An Introduction to Solo Dance

In December 2023, the ISU added a Solo Ice Dance section to their website.

However the discipline isn’t new to everyone. Many countries including Great Britain, the United States, Sweden and Finland, to name a few, have been competing the event domestically. In Great Britain, this dates back almost 30 years.

Candice Towler-Green is a member of the working group which started around 18 months ago, an ISU technical specialist, and former solo and partnered ice dancer. She said “The overall goal is to keep people in our sport and give skaters without a partner the motivation to continue towards their goals in a different way. Other factors we spoke about were not all skaters want to have a partner, some just love to compete on their own. As well as the gender neutrality, everyone competes together and is assessed in the same way. There have been some skaters not knowing where they fit in and hopefully now this will give them a place to feel comfortable.”

“The aim is to have a series of international events around the world and then have a final event with the top ranked skaters in the World – similar to the Grand Prix series. There is a way to go before then, a lot of countries have never done solo dance before and it will be a big learning curve for everyone, experience or not, to get on the same page together.”

In January, Sweden hosted Nackatrofén, also known as Nacka Trophy, an competition that included solo dance.

Alana Pang is the two-time British Junior Solo Ice Dance Champion and has been competing in solo dance since 2015 in addition to singles skating.

Pang won the senior solo dance event at Nackatrofén with almost a 10-point lead, where Great Britain also swept the senior podium.

On her journey into the discipline she said: “I loved singles skating but the artistic element was my favourite. I loved performing more than anything else. So my coach suggested solo ice dance. I really really enjoyed the intense focus on detail and musicality.”

“My favourite elements are definitely the [choreographic] elements. I love choreo slides. I’ve invented quite a few unique and interesting slides over the years, so they’re my favourite to perform. I also love choreo twizzles as I enjoy being able to showcase different and unusual twizzle positions such as ‘sit twizzles’ and ‘y twizzles.'”

Over the next few months there are competitions planned in Poland, The Netherlands, Finland, and America. “These are trial events and we are hoping to prove that solo dance is not just recreational and can be a serious competitive environment,” said Towler-Green.

Edge Cup 2024 will take place in Katowice, Poland, in late February.
Unicorn Dance Trophy 2024 will be hosted in Hoorn, the Netherlands, in March.
Finnish Solo Ice Dance Open 2024 will be in Helsinki, Finland, in April.
Washington Picken International will also be taking place in April, and the first competition outside Europe in Reston, Virginia.

“The plan is to have the season the same as the other disciplines, starting 1st July every calendar year. This will mean season changes for most countries, in Great Britain our season runs January to July and we will need to transition to the same as the couples season.”

Both are looking forward to a bright future for the discipline and have high hopes.

Pang said, “I hope this is only the start of solo dance as an ISU discipline and that we will one day have a World Championships.”

“Together with my colleagues on the ISU solo dance working group, we have worked hard to put the rules together. They aren’t perfect yet, feedback and input from others will help us improve but we are looking forward to seeing how solo dance will progress and where we can take it in the future,” Towler-Green concluded.

An Edge Element replaces the short lift and these have four styles. This element has a rule of being held in its position for a minimum of three seconds but no longer than seven. The Edge Element styles are:

Spiral Type Edge Element – (SpEe)

A Spiral is a position with one blade on the ice and the free leg (including knee and foot) is extended higher than the hip level.
An Attitude position, a pose on one leg with the other lifted back, the knee bent at an angle of 90 degrees and well turned out so that the knee is higher than the foot, is also considered a Spiral Type Edge Element.

Skater: Alana Pang
Skater: Jessica Marjot

Crouch Type Edge Element – (CrEe)

A two-footed element in which a skater travels along the ice with two knees bent (thighs at least parallel to the ice) or with one knee bent (thigh at least parallel to the ice) and one leg extended to the side, back or front.
A Shoot the Duck on one foot with the skating leg in a bent position and the skating thigh at least parallel to the ice with the free leg directed forward parallel to, and off the ice.

Skater: Jessica Marjot

Spread Eagle Type Edge Element – (SeEe)

A two-footed element in which a skater travels along the ice with one foot on a forward edge/tracing and the other on a matching backward edge/tracing on the same curve. Only a Spread Eagle skated on an outside edge will be considered as an Edge Element when performed as a Short Edge Element.

Skater: Alana Pang

Ina Bauer Type Edge Element – (IBEe)

A two-footed movement in which a skater travels along the ice, on a curve, with one foot on a forward edge/tracing and the other on a matching backward edge/tracing on a different but parallel tracing.

Skater: Natasha Griffin

(Full videos of these skates are here)

Junior and Senior competitions will consist of 1 Rhythm Dance and 1 Free Dance and like coupled ice dance, the theme will also be “Music and Feeling of the Eighties”.

In a junior solo rhythm dance, the other elements are: Step Sequence, Sequential Twizzle Series, and a Pattern Dance Element — made up of two sequences of the Rocker Foxtrot.

In a senior solo rhythm dance, the other elements are: Step Sequence, Sequential Twizzle Series, Choreographic Rhythm Sequence — featuring the Silver Samba steps, and a Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence.

Both free dances are made up of six named elements however like partnered ice dance, these also vary in number.
Junior free dance:
– Edge Elements — 1 combination edge element (must not exceed 12 seconds) OR 2 different types of short edge elements (must not exceed 7 seconds),
– a Spin, a Step Sequence,
– a One Foot Turn Sequence,
– a Solo Twizzle Series,
– 2 Different Choreographic Elements.

Senior free dance:
– Edge Elements — 1 combination edge element plus 1 short edge element OR 3 different types of short edge elements.
– a Spin,
– a Step Sequence,
– a One Foot Turn Sequence,
– a Solo Twizzle Series,
– 3 Different Choreographic Elements.

The Choreographic Elements are:
– Choreographic Spinning Movement,
– Choreographic Twizzling Movement (only after required Twizzles),
– Choreographic Sliding Movement,
– Choreographic Character Step Sequence.

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