Welcome to this week’s Ask IDC Question & Answer (Q&A)! We appreciate you taking the time to submit questions to us and hope to provide the answers you are looking for.
By my count, seven of the 13 junior dance couples who competed at the 2019 U.S. National Championships will not be competing together in the upcoming season. Is that much “turnover” typical or not so typical for U.S. ice dance?
While it is normal for a number of partnerships to end each season, it isn’t necessarily common to see this volume of team splits at the same level in a single season. Partnerships end for a variety of reasons, including differing future on and off ice goals or the team no longer being a good physical match due to one or both’s growth spurts. Due to age, it also is common for skaters at the junior level to contemplate moving on from the sport due to college plans or other interests.
After the 2010-11 season, three high-profile senior teams stopped skating together. Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein, the 2009 World Junior Champions, stopped skating together when Zuerlein decided to retire from the sport. Both Emily Samuelson & Evan Bates and siblings Madison Hubbell & Keiffer Hubbell also ended decade-long partnerships. Starting in 2011, Chock teamed with Bates, while Madison Hubbell partnered with Zachary Donohue. Both partnerships are still going strong today.
I love the photos that you take and want to use them on my website or blog. Can I use them so long as I give you credit? Thank you for the compliment! The answer is yes, BUT only with the appropriate written permission from both the photographer and IDC. The gallery photographs, as well as those that are included in our articles, are copyrighted to the respective photographers. Use on any other websites, including professional or personal blogs/Tumblrs, in magazines and newspapers (both online and paper format) or promotional materials for shows or events, is prohibited without permission from the photographer and IDC. For more information, including how to submit a photo use request, please visit our Photo Use Policy page.
I want to learn more about ice dance steps. Is there a video resource available? Recently, Youtube user Kaley Q. created a 20-minute video titled ‘Figure Skating Steps and Turns Complete Guide‘ that includes descriptions and video references for difficult steps and turns for ice dance, such as rocker, counter, bracket, choctaw, twizzle and outside mohawk. The video also includes steps for singles and pairs. Thought I’ve only watched it through once, I think it’s a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about what they are watching. A text and clip version is available on her Tumblr.
Last week, Gina Capellazzi, who is a part-time contributor to ice-dance.com, had a quick chat with two-time U.S. champions Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue while they were on tour with Stars on Ice. Gina is also the web administrator for Figure Skaters Online, a website that focuses on providing content on the singles and pairs disciplines as well as providing website design and hosting for U.S. figure skaters.
IDC: If you sum up your season in one word, what would it be and why?
MH: Growth. It was a season where things were changing all the time. There were a lot of moving pieces, and with how much progress we were making behind the scenes, usually people don’t necessarily see that progress, but there was a clear result from that progress being that our program kept evolving through the season as we wanted to continue challenging ourselves. I so definitely think growth kind of sums it up for me. Also, growth as a partnership and in our relationship, and getting more focused on the plans for the next three years.
IDC: What was something memorable from this season, and what is something that you wish you could change if you could?
ZD: I think the most memorable is kind of a tie between Four Continents and World Team Trophy because Four Continents was an eye opener for us and it was kind of good because it gave us the motivation to go back and check everything. It [this season] was also our first World Team Trophy and it was really cool to actually compete as a team as we didn’t get to do so at the [Olympic] Games.
MH: I don’t think we would say it is a regret because we didn’t go in knowingly that it would be a mistake, but if I could go back and re-do something, it would be the performance at Four Continents. Knowing what I know now, and knowing the panel and what they were seeing on practice, I think that was a little bit of a turning point for us in the season because there was a momentum to winning everything so that shocking result I think opened a window going into the other championship event. I would go back and re-do that stationary lift and get those points and come home hopefully with another gold medal.
IDC: Speaking of World Team Trophy, what was it like to compete in your first team event? Madison, as team captain, what was your role for the event?
MH: World Team Trophy was our first team event ever and I would say really everything was smooth sailing. They say at the Olympics ‘expect anything can wrong to go wrong,’ so as much as I would love our Olympic team experience to hopefully be the same, I don’t know but I was able to experience competing as a team for the first time. It was a really strong team, not only technically strong skaters, but also just really professional. As a team captain, I didn’t have to do much. There were no jobs really. I tried to always have team spirit and tried to be at everything that I could be at. I did press conferences at the end of the day, which was easy to speak on these skaters because everyone skated really well. It was a fun experience and that was definitely memorable for the season.
IDC: This is your third Stars on Ice tour. What is it like to be part of this tour?
MH: Every year, it has been different. I think last year everyone was such in like an exhausted place and emotional place, whether your Olympics went well or not as well you hoped. It is just an emotionally draining thing. But it [the tour] was fun. We were able to do the free dance last season on tour, which was a really cool way to say goodbye to that program. I think a lot of people felt that way, but we were all kind of like zombied-out. 22 shows, we brought all the energy we could to every city, but in between we were just sleeping. We had Adam [Rippon] and Mirai [Nagasu] doing Dancing with the Stars, so they were exhausted. It was really like survival mode at that point. This year, it seems like everybody came in a little bit fresher. There are a lot more retired skaters on this tour, so I think it is a bit of a different energy. I think people are a little bit more like it is that time of the cycle, where the off-season is about enjoying yourself, exploration and finding new paths. So far, it has been really fun and hopefully we get good audiences the rest of the way.
IDC: What are your programs for Stars on Ice?
ZD: We wanted to actually make show programs. We wanted to do different styles of music. We had our choreographer Sam (Chouinard) make an awesome number for a Queen medley of ours, which coincidentally Meryl [Davis] and Charlie [White] are also doing a Queen number, so there is a lot of Queen in this tour, even with Adam [Rippon] gone. We are also doing another one by Ben Howard “Oats in the Water”, which Madi was kind enough to let me choreograph, so that is kind of cool putting out my first actual piece that I have done (choreographed) and skated to in the show.
IDC: What was it like for you to choreograph a program for you and Madi?
ZD: Stressful. Because we were changing up our free dance program [“Romeo and Juliet”] throughout the season, it [our “Oats in the Water” show program] got thrown together in like two weeks. Madi had a lot of patience, while I kind of went through my creative process. I think if I had a chance to do it again, I would definitely start doing it way earlier on and take more time and have more detail, but I’m happy with the first.
IDC:Is choreography something you want to get into once you are done competing?
ZD: Yes, even now, I want to start choreographing for high level skaters that are competing now.
IDC: Have you given thought to next season yet? Have you picked music for next season, especially for next season’s rhythm dance, which genre is Broadway/Musical?
MH: I think as an artist you can’t like go through the year hearing music and not already have things in your mind. I’m not always necessarily looking for music to skate to or looking for ideas, but things just happen. I just listening to Spotify for fun and I stumble upon something that I like. Through the year, even during competition season, we have our eyes and ears open and as soon as we start knowing a little bit more about the rhythm for rhythm dance, we start discussing.
Coming from a school of our size with so many elite athletes in Montreal, you’d better be quick to say what you want to skate to because it really is first come, first serve. Especially with rhythm dance when they give you a specific genre, it is best to go early and try and figure out a few things that you really feel strongly about. We had our first meeting just two days ago in Montreal to discuss some options. Next week, after these four stops, we will go home and it will be our first time actually skating on the ice. We will try some music. We will try different styles. We are lucky to have someone, who performed on Broadway for many years, helping our team now. She is going to be a huge asset to see what looks good on us and to help push us in the right direction because sometimes what you like to listen to, doesn’t actually look good on your body, so we want to make intelligent decisions.
IDC: Have you skated together to this genre before?
In unison: No!
IDC: Are you looking forward to it?
MH: I am.
ZD: Yes, most definitely. I’m excited to have something new because every new experience brings a lot of learning.
MH: We do the Finnstep. (This year’s pattern for the rhythm dance).
ZD: Yes, we have done the Finnstep, so we are comfortable with the dance.
MH: I’m comfortable with it and I like the first half especially that they have chosen. The twizzles don’t bother me at all. I know that is kind of one of the more difficult steps in the dance is to do the quick twizzles. I find that fun and we like the speed of it, so it is going to be fun to see how everybody kind of transforms the Finnstep into different styles.
IDC: What you train for all year in a non-Olympic year is Worlds. Next year, it happens to be in Montreal. Does that change your training knowing that Worlds is practically happening in your backyard?
MH: What a cool opportunity, right? We try and do our best every year for every competition. We look ahead and see the schedule and if there is going to be something that is particularly strange, whether it be jet lag or competition scheduling. We practice that to make sure we are ready for that. It is definitely going to be a big advantage, I think. Our goals are lofty and we want to keep pushing to be the top of the podium at Worlds. We train every day with Gabrielle [Papadakis] and Guillaume [Cizeron] and to be able to be in Montreal and training alongside our biggest competition is going to be a really cool experience and a nice daily reminder of what’s coming. It’s like a daily test run.
ZD: Yeah, for sure!
IDC: So what’s next after Stars on Ice? Are you going to start training right away for next season, or do you plan to take a vacation?
ZD: Haha! Make programs, make programs, make programs. We will take a vacation later on. There are a lot of teams that need to get choreography, so we need to get it done as soon as possible because we have training camps for U.S. Figure Skating. We have stuff that we want to get done early enough, so that we have time to train it and also to be able to let our bodies rest in segments, too.
MH: We like to get as much work done early. Especially with things like vacation, unless you can vacation right after Worlds when really you can just let yourself go, you usually don’t make a big decision or choreograph within those first couple weeks. If you can take vacation, then great. Otherwise, at the end of May and the end of tour, I’m going to be on vacation. I’m going to be listening to music. I’m going to be trying to cut music. It is not going to feel like I can really let myself relax.
If we go home, we are going to have about five weeks to like stamp out the beginning details—the music, the layout of program, new elements—things like that. Then, we have a vacation planned in July. My fiancé [Adrián Díaz] and I were going to Luis Fenero and Eric Radford’s weddin,g so that is going to be lovely. My first big wedding and wedding in Spain, so that will be fun to see. A nice vacation in Europe.
IDC: Madison, have you and Adrián Diaz started planning your wedding?
MH: No! (laughs). We are going to go to Luis and Eric’s wedding, see everything they do, and we are going to learn from them. For us, there is no rush. Something we have discussed is wanting to be able to get married and go on a honeymoon for a week or two weeks and not have to be like ‘I’m going to go home and train afterwards.’ I think we are going to save the marriage for retirement, so that we can really enjoy the honeymoon.
by Claire Cloutier | Edited by Anne Calder | Photos by Robin Ritoss & Claire Cloutier
It’s been five years since Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first American ice dance team to win an individual Olympic gold medal. Their competitive career ended after Sochi, but Davis and White have continued to explore new challenges, including television commentating, choreography, and charitable ventures. It’s all about exploring and growing for the six-time U.S. ice dance champions, who are currently touring the country with Stars on Ice.
During a tour practice session, Davis & White took a few minutes to share their thoughts on several topics. The interviews were done separately due to scheduling constraints.
Meryl, you’re back with Stars on Ice after another busy year for you and your partner, Charlie White.
Davis: Yes, it always seems to be busy, with a lot of skating, a lot of shows, which we love. This is our seventh year with the U.S. Stars on Ice [tour]. It’s always a special show.
This year, you’re skating to “Lilac Wine” and a Queen medley. Can you tell us how you chose those programs, and who choreographed them?
Davis: We spent a long time trying to figure out what to skate to because we want to bring something that the audience will enjoy. The primary purpose of traveling and doing these shows is really touching people.
“Lilac Wine” is a piece we heard a couple of times, and we just fell in love with it. Daisuke Takahashi skated to it a number of years ago. We decided to use a different version of the song [for Stars on Ice].
Charlie actually choreographed the piece himself. It’s the first time he’s choreographed one of our pieces exclusively. It’s usually a little more collaborative, or we work with somebody else. This time, he seemed really inspired. And I was like: ‘It seems like you want to choreograph this, so I’m just going to let you totally take the reins on this.’ I think he did a great job; it’s a really beautiful piece.
We felt the Queen music would be such a fun piece, to lift everyone’s spirits. Randi Strong from So You Think You Can Dance helped us with the number.
In other news, away from the ice, you’re engaged to former skater Fedor Andreev, and you’re planning a wedding this summer. Do you have a destination?
Davis: That’s right. It’s coming up quickly. We’ve been engaged for a while, and it felt like we had forever to plan. I have my dress. I found it a couple months ago. It’s actually the first dress I tried on. I put it on, and I just fell in love with it.
We’re getting married in Europe. It’s something that we had always talked about. Adventure is a big part of our relationship, and we want to travel and just discover special, beautiful new places [and for it] to continue to be a big part of our lives. Also, we wanted to share something really unique with our families. We’re really excited!
Your fiancé is the CEO for Eve Hansen a skincare line out in Los Angeles. Are you now based there or in Detroit?
Davis: We’re going back and forth. We still have our house and most of our belongings in Detroit. We’ll have to wait and see where we set up our home. Charlie is still in Detroit. We’re doing a lot of shows, and when we are preparing to go on tour, or travel for skating, we always get ready in Detroit. So it’s nice to come back to our home base.
Will you be doing more shows this summer, after Stars on Ice?
Davis: Yes, we have some shows in Asia this summer. So we’re looking forward to that. We always love going to Japan. It feels like a second home to us; we’ve spent a lot of time there.
You were instrumental in bringing Figure Skating in Harlem to Detroit. Do you plan to stay involved with the group?
Davis: Of course, I’m not always on the ground in Detroit, so thankfully there’s just an amazing team there. Lori Ward is our executive site director in Detroit, so she works very closely with Sharon Cohen [founder and CEO of Figure Skating in Harlem]. Nina Herron-Robinson is our on-ice skating director in Detroit. They’re both so passionate and inspired to facilitate this incredible opportunity for the young ladies who are part of the program.
My primary role at the beginning was showing Sharon Cohen what a perfect opportunity it was for a program like Figure Skating in Harlem to expand to Detroit. There’s a very large, passionate, supportive figure skating community in Detroit. There’s high need as well. So those two things combined, really opened up the perfect opportunity to have the first branch of Figure Skating in Harlem, which is now Figure Skating in Detroit. It’s touching the lives of young women in Detroit, which is, of course, the goal.
You’re doing a lot of interviewing work for the Olympic Channel. How has that been? Were you nervous when you started?
Davis: I really struggled, moving away from competition. I was so excited to try new things, and yet, I didn’t have a clear next step in mind. There’s nothing that necessarily stood out to me as: ‘This is the one thing I really want to devote myself to, or try.’ I think it’s hard. When you find something you love when you’re five, and you do it your whole life, it’s difficult to fill those shoes. [Skating] has provided me with so much joy and so many challenges in a good way.
I actively tried a lot of different things and discovered that I’m really enjoying interviews, specifically. It’s so interesting to talk to people about who they are, and their lives on and off the ice, and what drives them, especially people I have known for many years. While of course being completely respectful of their private lives, I feel like I have insight into asking them things that people might not know, or even know to ask.
Are there any other projects for the upcoming year?
Davis: Well, I’m finishing school [at the University of Michigan]. I’ve been working on my undergraduate degree since 2006. With training and taking semesters off for both Olympic years, 2010 and 2014, it’s just been a very slow process of chipping away, one credit to the next, one class to the next. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I was quite sure [graduation] was happening in May, but we’ll be on tour, so I’ll probably finish officially in August. Then I’ll have to wait until the December commencement ceremony. We’ll be home for the holidays, so I’m excited to share that with my family in December. They’ve been so supportive, during my many, many years of college. Being a college graduate has been a goal of mine for a long time.
Meryl told us about your tour programs and mentioned that you choreographed “Lilac Wine.” How was it creating your own program?
White: It was great. I’m so familiar with our strengths and weaknesses. Just trying to find a balance between what we know we can make look good, and how to still push some boundaries, artistically, just for fun, just to challenge ourselves. I think that’s an important part of the creative process – still being comfortable challenging yourself.
The program itself is actually a little bit more open. We don’t skate together quite as much, which I think makes the moments when we are together more effective. It was a piece of music that I had wanted to skate to for a long time. There’s obviously an enthusiasm that comes with finally getting to work with music that you really, really love.
You’ve been doing quite a bit of choreography the last few years. This past season, you had a big hit with James/Cipres’ “Wicked Games” free skate. Can you talk about that program? How did you create it, and what was it like working with Vanessa and Morgan?
White: Well, first of all, James & Cipres and their coaches, John Zimmerman and Silvia Fontana, were super-prepared, and had great entrances to their elements, and ideas that they wanted to play with. It makes such a difference to come into an atmosphere like that, where a team knows what they need to accomplish. So, from a creative aspect, first and foremost, they’re just so beautiful. (Smiles) And that’s such an advantage. So I wanted that to be okay to be what was focused on.
I didn’t want to over-embellish anything, for two reasons. One, because they’re so beautiful, that just having them simply look at one another, it emotionally connects everyone in the audience to either their connection or their faces. On the other hand, because they have so much speed, and their elements are so powerful and amazing just by themselves, that I wanted them to feel most comfortable and energetic to complete those elements.
I think the main thing I wanted them to address in their skating, and we worked it into the program, was just making sure that everything was in sync. So, the cleanliness that I think the choreography brought to their power was just a great match. They worked super-hard and built off what we created and went with it. I don’t feel comfortable taking much of the credit. I think they really earned all of the compliments.
When you created the program, did you choose the music? Or had they found that themselves?
White: No. I don’t know if it was them, or John [Zimmerman], who had chosen the music. But they said, ‘This is the music that we like,’ and we listened to it, and it was great – powerful, emotional – especially for a pair team. You just can’t ask for much more than that.
It seems like you’ve done more of your choreography work with pairs, as opposed to ice dancers. What are the differences in working with a pair team, as opposed to a dance team?
White: There’s so much less time for creativity because all of the [pair] elements need so much lead-up. When you do have the moments in-between, it’s quick, and it has to be maximally effective, because you just can’t mess around.
Whereas ice dance, the intricacy, that’s the whole program. Pairs need speed; they need power, and they need to go from one end [of the ice] to the other. If they’re doing really crazy things [choreographically], they’re just not going to be able to accomplish that. So finding two seconds to focus in on the point of the program, that’s the biggest challenge in a pair program. It’s also exciting. It’s a good challenge.
You’re continuing with pairs’ choreography. You just did a program for U.S. pair Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea.
White: [They] were a joy to work with – a wonderfully talented team! Every time I’m doing a pair program, I’m making sure that everyone’s on the same page [and] about what I recognize to be the challenges of it, so that we can help each other. Especially for a team like [Kayne & O’Shea], that’s mature, that’s experienced, just finding their comfort zone, too. And not just trying to assert my own image or vision on them, but really trying to pull it out of them and make sure that they have an ownership of the program. That’s the main thing for me. I don’t have an ego saying: ‘I want people to recognize this as a Charlie White work.’ No, I want them to land their jumps and win. That’s the point of having the program.
Our friends at Figure Skaters Online were talking with Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier after Four Continents. Brandon said that because you competed recently, you sort of have a feeling for what needs to happen, [and] what needs to be done in a program.
White: I’m also a huge fan of theirs. They were wonderful to work with. Yeah … I do know. (Laughs) I know … It’s a pacing thing. It’s like when you’re telling a story, or reading a book. You can’t just constantly have things happening, or you totally tune it out. Also, if you wait too long, then by the time you get to something exciting, people are already checked out. So it’s a timing thing. And a lot of that comes from the most basic aspects of skating – the knee bend, the grade at which you’re pushing, the way you’re looking at one another, or choosing not to.
There are so many little details that come into play when you’re trying to figure out how to shape the judges, specifically, but everyone’s experience of what you’re doing, How do you combine the art and the competitive aspects to maximally give you chances at a high score?
I think that’s what I did best, in my days as a [competitive] skater, is figure out how to just be efficient. I wasn’t the most talented, but I wanted to win, and I was going to do whatever it took. I think if you watch my [competitive] programs, you see at the end, every time, I’m literally just dead. It was for that reason just knowing that I had to give everything, I try to take the same mindset into doing choreography.
Are you looking to continue with choreography in the lead-up to the next Olympics?
White: Yes, if people want me to help them, I’m more than happy to. I really enjoy it. And I especially just enjoy getting to talk, almost on the philosophical and artistic side, about the importance of what we’re doing, why it matters. Even though I gear everything toward competition, if you don’t understand why you’re doing something, you’re not going to be able to do a very good job of it.
Certainly, with the perspective that I have now, five years out [from competition], I had great coaches with Marina [Zoueva] and Igor [Shpilband], and [our] other coaches. They were really good at helping us focus in on the ‘why’ questions, and sort of the philosophy, and how it pertains to life. I couldn’t necessarily appreciate it at the time, but having stepped away, things are clicking. It’s given me a new appreciation for the sport, and everything that it’s brought into my life, apart from just success.
I am a talkative person, and I have a lot on my mind a lot of the time. So I sort of put my skaters through a lot, making them listen to what I think they should be focusing on. But I’m hopeful that they can appreciate it, and someday down the line, maybe they’ll be like: ‘Hey, I’m really glad that we had that sort of deep talk in the middle of choreographing our program.’ (Smiles)
Welcome to this week’s Ask IDC Question & Answer (Q&A)! Thank you for submitting all of your great questions. This week, we received several about U.S. Figure Skating’s new competitive pipeline.
Where can I learn more about U.S. Figure Skating’s new qualifying system? Starting with the 2019-20 season, U.S. Figure Skating has implemented a new competitive pipeline for singles, pairs and dance, which includes the National Qualifying Series (NQS). More information on the new Qualifying Competitive Pipeline and NQS can be found on U.S. Figure Skating’s website. In addition, IDC has created a page devoted to the NQS, which includes infographics and links to all of the U.S. Figure Skating information.
What events are part of the 2019-20 National Qualifying Series for ice dance? Below are the events that are part of this year’s NQS.
June 19-22, 2019
2019 Chesapeake Open
July 11-14, 2019
2019 Cannon Texas Open
July 17-21, 2019
2019 Sun Valley Summer Champs
July 30-August 2, 2019
2019 Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships
August 7-11, 2019
2019 Hershey Open
August 9-11, 2019
2019 Dance-Pairs Chicago
August 9-11, 2019
2019 Orange County Open Championships
September 12-15, 2019
2019 Challenge Cup
How does a team register for the NQS? Teams enter the overall NQS by logging onto U.S. Figure Skating’s Event Management System. The deadline to register is May 28, 2019. Once registered, teams can then choose any of the competitions they want to enter and then enter them directly. Teams should register for an event by the entry deadline posted by the competition host. All NQS events are entered through EMS. There is no minimum and maximum number of competitions couples must enter, and no restrictions on location. Only the team’s highest total score counts towards national ranking. For more information, visit the U.S. Figure Skating’s website or IDC’s NQS hub.
Welcome to this week’s Ask IDC Question & Answer (Q&A)! Thank you for submitting all of your great questions. This week’s edition focuses on ice dance technical and/or historical information.
What are the newest Pattern Dances to be adopted by the ISU and who created them? The three newest Pattern Dances are the Tea-Time Foxtrot and Maple Leaf March and Rhumba d’Amor. The Tea-Time Foxtrot was created by Poland’s Natalie Kaliszek & Maksym Spodyriev with their coach, Sylwia Nowak-Trebacka. The Maple Leaf March was created by Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier of Canada, with their coaches Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs. Both patterns were based on steps in the short dances skated by Kaliszek & Spodyriev and Gilles & Poirier during the 2015-2016 season. Also newly added is the Rhumba d’Amor, which was created by Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean and first performed at the 1994 European Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
The Tea-Time Foxtrot will debut as a pattern in the Rhythm Dance for teams at the junior level during the 2019-2020 season.
How many Olympic ice dance medals has the USA won? The USA has won five (5) ice dance medals. Colleen O’Connor & Jim Millns won the first Olympic medal in ice dance, a bronze, in 1976. Thirty years later, Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto won the silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. The United States has won a medal in ice dance at each of the Winter Olympics since 2006, with Meryl Davis & Charlie White claiming silver in 2010 and becoming the first U.S. team to win Olympic gold in ice dance in 2014. Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani won the bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Davis & White also won a bronze medal as part of the inaugural team event in 2014 and the Shibutanis were part of Team USA’s team bronze medal win in 2018.
When was the last World Championships to include the compulsory dance? What was the dance?
Held in Torino, Italy, the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships was the last event to include the compulsory dance as part of the competition. After 2010, the compulsory and original dances were merged into the short dance. The Golden Waltz was the compulsory dance performed in Torino.
What is the “TV Rule“ for ice dance that affects the starting order for the final group only at the U.S. Championships?
The final group consists of five couples. The top three finishers in the rhythm dance will be the last to skate in the final group and they will draw from the first subgroup. The fourth and fifth place finishers in the rhythm dance will be the first to skate in the final group. They will draw from the second subgroup.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Q & A! You can submit a question via our Ask IDC Q & A form. The goal is to answer a few each week, so if your question is not covered in this edition, check back next week. Some questions may require us to reach out to technical experts before we can respond, so please be patient.
Beginning with the 2019-20 season, U.S. Figure Skating is debuting a new qualifying competitive pipeline for ice dance (as well as singles and pairs). While junior and senior teams will continue to qualify and compete at the annual U.S. National Championships, athletes at the juvenile, intermediate and novice level will follow a much different path that culminates in a U.S. Dance Challenge (November) and for top finishers, a National HIgh-Performance Development Team Camp (January). The pipeline focuses on their new vision: Identify. Develop. Promote., and features the following:
New National Qualifying Series
New names for qualifying competitions
Earlier timeline for pairs and dance teams and another opportunity for national competition
National High-Performance Development Team Camp for juvenile, intermediate and novice athletes
What is the National Qualifying Series (NQS)?
The National Qualifying Series (NQS) is a series of official U.S. Figure Skating approved competitions hosted individually by member clubs nationwide that are held in a standard format and in which athletes earn official scores towards a sectional and national rank. The competitions are held between June 1 – September 15 and serve juvenile – senior competitors in singles, dance and pairs.
Athletes must enter the NQS directly with U.S. Figure Skating by May 28, 2019
Athletes enter any official competitions they choose
Only the athlete or team’s highest Total Score (TS) counts
The top six ranking singles athletes in each section earn a bye to the Sectional Singles Final
The top three ranking dance or pairs teams nationwide earn a bye the U.S. Pairs or U.S. Dance Final
Athletes receive an official ‘national ranking’ and a certificate and pin to recognize their achievement.
Documents links from the U.S. Figure Skating Website
Athletes enter the overall NQS by logging onto U.S. Figure Skating’s Event Management System. The deadline to register is May 28, 2019. From there, athletes enter any of the above competitions they choose separately, by the entry deadline posted by the competition host. All NQS events are entered through EMS, as well.
All NQS events will be conducted in accordance with the rules and procedures outlined in the Athlete Handbook Dance.
Ice-dance.com’s Qualifying Pipeline Infographics
Below are two qualifying pipeline infographics that were created by Team IDC. Click on an image to view the high-resolution PDF.
Welcome to this week’s Ask IDC Question & Answer (Q&A)! Thank you for submitting all of your great questions. For this edition, we consulted our experts for several of the questions.
What is the difference between ice dance blades and regular figure skate blades? Ice dance blades are about an inch shorter in the rear (tail) than those used by skaters in other disciplines, which enables the ability to do intricate footwork and closer partnering. The blades also have shortened toe picks and are more heavily rockered (curved), which helps create deeper edges and smoother turns.
In the 2019-2020 Rhythm Dance ladies will be allowed to wear trousers. Has this happened before? The ISU has always required female ice dancers to wear a skirt and men to wear full-length trousers in both dances. The exception to the rule happened for ladies twice in the short dance, most recently for senior dancers in the 2016-2017 season. The required rhythm for both was Blues, plus either Swing or Hip Hop.
In 2019-2020, both Junior and Senior ladies will be allowed to wear trousers. The required rhythm is
Quickstep, Blues, March, Polka, Foxtrot, Swing, Charleston, or Waltz.
If a team is just starting out at the pre-juvenile level, how many competitions should they work towards attending? Depending on your budget, two or three competitions in the pre-season is a good start. Chesapeake Open, held every June in Laurel, Maryland, is a pre-season event that also includes a dance camp, which can be helpful for early season feedback. The camp experience offers an opportunity to build camaraderie with other competitors. One additional summer event, plus one event in September, offers additional feedback and critique.
Can a skater at a competition in the United States, be their own coach at that competition? Yes, but he/she would need to meet the coach compliance criteria listed on the U.S. Figure Skating Coaches page, which includes:
U.S. Figure Skating Full Membership (either through a member club or as an individual)
Completion of SafeSport Training
Successfully pass the annual background screen
Verification of current coach liability insurance
Completion of CER Courses
Additional requirement – PSA Membership if coaching in qualifying competitions only
If compliant, he/she would be credentialed as an athlete at the competition. All of the compliance information is available on the U.S. Figure Skating Coaches page.
Welcome to the first Ask IDC Question & Answer (Q&A)! Thank you for submitting all of your great questions over the past few weeks.
Who decides which rhythms/patterns will be part of the rhythm dance each year?
The ISU’s Ice Dance Technical Committee determines which rhythms and pattern will be skated each season. At the World Championships in Saitama, Japan, the ISU Ice Dance Technical Committee conducted a Coaches’ Meeting and discussed the 2019-2020 Senior and Junior Rhythm and Free Dances. On April 15, the ISU released Communication #2239, which contains technical rules for the 2019/20 season. Both are great resources to learn more about the junior and senior rhythm dances for the 2019/20 season.
Why does IDC watermark their photos? Ice-dance.com has been watermarking photos since we first opened our galleries in 2002. Photos are the property of each individual photographer, so watermarking our images allows us to easily find our photos if they are posted anywhere else on the internet. Prior to 2014, we posted the photographer name vertically going up the lower right side of the photo. After finding that our photos were appearing in magazines, without the photographer’s permission, we made the decision to change our watermark to an image that wasn’t so easily removable.
Has IDC continued to ask skaters to blog from competitions? I don’t think I saw any IDC blogs in the 2018-19 season, and I miss them. I always enjoyed reading about the skaters’ experiences/adventures, and I was impressed that the skaters are such talented writers. Hope that you will keep the blogs coming.
We miss them too! We have been incredibly lucky that so many of the competitors have been willing to share their travel adventures with us and our readers. Several of the ice dancers who have blogged for us in the past have moved on from the competitive arena, so for next season, we will be casting a net to see if there are any teams who are interested in working with us. In addition, we are hoping to do athlete social media takeovers on Instagram.
There are many other ice dances available besides the standard pattern dances. Why don’t you promote a wider range? While our main focus is on the dances that are skated at the competitive levels, we are open to providing additional information on other ice dances. We do not currently have resources on other dances that are outside of the ISU manual, so if you have access to materials that could be shared via our website, reach out to us via our contact page.
That’s a wrap for our first Q & A! You can submit a question via our Ask IDC Q & A form. The goal is to answer a few each week, so if your question is not covered in this edition, check back next week. Some questions may require us to reach out to technical experts before we can respond, so please be patient.