Dancing on Ice
Ice Dancing has its roots in Ballroom Dancing.
Ice dancing is a discipline of
figure skating that combines the athleticism of figure
skating with the beauty and artistry of ballroom dancing.
Most of the USFSA
are derived from traditional ballroom dances (for example the waltz,
foxtrot, etc.) "Latin" type dances. Ice dance is a different event from
pair skating with restrictions on lifts, jumps, and spins.
Ice dancing tests and
non-qualifiying competitions are held for solo dancers. Competitive
require a partner. A team (couple) consists of a lady and man. Skaters
allowed to test with a coach as a partner. Solo
tests are separate from regular compulsory tests, however (except for
Silver and above, where a skater is required to perform the standard
test both as a couple and a solo in order to
pass a test).
In lower levels of qualifying
competitions, the events consists of compulsory dances, an original
dance, and, for some levels, a free dance. For our elite junior and
senior international dancers, the events consist of a "short dance" and
a free dance.
Compulsory dances are set
pattern ballroom type dances prescribed by
the USFSA. The music is kept to a regular, precise number of beats per
minute, and the skater(s) are expected to skate to the music in strict
time. Judging is based on accuracy of steps, placement of the pattern,
the style and carriage of the skater(s), and, for couples, the unison.
They are also judged on their timing in performing the steps to the
music and their
body and facial expressions to communicate the character/mood of the
The original dance is also a
ballroom type dance, except it is the
coach of the skaters who makes up the dance pattern. The key word here
is pattern. Each year at the beginning of the season, the USFSA selects
a style of music (i.e. Waltz, Jive, Tango, etc.) to be used by all
competing; generally the style chosen differs from level to level. It
is up to the dance team to choose music that conforms to the rules
specified for that season, and to make up the dance for competition.
The couple is then judged on everything they were judged on in the
compulsory dance, minus the accuracy of the steps (since the judges
cannot possibly know every single team's program).
The free dance allows the
couple to choose the music and choreograph a program in compliance to
the rules and restrictions which keep ice dance from turning into
pair skating. Free dancing is a very athletic form of ballroom dance,
combined with jumps, lifts, and spins, with the free flowing movements
of free skating.
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