Rhythm Dance & Free Dance Elements – 2019/2020

The two programs performed in ice dance are a Rhythm Dance, formerly known as Short Dance (SD) til 2017/2018, and a Free Dance (FD).

Rhythm Dance
© David W. Carmichael /CC-BY-SA-3.0

The following information is correct as of the 2019/20 season and publications dated April 2019 and it applies to Senior Ice Dance. Definitions are taken from the handbook for technical panels, revised November 2018.

Table of Contents

Rhythm Dance

This year’s Rhythm Dance must be performed to musicals and/or operettas. The music must be recognizable as quickstep, blues, march, polka, foxtrot, swing, Charleston, and/or waltz. It has to be 2 minutes and 50 seconds long +/- 10 seconds.

(See Program Announcements to find out who is skating to Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Cabaret, and many more)

Pattern Dance Element

In the Rhythm Dance, this year’s Pattern Dance Element for seniors is the Finnstep. The Finnstep was last used during the 2013/2014 Olympics Season. It involved such iconic performances as Davis/White skating to “Get me to the Church on Time” and Virtue/Moir skating to “Muskrat Ramble”.

In the live-scoring and protocol, this will be identified as 1FS+kp. Either Y (yes), N (no) or T (timing) will follow to indicate how many key points were achieved of the 33 required steps. The Finnstep must be skated to either the Quickstep, Charleston or Swing Rhythm.

Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence (PSt)

The PSt has to be skated to the same rhythm as the Finnstep section and will start following step 33 (the slide and stop) of the Finnstep. There may be a stop up to 5 seconds, and this is not counted as one of the permitted stops. No additional stops are allowed during the PSt.
The following are not permitted in this element: Separations, Retrogressions, and Loops, Hand in hand hold with fully extended arms.

The PSt is evaluated as one unit, by adding the Base Values of the Lady PSt Level and the Man PSt Level and then applying the GOE. This will be scored as PStL & PStM followed with either a B (for Base) or L1-4 to represent the level.

Dance Lift

One short lift lasting up to 7 seconds is a required element, however, the skaters cannot do more than one. This could be a Stationary Lift (StaLi), Straight Line Lift (SlLi), Curve Lift (CuLi), or Rotational Lift (RoLi). The abbreviation will also be followed by a ‘B’ or 1-4 to represent the level.

Step Sequence

Another required element is the One Step Sequence in Hold or Not Touching or a combination of both (Style B).
Specifications to Style B, Rhythm Dance 2019/2020:

  • The rhythm has to change compared to the one chosen for the Pattern Dance Element (Finnstep) and Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence (PSt). Other options include Blues, March, Polka, Foxtrot, and Waltz.
  • The pattern may ONLY be Midline or Diagonal.
  • Retrogression(=changing the direction for a few seconds) are not permitted.
  • Separation is permitted but no more than 2 arm’s length
  • Loops are not permitted
  • Hand in hand hold is not permitted with fully extended arms
  • You can have up to one (1) stop for up to 5 seconds .

Twizzles

There has to be one set of Sequential Twizzles with at least two for each partner and with up to 1 step between each twizzle. (Each push and/or transfer of weight while on two feet between twizzles is considered as a step). There must not be any contact between twizzles.

The set of Sequential Twizzles is evaluated as one unit by adding the Base Values of the Lady Set of Twizzles Level and Man Set of Twizzles Level and then applying the GOE. This will be scored as SqTwL & SqTwM, with either a B (for Base) or L1-4 following to represent the level.

Free Dance

The Free Dance is the second segment of an Ice Dance Competition. The skaters can choose and interpret their music more freely than during the Rhythm Dance, however, they are still required elements. The total length of the Free Dance is 4 minutes +/- 10 seconds.

Dance Lift

The skate has to include (but cannot exceed) 3 different Short Lifts or 1 Short and 1 Combination lift. (The Short Lift must be a different type than the Combination Lift).
The lifts could be a Stationary Lift (StaLi), Straight Line Lift (SlLi), Curve Lift (CuLi) or Rotational Lift (RoLi). A Combination lift would be marked as one element and have a + between abbreviations to show the type of lifts, e.g. StaLi+RoLi.

Dance Spin

One Dance Spin, either Spin (Sp) or Combination Spin (CoSp), has to be part of the performance.
Both (Sp and CoSp) may look similar as the couple might change positions throughout the Sp however, the combination spin is noticeable by both partners changing feet during the spin and more rotations occurring.

The basic positions are;
Upright position – Performed on one foot with skating leg straight or slightly bent and upper body upright (on a nearly vertical axis), arched back or bent to the side.

Spin upright position
© Uwe Langer /CC-BY-SA-3.0

Sit Position – Performed on one foot with the skating leg bent in a one-legged crouch position. The free leg points forward, to the side or back.

Spin Sit Position
© Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-U1215-0046  /CC-BY-SA-3.0


Camel Position – Performed on one foot with skating leg straight or slightly bent. The body is bent forward and the free leg extended or bent upward on a horizontal line or higher.

Spin Camel Position
© Caroline Paré – http://everythingskating.com/ /CC-BY-SA-3.0

Step Sequences

There has to be 1 Step Sequence in hold (Style B) during the Free Dance. It can be either a Straight Line Step Sequence, in Hold; Midline or Diagonal or a Curved Step Sequence in Hold; Circular or Serpentine.
The Midline (MiSt) should be skated along the full length of the ice surface on the Long Axis.
The Diagonal (DiSt) should be skated as fully corner to corner as possible.
The Circular (CiSt) can be skated in an anticlockwise or clockwise direction. It should utilize the full width of the ice surface on the Short Axis.
The Serpentine (SeSt) commences in either direction (clockwise or anticlockwise) at the Long Axis at one end of the rink. It progresses in three or in two bold curves (S-Shaped) and ends at the Long Axis of the opposite end of the rink. The pattern utilizing the full width of the ice surface.
Specifications to Style B, Free Dance 2019/2020:

  • One (1) Retrogression is permitted but it must not exceed two measures of music.
  • Separations are permitted but they cannot be more than 2 arms length and must not exceed 5 seconds.
  • Loops are not permitted, however, a narrow loop is an acceptable shape in the retrogression.
  • Hand-in-hand hold is not permitted with fully extended arms.
  • Stops are not permitted.

Furthermore, the program has to include 1 One Foot Step Sequence, Not-Touching.
Turns have to be performed on one foot by each partner and must be started with the first turn at the same time.
Both step sequences are made up of different steps and turns that could include counter turns, rocker turns, choctaw turns, and twizzles.
This will be scored as OFStL & OFStM, with either a B (for Base) or L1-4 added to represent the level.

Twizzles

Like in the Rhythm Dance, another required element is one (1) Set of this time Synchronized Twizzles.

The Specifications for Season 2019/2020 are

  • At least two Twizzles for each partner, with a minimum 2 steps and up to 4 steps between 1st and 2nd Twizzles. (Each push and/or transfer of weight while on two feet between Twizzles is considered as a step).
  • Partners must be in contact at some point between the 1st and 2nd Twizzles.

The set of Synchronized Twizzles is evaluated as one unit by adding the Base Values of the Lady Set of Twizzles Level and Man Set of Twizzles Level and then applying the GOE. This will be scored as SyTwL SyTwM plus either a B (for Base) or L1-4 to represent the level.

Choreographic Elements

There should be 3 different choreographic elements in the Free Dance:

One (1) must be a Choreographic Character Step Sequence.
The other two (2) can be a

  • Choreographic Lift
  • Choreographic Spinning Movement
  • Choreographic Twizzling Movement
  • or Choreographic Sliding Movement.


The Choreographic Character Step Sequence (ChSt1) can be performed at any point during the program and can be either in hold or not touching. It has to be placed within 10 metres either side of the short axis and must go from one barrier to the other. The permitted distance between partners is a maximum of 4 arms lengths apart (or 4 metres) and is also one of two moves where touching the ice with hands is allowed.

A Choreographic Lift (ChLi1) is a dance lift that has to be held for a minimum of 3 seconds, and a maximum of 10. It has to be performed after the other required lifts.

A Choreographic Spinning Movement (ChSp1) can be performed at any point during the free and both partners have to perform at least 2 continuous rotations in any hold. The following also applies;

  • spinning on one foot or two feet or one partner being elevated for less than 2 rotations, or a combination of the three,
  • on a common axis that may be moving.

A Choreographic Twizzling Movement (ChTw1) has to be performed after the required twizzles and is composed of two parts.
The first part includes at least 2 continuous rotations that must be performed simultaneously and both partners have to travel.
The second part includes at least one of the partners performing a minimum of 2 continuous rotations and one or both partners being on the spot or travelling or combining both.
It can be performed on a single foot, both feet or a combination of both.

A Choreographic Sliding Movement (ChSl1) is an element where both partners perform a controlled sliding movement on the ice, at the same time, and it can be anywhere in the program. The move can be in hold, not touching or a combination of both. Controlled sliding will not be considered a fall by the technical panel during the choreographic sliding element unless the skaters come to a stop on 2 knees or are sitting/lying on the ice.

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