Programs Designed to
Retain Figure Skaters
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Solo Dance Competitions
Background of Ice Dancing
Ice dancing combines the athleticism of ice skating with the beauty and artistry of ballroom dancing. The set pattern dances are derived from traditional ballroom dance tempos (waltz, tango, foxtrot, etc.).
Ballroom and ice dance are at their best when performed with a partner. However, because there are far fewer male ice dancers, club and open competitions have for decades offered dance events for individual solo dancing to expand the competitive opportunities for skaters without partners. It should not be a surprise that many female ice dancers take advantage of solo dancing until a partner becomes available.
Skaters taking the standard dance test must eventually perform the dances with a partner and also solo the dances starting at the silver dance test. A rule once required that the test candidate solo at levels below the Silver dance test, if they were being partnered by skater who had completed one full test level above the level being partnered.
Partner and Solo Dance Sessions
In the 1960's, most organized dance sessions had a policy of couples having preference in the starting line. Whenever possible the lines are established at each end or side of the rink, depending on where the dance pattern began. Fancy competitive starts were not allow as this took too much time and held up the line.
Popular dances often required multiple flights to accommodate those individuals interested in skating the dance. Frequently there would be a couple and solo flight.
Many dance sessions had a specific night for lower test level dancers and one in which all of the dances were played. Consideration was given to plan a session that did not have anyone sitting out more than two dances in a row because the dances were too difficult for them to perform.
Less experienced dancers frequently performed the dances solo until they felt they had the skills to perform specific dances with a partner, especially if potential partners lacked sufficient skills to properly lead the lady through the difficult sections.
Dance Weekends and Dance Cards
Some dance sessions had strict dress restrictions such as men wearing a tie, dress coat, and worn gloves. The dancer carried a card with all of the dances listed. They would organize the entire night of partner's on their cards.
Social Ice Dance weekends were popular. A host club would organize ice dance sessions, a banquet with ballroom dance, and activities for non-skating spouses starting on a Friday night and continuing through Sunday afternoon. Sometime live music was used for one of the ice dance sessions.
Solo Dance Track of Testing
The USFS has established a separate solo dance test track, over two decades ago, so skaters can pursue developing their dance skills without the expense of testing with a coach or a "rented" partner to prop the standard partnered ice dance tests.
Back when clubs held closed competitions only for their members, various dance events were offered such as:
As the concept of open competitions was developed, one of the prime reasons to offer solo dance events was to attract the interest of potential partners. Skating in solo dance events became popular as it frequently led to partner tryouts. Male dancers are very popular at the summer dance competition at Lake Placid, NY which attract a multitude of eager young ladies, and their parents seeking partner to skate competitively.
Eventually coaches get involved in the process that leads to partnerships. This is especially true when one skater must relocate to another city if the partnership has any hope of becoming a competitive team.
National Solo Dance Championship
It is difficult for every skater interested in ice dancing to find a suitable partner, the National Solo Dance Championships provide an opportunity for solo ice dancers to demonstrate the grace and physical skills of solo dancing. It provides an incentive for individual to work hard at their solo skating skills and perhaps two individuals may be able to merge their talents as a dance team.
The National Solo Dance Championship started as a pilot program with the first competition held in Colorado Springs, Colorado in September of 2009.
In January 2011, the Solo Dance Competition Series was launched. This program serves as a membership and development tool for ice dancing, and is open to individual skaters within the Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast sections.
The series is an expansion of the National Solo Dance Championships and will provide an avenue for ice dancers at the Standard Levels to compete at and qualify for the National Solo Dance Championships.
The goal of the National Solo Dance Championship program is to create a fun, competitive program for solo dancers all across the country that will expand their competitive opportunities and provide an opportunity to qualify for a national event. Eventually hosting clubs will bid to host the competition that it rotates to a different section, on a regular basis, to keep travel costs down and stimulate entries of solo and couple ice dancing events at local competitions.
2013 Participant Registration: 2013 Solo Dance Series skaters / participant registration process will begin November 20, 2012 and run through March 8, 2013. The deadline to register as a 2013 Solo Dance Series participant is midnight (MT) on March 8, 2013.
In order to earn points within the 2013 Series, skaters must be registered with U.S. Figure Skating as a participant prior to competing in a Solo Dance Series Competition you plan to earn placement points from. Click here for the link for skaters to register for participation in the Series.
2013 Solo Dance Series
2013 Solo Dance Series Dates: The 2013 Solo Dance Series season will run from January 1, 2013 - August 18, 2013. Registered Solo Dance Series skaters can compete at participating non qualifying competitions during the season time frame to accumulate points based upon placement at each event. Those skaters finishing highest in their respective sections will qualify for advancement to the National Solo Dance Championships.
2013 Solo Dance Series Events:
There are a significant number of changes to the 2013 Solo Dance Series events including test level requirements, free dance program length and event requirements.
Please refer to the 2013 Solo Dance Series Handbook for complete information regarding the Series and the rules that will be in effect during the 2013 Solo Dance Series at all participating competitions.
Non qualifying Competitions Participating in the 2013 Solo Dance Series
2013 Solo Dance Series Participants
Dances for the 2013 Solo Dance Series
solo pattern dance event and combined event dance events are being
offered as part of the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Solo Dance Series and
will be conducted in accordance with the
Dance Series Handbook. Please refer to the 2013 Solo Dance Series
handbook for the current Series rules, levels and event requirements
that will be in effect for this competition.
Solo Pattern Dance Events
The solo pattern dance event is comprised of two dances at each level. This event is being offered at the Preliminary, Pre-Bronze, Bronze, Pre-Silver, Silver, Pre-Gold and Gold levels.
Refer to the 2013 Solo
Dance Series Handbook for
the solo pattern dance
The combined dance event is comprised of the following:
1. Two solo pattern dances selected by U.S. Figure Skating and listed below -
2. A solo free dance
The pattern dances competed in the combined
dance event are separate from
Effective February 7, 2013 the
music duration for the junior and
senior free dance
Junior Free Dance: Duration 2:30
NOTE: Skaters will be permitted to use their free dance music length that they may
have had edited to match the previous music length stipulation listed for junior or
senior solo free dance, provided that this free dance music length does not exceed
the new time maximums stated above for junior and senior solo free dance.
Short Dance Event
The short dance will be a trial event this season and will be optional. It is offered only for the junior and senior levels and will not count towards the skaters' point accumulations. For specific rules, test levels, requirements and details pertaining to the solo short dance event, refer to the 2013 Solo Dance Series Handbook.
Judges evaluate partnered and solo dances using the same criteria:
Obviously in a partnered standard dance
or competition, judges can observe the interaction between a lady and a
as they attempt to work together in a unified (unison) attempt to
perform the above
criteria. Dancing with a partner is much more difficult than a
skater performing a dance solo.
USFS and ISU Establish Ice
Dancing Set Patterns and Rules
2011 Solo Dance Series Participants List (PDF)
Online Registration Form (HTML)
Competition Selection Form (HTML)
Point Calculation Chart (PDF)
Who Needs a Partner? Solo Ice Dancers Shine at National ...Resources:
Sept. 30, 2009 ... "Ice dancing has become so very expensive," Gilbert said. "The National Solo Dance Championships have given ice dancers, of all ages, to experience the fun of ice dancing.
PDF 2011 Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships
2011 Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships. July 28 – 30 2011. Olympic Center
13 compulsory dances, six free dances, three short dance events, 10 solo dances.
USFS Competition Events
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:
All materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.