Ice dancing used to imitate ballroom dancing on the ice, but it has grown increasingly physical. The guy raises the lady over his head in pair skating, and the duo performs challenging acrobatic feats. They might spin around two or more times before coming to a stop.
In addition to being difficult to learn, ice dancing requires skill and precision beyond that of a typical figure skater. You need to know how to control your partner without hurting them. You also need to be able to read each other's movements and adjust accordingly.
It is this last point that separates ice dancers from pairs players. In pairs skating, you are usually paired with one specific person who knows what moves they like and don't like from you. With ice dancing, no such thing as "one size fits all": everyone has their own style of movement that they tend to perform better with some partners than others. It is this aspect of the sport that makes it so unique and enjoyable for both participants.
Also unlike pairs skating, where the men always skate ahead of the ladies, ice dancing is an even balance of power between the sexes. The men often have more technical elements to their programs (such as spins) because they require a level of dexterity not available to the ladies by default.
Ice dance is a figure skating discipline in which couples consisting of a woman and a man skate together. Ice dancing is distinct from pair dancing in that it focuses on complex footwork executed in close dance holds in time with the music. Although many elements of ice dance are similar to those of ballroom dancing, it is not considered a form of ballroom dancing.
The event is based on dances performed during the Old Norse festival of ice skating. The first documented ice dance competition was held in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1872. In 1893, the first World Ice Dance Championships were held in London.
Today, ice dancers usually take part in exhibition dances at international competitions to determine their overall ranking. They may also perform selected pieces of music with individual results being awarded for each element used in the program. The top eight ranked pairs will perform their programs again in two rounds for additional points.
There are three basic types of ice dances: classical, rhythm, and jazz. In all cases, both members of the couple must participate. Each type has its own requirements for height, weight, experience, etc., but all involve intricate patterns of foot movement in time with the music.
In classical ice dancing, the men wear tails and the women gowns. Each couple performs a series of steps in a specific order to produce a defined pattern called a dance lift.
Pair skating is undoubtedly the most hardest discipline to master today. Pair skaters do the same leaps and spins as single skaters, although with fewer revolutions, but timing is significantly more essential since movements must be executed in perfect synchronicity.
According to the International Olympic Committee, ice dance has been an Olympic sport since 1976. Ice dancers compete in couples rather than individually. The ice dance competition is divided into two sections, according to USFS: the short dance, which lasts around three minutes, and the free dance, which lasts about four minutes.
Ice dancers must perform to music with a consistent beat or rhythm, and it is the only discipline in which competitors can utilize vocal music. Ice dancing is always done in pairs, and there are no jumps or throws permitted. Figure skating is more concerned with leaps, lifts, death spirals, and spins.
In order to win points, ice dancers must execute various elements of the program in the correct order. If an element is not executed correctly or completely, then it does not count toward your score. For example, if you jump into one foot on the way down from a spin, this would be considered a lack of execution and would not help your score. Elements such as salchows (a series of three jumps) and twirls can only be performed at certain times during the program, so make sure you check the program to see when these elements are allowed.
After each dance, judges give scores between 0 and 10 for different aspects of the dance, including technique, style, originality, and execution. The highest and lowest scores determine who wins or loses. On most competitions, the top three couples after all four dances will advance to the final segment. They will repeat the same program again for the finals, this time trying to get perfect scores of 30 for artistry and execution. Only the couple that gets the highest total score wins.