In the free dance, teams are free to choose their own rhythms, program themes, and therefore music. Creativity is also strongly encouraged. Since 1998, dancers have been required to include certain elements in their free dances, including step sequences, lifts, dance spins, and multi-rotation turns called twizzles, but still have greater freedom in choreographing their programs than in the short dance segment. Senior level free dances are four minutes long (plus or minus 10 seconds). The exact number and type of elements required has occasionally changed from season to season.
Because of various format and scoring changes, the International Skating Union separates scoring records from before the 2010-11 season from current top scores. The all-time record free dance score is 117.14, set by Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov in 2003. The top 2010-11 score is 111.51, achieved by Meryl Davis and Charlie White.