VIII. FOUR ICE DANCES

As was intimated in the introduction, ice dancing is the reason many figure skaters take up the sport in the first place. To such an enthusiast all the practice of the basic edges and turns is just the means to the end of becoming a really good ice dancer. There is no doubt about it—good dancing is good fun.

Even those who know nothing about skating, who have never in their lives had on a pair of skates, know that an ice waltz is a thing of rare beauty. The fame of the waltz is universal and justly deserved. Fortunately or unfortunately, according to whether you are a purist or not, the waltz is wonderful fun for everyone who skates it. Even those waltzers who jerk their edges, pull their partners, are unsteady on their feet, and in­variably step on the off beat of the music, go through the dance with a rapt expression of pleasure on their faces. Those skaters who are experts at the swaying moves and lilting rhythm give great enjoyment not only to themselves but to all who watch them.

Ice dancing, however, is by no means confined to the waltz. There are many other dances—many on elementary and inter­mediate levels—which should be learned before the famous waltz, which in skating terminology is known as the "American waltz." There are not only other and simpler waltzes but also dances to tango, march, and fox-trot time, which lead you gradually through the varying turns and positions to the greater intricacies of the advanced dances. Already there are great num­bers of dances, and more are being composed and publicized all the time. All are available in diagram form in the official United States Figure Skating Association rule book and in the excellent little booklet "Ice Dances," both of which are published by the magazine Skating and may be obtained by writing to that pub­lication at 30 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts.

For the present purpose—to give you who are just beginning a working knowledge of the most important steps and rhythms —only four dances will be described: the elementary "Dutch waltz," the intermediate "fiesta tango," the lively "fourteen-step," and of course the waltz. The form of each has been stand­ardized by the Dance Committee of the United States Figure Skating Association for use in tests and competitions, and though there are many variations possible in the timing and execution of each, these standardized versions are the easiest to assimilate.

Before studying the diagrams it would be well to do a quick review of the steps and turns (chasse, progressive, cross roll, mohawks, and choctaws) in Chapters III, IV and VII. These are all part of the dancer's equipment, although not all appear in the four dances under present scrutiny.


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