San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Dance Term Glossary
NOTE: Not withstanding references to gender within these dance terms, a candidate’s same gender coach may take the candidate through compulsory dance tests.
DG 1.00 Axes
DG 1.01 Long Axis/Longitudinal Axis: A straight line that divides the ice surface into two halves lengthwise (midline).
DG 1.02 Continuous Axis: An imaginary line running around the ice surface that serves as the basis for the dance pattern. Usually the continuous axis consists of two lines running parallel to the long axis of the ice surface, approximately halfway between long axis and the sides. These lines are joined at each end of the ice surface by a semi-circle. These semi-circles are flattened in some dances so that they run parallel to the ends of the ice surface. In circular dances, such as the Kilian, the continuous axis approximates a circle. The continuous axis of the Paso Doble is an oval.
DG 1.03 Transverse Axis: An imaginary line intersecting the continuous axis of a dance at right angles.
DG 1.04 Short Axis: A straight line that divides the ice surface into two halves crosswise.
DG 2.00 Lobe
DG 2.01 Lobe: Any sequence of steps on one side of the continuous axis that is approximately semi-circular in shape.
DG 3.00 Pattern
DG 3.01 The pattern of a dance is the design of the dance on the ice.
DG 3.02 Set Pattern Dance: A dance for which the location, direction and curvature of all edges to be skated are designated in the diagram. This diagram must be followed as closely as possible.
DG 3.03 Optional Pattern Dance: A dance for which the pattern may be altered by a couple provided that the original step sequences, positions and timing are maintained. Each repetition of the altered pattern must be executed in the same manner and the restart must be commenced from the same place.
DG 3.04 Rim/Edge/Border Dance: A dance with a step sequence that requires a shorter or longer distance than is available in one circuit of the rink. The second sequence, therefore, will not begin at the original starting point of the dance.
DG 4.00 Dance Positions
DG 4.01 Hand-in-Hand Position:
A. Facing in the same direction: The partners face in the same direction and are skating side by side or one behind the other with their arms extended and their hands clasped. Use of this position in original dance and/or free dance is not encouraged. A variation of this is the arm-in-arm side-by-side position, which is acceptable.
B. Facing in the opposite direction: The partners usually face each other while one skates backward and the other skates forward with the arms extended to the side, but sometimes the position can be skated back to back (e.g., Cha Cha Congelado). Use of this position in the original dance and/or free dance with arms fully extended toward each other is usually not permitted.
DG 4.02 Closed (or Waltz): The partners are directly opposite each other. One partner faces forward while the other partner faces backward. The man’s right hand is placed firmly on his partner’s back at her shoulder blade with the elbow raised and the arm bent sufficiently to hold the lady close to him. The left hand of the lady is placed at/on the shoulder of the man so that her arm rests comfortably, elbow to elbow, on his upper arm. The left arm of the man and the right arm of the lady are extended comfortably at shoulder height. Their shoulders remain parallel.
DG 4.03 Open or Foxtrot Position: The hand and arm positions are similar to those of the closed or waltz position. The partners simply turn slightly away from each other so that they both face in the same direction.
A. Crossed Foxtrot Position: The partners are in the same position as above except that the man’s right arm passes behind the lady with his right hand on her right hip, and the lady’s left arm passes behind the man with her left hand on his left hip.
DG 4.04 Outside (or Tango) (O.S.): The partners face in opposite directions, one partner skating forward, the other partner skating backward. However, unlike the closed hold, the partners are offset with the man to the right or left of the lady so that the front of his hip is in line with the front of her corresponding hip. Tight hip-to-hip position is undesirable since it impedes flow.
DG 4.05 Partial Outside (Part O.S.): Similar to outside position except that the bodies of both partners are rotated toward each other so that the hips are not perpendicular to, but are at an angle to the tracing and the partner skating backward is slightly ahead of the partner skating forward.
DG 4.06 Reversed Outside (or Reversed Tango) (Rev. O.S.): Partners skate hip to hip perpendicular to the tracing in opposite directions (as in normal outside position) with the man to the left of the lady.
DG 4.07 Alternating Outside (Alt. O.S.): Partners alternate from outside position to reversed outside, or vice versa, during the same step.
DG 4.08 Kilian: Partners face in the same direction, lady at right of man, man’s right shoulder behind lady’s left. Lady’s left arm is extended in front across man’s body to his left hand, while his right arm is behind her back, both right hands clasped and resting at her waist over her hip bone.
DG 4.09 Reversed Kilian (Rev. Kilian): Basic position same as Kilian position except that the lady is at the man’s left.
DG 4.10 Open Kilian: Basic position as in Kilian position. The man’s left hand holds the lady’s left hand with his right hand resting over the lady’s left hip or behind her back. The lady’s right arm is extended. This hold may also be reversed.
DG 4.11 Crossed Kilian: Basic position as in Kilian position. Lady’s left arm is extended in front across man’s body to his left hand, while his right arm is extended in front across her body, both right hands clasped and resting over her right hip bone. This crossed position may also be skated in reverse.
DG 4.12 High Kilian Hold: A Kilian hold in which one part of the joined hands are elevated to slightly above shoulder height with the elbows slightly bent.
DG 4.13 Leading Hand: The leading hand of the man is the right hand except in the case of “reversed” position when it is the left hand.
DG 4.14 Promenade: A type of progressive skated in open hold by a couple on the same or opposite feet, derived from a similar forward walking movement in some ballroom dances.
DG 5.00 Steps
DG 5.01 Step: The visible tracing on the ice that is executed on one foot. It may consist of an edge, change of edge, a turn such as a three or counter, or a flat (which usually is not acceptable).
A. Edge: The visible tracing on the ice produced by a skater skating on one foot that is on a
B. Change of edge: The visible tracing on the ice that changes from one distinct curve to
another distinct curve with no change of foot;
C. Flat: The visible double tracing on the ice that is straight (imprinted by the skater
skating on one foot on both edges of the blade).
DG 5.02 Introductory Steps: All compulsory dances may be started with optional introductory steps. They must not exceed the introductory phrasing.
DG 5.03 Start: The first step of the dance pattern after the introductory steps.
DG 5.04 Step Sequence: The prescribed order of the steps that compose one pattern of a compulsory dance or any portion thereof, or a series of prescribed or unprescribed steps, turns and movements in original dance and free dance.
The following are different types of step sequences for original dances and free dances:
1. Circular — utilizing the full width of the ice surface on the short axis of the rink. The
location and direction for the required circular sequences may be further specified
2. Diagonal — extending fully corner to corner, as much as is practicable.
3. Midline — extending along the full length of the long axis of the ice surface. The precise
location for required midline sequences (e.g., center axis) may be further specified
4. Serpentine — commences in either direction at the center (long) axis at one end of the
rink and progresses in three bold curves or in two bold curves (S-shaped) and ends at
the center (long) axis of the opposite end of the rink; pattern utilizing the full width of the
5. Midline not touching — skated along the full length of the center (long) axis of the ice
surface. This step sequence must incorporate mirror and/or matching footwork. Both
partners may cross each other's tracing(s) and may switch from matching footwork to
mirror and vice versa. The partners should remain as close together as possible, but they
must not touch. The distance between the skaters should generally not be more than two
arms length apart, except for short distances when the skaters are performing required
edges and turns in opposite directions.
In hold and not touching step sequences: For novice and lower competition free dances, step sequences must be skated in hold. For junior and senior competition original and free dance programs, the choice will be made by the International Skating Union and will be specified each competitive season. For test programs, the choice is made by the skaters. The not touching sequences must be a designated option on the test requirements listed for the test unless as otherwise specified by U.S. Figure Skating Technical Notification or rule.
DG 5.05 Cross Step Forward (XF): A step in which the free foot is placed on the ice along the outer edge side of the skating foot with the calf of the free leg crossed in front of the shin of the skating leg. No impetus is gained from this stroke.
DG 5.06 Cross Step Behind (XB): A step in which the free foot is placed on the ice along the outer edge side of the skating foot with the shin of the free leg crossed behind the calf of the skating leg. No impetus is gained from this stroke.
DG 5.07 Open Stroke (opS): A step started beside the skating foot and not crossed forward or behind.
DG 5.08 Cross Stroke (XS): A forward or backward step started with the skating foot crossing in front or behind, respectively, the previous skating foot so that the legs cross above the knee and with impetus being gained from the outer edge of the foot which is becoming the free foot.
DG 5.09 Simple Chassé (Ch): A series of two edges (usually outside, inside) in which, on the second edge, the free foot is placed on the ice beside the skating foot, but not ahead of it, and the free foot is lifted with the blade parallel to the ice.
DG 5.10 Crossed Chassé (XCh): The same as the simple chassé, except that on the second step, the free foot crosses the skating foot (crossing behind if the skater is skating forward, and crossing in front if the skater is skating backward).
DG 5.11 Slide Chassé (slCh): The same as the simple chassé, except that on the second step, the free foot slides off the ice in front of the skating foot when the skater is skating forward and to the back if the skater is skating backward. (e.g. Man’s Step 32 Starlight Waltz)
DG 5.12 Progressive or Run (Pr or Run): A step or sequence of steps on the same lobe and in the same direction, in which the free foot, during the period of becoming the skating foot, strikes the ice beside and travels past the skating foot, thus bringing the new free foot off the ice trailing the new skating foot, and in such a manner that some impetus is gained from the edge of the foot which is becoming the free foot.
DG 5.13 Roll (R): A short or long forward or backward edge.
DG 5.14 Cross Roll (CR): A roll started with the action of the free foot approaching the skating foot from the side, so as to strike the ice almost at right angles to the skating foot, started forward with the feet crossed in front or backward with the feet crossed behind. The impetus is gained from the outside edge of the skating foot as it becomes the new foot. In this case, the change to
the curve in the opposite direction creates a “rolling movement”.
DG 5.15 Swing Roll (SR): A roll held for several beats of music during which, when skating backward, the free leg lifts and then first swings forward, then backward past the skating foot, then back beside to skate the next step. When skating forward, the free leg first swings backward, then forward, and then back besides to skate the next step. The swing of the leg gives the sense of a rolling movement.
DG 5.16 Swing (sw): An edge held for several beats of music during which the free foot moves past the skating foot before it is placed on the ice beside the skating foot. Unlike the swing roll, the edge is skated on the same lobe as the previous edge.
DG 5.17 Scissors (Siz): A step skated in a straight line with the blades of both skates held flat on the ice, the weight placed on the skating leg having a wellbent knee, and the free foot slid forward on the ice to full extension.
DG 5.18 Wide Step (*): A wide step between two edges.
DG 5.19 Slip Step: A step skated in a straight line with the blades of both skates being held flat on the ice. The weight is over the skating leg, which may be well bent or straight, while the free foot slides forward on the ice to full extension.
DG 5.20 Toe Step: A step where the skater steps from one toe to the other without jumping.
DG 6.00 Turns
DG 6.01 Mohawk (Mo): A turn from one foot to the other in which the entry and exit curves are continuous and of equal depth. The change of foot is from an outside edge to an outside edge or from an inside edge to an inside edge.
DG 6.02 Open Mohawk (opMo): A mohawk in which the heel of the free foot is placed on the ice at the inner side of the skating foot, the angle between the two feet being optional. Following the weight transfer, the immediate position of the new free foot is behind the heel of the new skating foot (e.g. the man’s steps 8 and 9 and the lady’s steps 12 and 13 in the Fourteenstep).
DG 6.03 Closed Mohawk (clMo): A mohawk in which the instep of the free foot is held at the heel of the skating foot until the free foot is placed on the ice behind the heel of the skating foot. Following the weight transfer, the immediate position of the new free foot is in front of the new skating foot (e.g. steps 11 and 12 of the Rocker Foxtrot).
DG 6.04 Swing Mohawk (swMo): An open or closed mohawk in which the free leg swings forward closely past the skating leg, and then back to the skating foot to execute the turn (e.g. steps 20 and 21 of the Tango).
DG 6.05 Choctaw (Cho): A turn from one foot to the other in which the curve of the exit edge is opposite to that of the entry edge. The change of foot is from outside edge to inside edge or inside edge to outside edge. Unless otherwise specified in the dance description, the free foot is placed on the ice close to the skating foot. The entry and exit edge are of equal depth.
DG 6.06 Open Choctaw (opCho): A choctaw in which the free foot is placed on the ice on the inner side of the skating foot. Following the weight transfer the immediate position of the new free foot is behind the heel of the new skating foot.
DG 6.07 Crossed Open Choctaw (XopCho): A choctaw in which the outside of the free foot is held in front of and at right angles to the skating foot. The hip is open after the turn. It may be wide-stepped (e.g. steps 11 and 12 of the Rhumba).
DG 6.08 Closed Choctaw (clCho): A choctaw in which the instep of the free foot is held at the heel of the skating foot until the free foot is placed on the ice behind the heel of the skating foot. Following the weight transfer the immediate position of the new free foot is in front of the new skating foot (e.g. steps 12 and 13. of the Blues).
DG 6.09 Swing Choctaw (swCho): An open or closed choctaw in which the free leg swings forward closely past the skating leg and then back to the skating foot to execute the turn (e.g. steps 5 and 6 [first part] of the Quickstep).
DG 6.10 Cusp: The V-shaped portion of the tracing which occurs at the midpoint of a turn skated on one foot.
DG 6.11 Three: A turn executed on one foot from an outside edge to an inside edge or an inside edge to an outside edge, with the exit curve continuing on the same lobe as the entry curve. The skater turns in the direction of the curve.
DG 6.12 American Waltz Type Three: A three-turn from an outside edge in which the free leg is extended and the toe and hip are well turned out and held over the tracing. The instep of the free foot is drawn close to the heel of the skating foot as the turn is made. After the turn onto an inside edge, the free foot is extended back of the tracing before being brought back beside the skating foot in time for the next step.
DG 6.13 European Waltz Type Three: A three-turn which begins as in DG 6.12. After the turn, the back inside edge is held for one beat before the weight is transferred to the free foot as it becomes the skating foot.
DG 6.14 Ravensburger Waltz Type Three: An inside three-turn which begins as in DG 6.12 with the free leg extended over the tracing and left behind during the turn, and swings through after its completion in front of the tracing, before being brought back beside the skating foot in time for the next step.
DG 6.15 Touchdown Three: A three-turn in which the weight is almost immediately transferred to the free foot as it becomes the skating foot for the next step. The turn is made from a forward outside three to the backward outside edge of the opposite foot without full weight transfer, then the skater immediately steps forward onto the original foot. Such a sequence may be skated with forward or backward, inside or outside three-turns. May be skated alone or as a couple side by side.
DG 6.16 Walk-around Threes: Threes turned by a couple at the same time around a common axis. The partners skate these turns in Waltz hold or offset in partial Tango hold.
DG 6.17 Bracket (Br). A turn made on one foot from forward to backward (or backward to forward) from one edge of one character to an edge of another character, i.e., outside to inside or inside to outside, where the body rotation is counter to the natural direction of progress causing the cusp to print outward from the center of the lobe curvature. The edge before and after the turn is on the same lobe.
DG 6.18 Rocker (Rk/Roc): A turn made on one foot from a forward to backward (or backward to forward) edge maintaining the same character, i.e., inside to inside or outside to outside, where the body rotation is in the same direction as the natural progress causing the cusp to point toward the center of curvature of the first lobe. The edge before and after the turn is on different lobes having opposite directional curvature.
DG 6.19 Counter (Ctr): A turn made on one foot from a forward to backward (or backward to forward) edge maintaining the same character, i.e., inside to inside or outside to outside, where the body rotation is counter to the natural direction of progress causing the cusp to point outward from the center of curvature of the first lobe. The edge before and after the turn is on different lobes having opposite directional curvature.
DG 6.20 Swing Rocker and Swing Counter (swRk/Roc/swCtr): A rocker or counter in which the free leg is swung past the skating foot before the turn is executed, and after the turn, is either swung forward past the skating foot and held over the tracing or is held behind the skating foot in line with the tracing.
DG 6.21 Twizzle (Twz): A traveling turn on one foot with one or more rotations, which is quickly rotated with a continuous (uninterrupted) action. The weight remains on the skating foot with the free foot in any position during the turn, and then placed beside the skating foot to skate the next step. A series of checked three-turns is not acceptable, as this does not constitute a continuous action. If the traveling action stops during the execution, the twizzle becomes a solo spin (pirouette).
The four different types of entry edges for twizzles are as follows:
• Forward Inside (FI);
• Forward Outside (FO);
• Backward Inside (BO);
• Backward Outside (BI).
i. Series of Synchronized Twizzles: At least two twizzles for each partner with up to
three small steps between twizzles;
ii. Series of Sequential Twizzles: At least two twizzles for each partner with up to one
step between twizzles.
iii. For both i and ii: Each twizzle shall be at least one full rotation on one foot
performed simultaneously (at the same time) by both partners.
A. Side by side in the same direction (matching)
B. Side by side in opposite directions (mirror)
C. Following one another (one skating forward and/or backward and the other
skating forward and/or backward)
DG 6.22 Synchronized twizzle(s): Twizzles performed simultaneously by both partners. Partners must skate the same number of rotations for each twizzle. They may be: side-by-side in the same direction (matching); side-by-side in opposite direction (mirror); following on another (one skating forward and/or backward and the other skating forward and/or backward).
DG 6.23 A twizzle-like motion: while the body performs one full continuous rotation the skating foot technically executes less than a full turn followed by a step forward.
DG 6.24 Solo Spin/Pirouette: A spinning movement performed on one foot on the spot by one partner alone (without the assistance of the other partner) or by both partners simultaneously (around separate centers).
DG 7.00 Spins, Lifts, Jumps and Movements
DG 7.01 Dance Spin
A. Spin: A spin skated by the couple together in any hold. It should be performed on the
spot around a common axis on one foot by each partner simultaneously.
B. Combination Spin: A spin performed as above after which both partners make one
change of foot simultaneously and further rotations occur.
C. Types of basic positions in dance spins:
• Upright position: performed on one foot with skating leg straight or slightly bent
and upper body upright (on a nearly vertical axis), arched back or bent to the side.
• Sit position: performed on one foot with skating leg bent in a one-legged crouch
position and free leg forward, to the side or back.
• Camel position: performed on one foot with skating leg straight or slightly bent and
body bent forward and free leg extended or bent upward on a horizontal line or
DG 7.02 Dance Lift: An action in which one partner is elevated to any height sustained there and set down on the ice. Any rotations and positions and changes of such positions during the lift are permitted, but the lifting partner must not raise the lifting hand(s) higher than the head. Lifts should enhance the music chosen and express its character and should be performed in an elegant manner without obvious feats of strength and awkward and/or undignified actions and poses.
Types of dance lifts are classified as follows:
Short lifts - the duration of the lift should not exceed six seconds:
A. Stationary lift: A lift that is executed on the spot (stationary location) by the liftingLong lifts - the duration of the lift should not exceed 12 seconds:
partner who may or may not be rotating.
B. Straight-line lift: A lift in which the lifting partner travels in a straight line in any
position on one foot or two feet.
C. Curve lift: A lift in which the lifting partner travels on one curve (lobe) in any position
on one foot or two feet.
D. Rotational lift: A lift in which the lifting partner rotates in on (clockwise or
counterclockwise) direction while traveling across the ice.
E. Reverse rotational lift: A lift in which the lifting partner rotates in one direction and then
in another direction while traveling across the ice.
F. Serpentine lift: A lift in which the lifting partner travels on two different curves of
approximately similar curvature and duration. The change of direction may incorporate
a turn of not more than one-half rotation. The pattern must be serpentine shaped (“S“).
After completion of the two curves, the couple may skate additional curves or rotate (less
than one rotation), but this will not be counted.
G. Combination lift: A lift combining two of the above types of lifts — A, B, C,
The following movements and/or poses during the lift are not allowed and will be
A. Lifting hand(s) of the lifting partner higher than his head*** 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. Lying or sitting on the partner’s head
C. Sitting or standing on partner’s shoulder, back
D. Lifted partner in an upside-down split pose (with angle between thighs more than 45
E. Lifting partner swinging the lifted partner around by holding the skate(s), boot(s) or
leg(s) only with fully extended arms or by holding the hand(s) with full arm extension by
F. *It is not considered an illegal lift if:
a. 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;
b. 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.
DG 7.03 Jumps and Dance Jumps:
A. Jump: A jump of not more than one revolution, which may be executed by only one
partner at a time. This jump may be performed by either holding hand(s) or separated,
but the distance between partners must not be more than two arm lengths apart.
B. Dance Jump: A small jump of not more than 1/2 revolution used to change foot or
direction. Such jumps must be executed in dance hold or at not more than two arm
lengths apart. Both partners may jump at the same time.
C. Hops: A small jump without revolution.
DG 7.04 Types of Movements
A. Crouch: a two foot movement in which a skater travels along the ice with both legs bent
at an angle (with at least 90 degrees between the thigh and shin of the skating legs);
B. Ina Bauer: a two-footed movement in which the skater travels along the ice with one foot
on a forwards edge/tracing and the other on a matching backward edge on a different
but parallel edge/tracing;
C. Lunge: a movement in which a skater travels along the ice with one leg bent (with at
least 90 degrees between the thigh and shin of the skating leg) and the other leg directed
behind with the boot/blade touching the ice;
D. Pivot: a two-footed movement in which the toe picks of one foot are inserted into the ice
by a skater as a central pivoting point while the other foot travels in a circular pattern
around the pivot point;
E. Shoot the Duck: a one foot movement in which a skater travels along the ice with one leg
in a strongly bent position and the other leg directed forward parallel to the ice;
F: Spread Eagle: a curving two-footed movement in which the skater skates with one foot
on a forward edge and the other on a matching backward edge on the same curve (i.e.
outside and inside).
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