ICE DANCING VS. PAIRS SKATING
So Sammi asked me tonight to write a bit about the difference between ice dance and pairs skating. Both disciplines are similar but they are very different! I’ll give you some of the similarities as well as highlight the differences. I’ll explain the difference in details and then at the end briefly cover the differences.
First in the short program/short dance
One of the first similarities is that in the short program, the time allotted is the same: two minutes and fifty seconds. In both disciplines, the short dance/short program is more technical sort to speak because the couples need to pack in a list of elements into that short time. Lastly, the disciplines have a step sequence (though see later. This step sequence is different for ice dance).
Now the differences in the short program/short dance.
In Pairs skating, there is a list of seven required elements. They are as follows:
This video is an excellent source for understand the pattern! In addition to the Finnstep (which I love the music, hate the pattern ;)), the short dance requires:Ice dancing is the newest of the figure skating disciplines only starting in the 1976 Olympics (though been competing it since 1952). While it has definitely evolved since then, ice dance’s background is ballroom dance (probably why I’m drawn to it ;D). This root in ballroom is the main difference in style for the short program or “short dance”. Each year the International Skating Union (ISU) gets together and decides a step pattern that must be competed for the upcoming season. This season (2013/2014) it is the Finnstep. The Finnstep is probably the most complicated and hardest step pattern for ice dance.
So for ice dancing at the Olympics, because of the Finnstep, look for lots of quickstep music!
In the long program (pairs skating)/ free dance (ice dancing), the differences are more glaring.
In the Pairs free skate (long program), the time is four minutes and thirty seconds and is of course “more free”. It is one of the most difficult events in skating. In the pairs program you will see:
Like the men and ladies, jumping and throwing elements done past the halfway point have a 10% bonus.
As for the “free dance” in ice dancing, it’s all about the dance and the expression of the dance. I truly feel that the free dance is one of the most creative disciplines. The free dance is four minutes long and contains elements the following:
So here are some of the major key differences:
I hope this helps in understanding the differences and similarities between Pairs and ice dancing!