Regulations
          Dance Steps & Turns
          Ice Dance Patterns
PDF 
Dance Curriculum
          Ice Dance Partnered Events
          Free Dancing
          Competitive Ice Dancing
PDF Strategies for Compulsory Dance Tests
         Free Dance Test Considerations
         Short Dance & Free Dance Events
         Pattern Dance Events   
         Solo Dance Events 
PDF Solo Dance Events
         Solo Dance Competitions

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