Competition elements in ice dance
Ice dance, a discipline of figure skating, has required elements that make up a well-balanced skating program and must be performed during competitions. They include: the dance lift, the dance spin, the step sequence, twizzles, and choreographic elements. The elements must be performed in specific ways, as described by published communications by the International Skating Union (ISU), unless otherwise specified. Choreographic elements are judged differently; they are considered complete if the minimum requirements defining the element are met.
The ISU announces the list of required elements in a well-balanced program, and each element's specific requirements, each year. The following elements may be included: the dance lift, the dance spin, the step sequence, twizzles, and choreographic elements.:p. 138 Illegal elements and movements include, unless otherwise stated by the ISU, certain lift movements and poses, jumps and throw jumps that have one or more revolution or jumps of one revolution "skated at the same time by both partners",:p. 138 and lying on the ice.:p. 138:p. 248
The ISU defines dance lifts as "a movement in which one of the partners is elevated with active and/or passive assistance of the other partner to any permitted height, sustained there and set down on the ice".:p. 123 The ISU allows for variations or combinations of dance lifts, and announces them at the beginning of each season.:p. 125
After the judging system changed from the 6.0 system to the ISU Judging System (IJS), dance lifts became more "athletic, dramatic and exciting". American ice dancer Charlie White stated that lifts have become "increasingly difficult", requiring teams to, like pair skaters, work with acrobats to develop their lifts. According to former competitive dancer Pilar Bosley, ice dance lifts rotate faster than pair lifts. In order to maximize difficulty of the lifts, dancers must hit certain patterns and positions, with differences in entering and exiting their lifts. They have also become more acrobatic, despite the fact that they do not get as high as pair skating lifts because ice dance lifts cannot be supported over the man's shoulder. Dance lifts have also become more dangerous, resulting in more falls and injuries.
There are two types of dance lifts: short lifts, which should be done in under seven seconds; and combination lifts, which should be done in under 12 seconds. There are four types of short lifts: the stationary lift, the straight-line lift, the Curve lift, and the Rotational lift. There are three types of combination lifts: two Rotational lifts in different directions, two Curve lifts performed in a serpentine pattern, and different two types of short lifts performed together.:p. 125:p. 252
These movements and/or poses done during a dance lift are illegal: sitting or lying on the other dancer's head; standing on the partner's back or shoulder; lifting the partner so that he or she is upside down, in a split pose; swinging the partner being lifted around; holding onto the partner's skates, boots, or legs without assistance from the other hand or leg.:p. 124:p. 252 There are no rules against a reverse rotational lift, in which the woman lifts the man.
There are two types of dance spins: the spin and the combination spin. The ISU defines a spin as "a spin skated by the Couple together in any hold".:p. 123 The ISU also states, "It should be performed on the spot around a common axis on one foot by each partner simultaneously".:p. 125 The combination spin is defined as "a spin performed as above after which one change of foot is made by both partners simultaneously and further rotations occur".:p. 123 The solo spin, or Pirouette, is allowed and defined as "a spinning movement performed on one foot",:p. 123 with or without the partner's assistance, performed by both partners at the same time but around separate centers. The ISU accepts dance spin variations or combinations, and announces them at the beginning of each season.:p. 123
Dance spins have three positions. The upright position is done on one foot with the skating leg slightly bent or straight and with the upper body upright, bent to the side, or with an arched back. The Sit Position is done on one foot, with "the skating leg bent in a one-legged crouch position and with the free leg forward, either to the back or the side".:p. 123 The camel position is done on one foot, with "the skating leg straight or slightly bent forward, and with the free leg extended or bent forward horizontally or higher".:p. 123[note 1]
There are two types of step sequences: not-touching or in hold. Not-touching step sequences must include matching and/or mirror footwork; both ice dancers must skate as close to each other as possible, not more than two arm lengths apart, without touching, except when they are skating turns and edges in opposite directions for short distances. The dancers can switch from mirror to matching footwork, and vice versa, and they can cross each other's tracings (marks made in the ice by the skates). Step sequences in hold must be performed in any dance holds or any variation of dance holds, and must not last over one measure of music.:p. 117
Types of step sequences are separated into four Groups, based upon their difficulty. Group A includes straight line step sequences: the midline, which is performed along the ice surface's full length, on its Long Axis; and the Diagonal, which is performed from corner to corner, as fully as possible. Group B includes three Curved step sequences. The Circular, which is performed on the rink's entire width, on its short axis, can skated either clockwise or counterclockwise. The Serpentine, which must be performed along the full length of the rink, can be done in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction at the rink's Long Axis, at one end, and then progresses in either two or three S-shaped bold curves, ending up at the other end of the rink. Group C consists of partial step sequences: the Pattern Dance Type Sequence, which can be done anywhere on the ice and follows the chosen Pattern Dance; and the One Foot step sequence, which is skated on one foot by each partner, separately, in hold, or at the same time. Group D consists of a Combination step sequence plus any step sequence in Groups A or B. The ISU describes and announces any variation of combination of Groups or the creation of other groups in an ISU Communication.:pp. 117—118
The ISU states the following about styles of step sequences: "Characteristics of Levels of step sequences, organized as styles, are technical requirements with ongoing validity and are published in an ISU Communication".:p. 118[note 2]
The ISU defines a twizzle as "a traveling turn on one foot with one or more rotations which is quickly rotated with a continuous (uninterrupted) action".:p. 122 It has also been defined as "a multirotational, one-foot turn that moves across the ice".
A skater's weight, when performing the twizzle, "remains on the skating foot with the free foot in any position during the turn then placed beside the skating foot to skate the next step".:p. 122 The twizzle has four types of entry edges: the Forward Inside, the Forward Outside, the Backward Inside, and the Backward Outside. Skaters can make twizzle-like Motions, movements in which the skating foot completes less than a full turn and then a step forward while the body performs one full continuous rotation. A series of checked Three Turns does not constitute a twizzle because it is not a continuous action. If the traveling stops while the steps are being made, it is also not a twizzle; rather, it is a Pirouette, or solo spin.
There are two types of twizzle sets. A set of synchronized twizzles is a series of two twizzles performed by each partner, with up to three steps between twizzles. A set of sequential twizzles is a series of two twizzles for each partner, with up to one step between twizzles.:p. 122 Both types must include at least one complete rotation on one foot, completed at the same time (simultaneously) by both partners, and is when they appear most often in an ice dance program.:p. 122 Examples are: matching (side-by-side in the same direction); mirror (side-by-side in the opposite direction); and following one another, or when one partner skates forward while the other partner skates backwards, and vice versa.:pp. 122–123 The ISU announces and publishes any variations, as chosen by the Ice Dance Technical Committee, on the combination of twizzles in their Communications.:p. 122
The U.S. Figure Skating "2018–2019 Rulebook" defines choreographic elements in ice dance as "a listed or unlisted movement or series of movement(s) as specified".:p. 253 These elements are not scored in the same way as the other elements, but are "confirmed if the minimum requirements defining the element are met".:p. 288 Choreographic dance lifts, which must be done after all of the other required dance lifts are performed, must last at least three seconds; they must last up to 10 seconds during a junior or senior free dance. The choreographic step sequence must fully use the entire rink and must fit the definition of a step sequence in hold. The choreographic Character step sequence, which can be performed at any time during the program, must be performed around the short axis and must be done from barrier to barrier. It can also be done in hold or not-touching.
Choreographic spinning movements are spinning movements, performed at anytime during a program, in which both partners, in any hold they choose, perform at least two continuous rotations on a common axis that may be moving. One foot or two feet must be elevated for less than two rotations, or a partner must be elevated for the same period of time. A combination of the three requirements is also allowed. Ice dancers can also perform a choreographic dance spin, which is a spin done on one foot only. It must have a least three revolutions, and can include as many positions on either foot as they choose. It must also relate to the music and enhance the overall program. They cannot use a flying entry into the spin.:p. 266
Twizzling movements are performed after the required set of twizzles, and are composed of two parts. The first part of the movement must be on either one foot, two feet, or a combination of both; the second part also must be on either one foot, two feet, or a combination of both. Additionally, the first part of the movement must have at least two continuous rotations skated simultaneously while travelling; for the second part, at least one partner must skate at least two continuous rotations, and one or both partners can perform the movement on the spot, travelling, or a combination of both.
Choreographic sliding movements, which can be performed at anytime during the program, are movements in which both partners perform controlled sliding movements on the ice. These movements can be performed by both partners at the same time, and on any part of the body. The movements can be in hold or not-touching, and can rotate. If the partners perform controlled sliding on two knees or any other part of the body, it will not be counted as a fall or illegal element. If the partners finish the movement as a stop or by sitting or lying on the ice, it will be considered a fall or illegal movement. Ice dancers can also use a choreographic dance Stop, which should last between three and six seconds, and must be done to express the music's character through dancing or movements in place.:p. 266
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