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Author Topic: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?  (Read 1453 times)

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Offline riley876

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Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« on: December 07, 2016, 10:43:48 PM »
Why doesn't ice dance ever look like this?  Either at a social or competition level?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDDRjVWApHM

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2016, 01:37:46 AM »
Because you don't need skates to do bachata? 

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2016, 06:39:43 PM »
From what I cansurmise in watching ice dancing, it has become a sort of acrobatic, hectic, throw in the kitchen sink kind of affair. I suppose it has to do with waht counts for scoring. Artistry is not required or desired.

I get annoyed watching much of it since the steps and moves have for the most part nothing to do with the music playing. It appears roller skaters listen and perform to he music played.

Ok fire away, show where my POV is in error.
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Offline icedancer

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2016, 08:29:52 PM »
Well, I don't know - I just watched the Grand Prix final ice-dance short dance segment and was moved many many times - the skating and skaters are AMAZING.

Offline riley876

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2016, 11:59:49 PM »
From what I cansurmise in watching ice dancing, it has become a sort of acrobatic, hectic, throw in the kitchen sink kind of affair. I suppose it has to do with waht counts for scoring. Artistry is not required or desired.

That's certainly the case with freeskating.  I'm not sure it's quite THAT bad with ice dance yet though.  I do still enjoy watching ice dance a LOT, but I do get a feeling of loss, that somehow, something vital is missing.  Something that is NOT missing in regular dance (or indeed in the original clip)

I get annoyed watching much of it since the steps and moves have for the most part nothing to do with the music playing. It appears roller skaters listen and perform to he music played.

The above inline skaters certainly seem to be feeling and moving to the music,  but I assure you that the general situation in artistic roller dance is no different than in ice dance.   After all both share the same sterile victorian ballroom heritage.

Offline riley876

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2016, 02:18:56 AM »
OK, having just watched the GPF SDs.  I think I can now say what the problems are:

#1 "Could you plausibly believe, that the two skaters could simply get on the floor, and improvise up such a routine?"

I know this must sounds impossible to everyone here, but coming from a swing dancing background, where improvisation is a vital part of the form (like it is in jazz too) I assure you that every swing dancer learns to improv/follow from DAY ONE.   Sometimes you do learn set routines, but they're definitely lead/followed too.  If you tried to lead a set routine without actually leading it, any decent follower would just stand there (in an idle pattern, improvising herself)

Hence you can have random people dancing together, with NO choreography planned and have it instantly work, e.g. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dwemqOBtho   

Can you imagine ice dance ever being like this?  Wouldn't it be out-of-this-world good if it was?   Overtly choreographed routines lose the connection between the partners that you have to have for genuine improvisation.   And hence are kindov pointless.  I agree with Query when he said partner dancing needs the connection.   Without it you may as well be dancing 2 solo routines.  Connection is NOT unison, it's communication.   And it's a actual tangible physical thing, not an ephemeral airy-fairy subjective thing.

The 1st half of the Shibs SD has a hint of this.  The rest, not so much.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOLkBrJcdw8

#2 "With the audio muted, could you a) tell what sort of music they're skating to and b) count time with that music" (without cheating because you recognise the patterns)

#3 The insistence that skaters are always travelling.  Fast.

Yeah, I get the idea that it's a practical concession to getting many dancers on the ice at once and have everyone flow without colliding.  Comes from the old foxtrot etiquette thing from ballroom dance (i.e. the foxtrotters travel around the perimeter, the relatively stationary dancers stay in the middle ).   But this is screwing up the actual danceability.   You can't possibly have decent lead/follow connection when you've got the constraints of dealing with high speed travel too.   

#4 Ice dance seems to want to turn EVERYTHING into a smooth dance, and perimeter-ise it.   

It's really about the difference between the "smooth" dances and the "rhythm" dances (as explained nicely here: http://www.ourdances.com/id66.html ).  Shoehorning quickstep, swing, blues, tango, or anything else latin into a smooth "goes around the perimeter" box, ruins it entirely.



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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2016, 05:31:27 AM »
It seems you don't understand how leading works in ice dance. 

#1 Improvisation is a terrible idea for partnered ice dance.  It's just dangerous.  The speeds are much higher.  The lead changes every lobe or turn, which is every 1 to 6 seconds and occurs irregularly.  You can't improvise when the lead changes that fast.

I don't see why improvisation is better than something that's practised.  It's just different.

#2 It isn't difficult to tell the type of music for a skilled dance team.  Most people can't count time to music with it turned on.

#3 If you want to go slow take your skates off.  Going fast is the fun part.

Again, in ice dance the lead changes every lobe.  The difficulty of leading is based on the tempo and number of beats per lobe, not how fast you are going.  I have had no difficulty with lead when dancing at high speed.

#4 There are no "rhythm" dances in ice dance.  Just because an ice dance has the same name and music as a ballroom dance does not mean they have (or were intended to have) much substance in common.  The inventor of the ice dance may have had no knowledge of the ballroom dance.  Think of ice dance as skating which has been influenced by ballroom dancing (overwhelmingly waltz), not as dancing on ice.

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2016, 03:32:53 PM »
#1 Improvisation is a terrible idea for partnered ice dance.  It's just dangerous.

Which would increase the excitement. Wouldn't stop everyone.

In practice, Ballroom and Social are often choreographed too, especially at competitive levels, or sometimes for wedding dances, in which case lead/follow no longer refers to the routine itself.

Offline riley876

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2016, 05:12:19 PM »
It seems you don't understand how leading works in ice dance.

I will admit I have no experience whatsoever of ice partner dancing.  But I do have lots of experience in swing dancing leading and following, and I can tell from just looking at ice dancers, that whatever you call leading is something entirely different from what I know as leading.  In fact, in the vast majority of case, I don't see leading/following at all.    Please enlighten me, what is it in ice dancing, and what is it's purpose?  And whatever it is, why couldn't you live without it, since it's all totally choreographed anyway?

#1 Improvisation is a terrible idea for partnered ice dance.  It's just dangerous.  The speeds are much higher.  The lead changes every lobe or turn, which is every 1 to 6 seconds and occurs irregularly.  You can't improvise when the lead changes that fast.

Maybe not, but that leads to question about the necessity of speed, and turning everything into a high speed perimeter dance.  Sure speed is fun and all that, and works for certain dances, e.g. viennese waltzes.  But there's obviously a cost.   And one cost is the ability to be able to safely lead/follow.  This BTW is the funnest part of swing dancing.   The physical communication, the exchange of momentum, and the creation on the spot of something amazing and fleeting.   Ice dancers really have no idea what they're missing.   

I don't see why improvisation is better than something that's practised.  It's just different.

Improv in partner dancing is better, because it requires actual real real-time communication between the partners.   Improv is a conversation.   Sure you can have practised recited conversations,  (e.g. like a theater play has), and we all know it's not really made up on the spot,  but the magic is that it's plausible that it could have been.

2 actors alternatingly (or worse simultaneously) reciting lines that don't form a conversation is pointless twaddle. 

That's the current state of ice dancing, at least that's how it looks from the spectator perspective.

#2 It isn't difficult to tell the type of music for a skilled dance team.

Any unskilled person can easily spot a tango done on feet.   You'd have to be an ice dancer yourself to identify an ice tango.   Ice dance really does look that generic.  It's almost considerable as a single unique style by itself.

#3 If you want to go slow take your skates off.  Going fast is the fun part.

So, why not give up the ice dance lark and just do speed skating?   Does ice dancing have nothing to offer without the speed?   At this point, I'm wondering....

Again, in ice dance the lead changes every lobe.  The difficulty of leading is based on the tempo and number of beats per lobe, not how fast you are going.  I have had no difficulty with lead when dancing at high speed.

Whatever you are calling lead, is clearly not what I'm calling lead.   

You lead in real dancing anytime you want to impart linear or rotational acceleration/deceleration to your partner (which is pretty much continuous in swing dancing),  or in more specialised cases, it's a forewarning that you're about to do something special, so your partner can do something matching and special too.   It's exactly a communication of intentions.   Which is why improvisation works seamlessly when true leading and following is being done.   

#4 There are no "rhythm" dances in ice dance.

Indeed there currently isn't, but there COULD BE.  e.g. something like the original clip I posted.    Not claiming they're the possible pinnacle of the form, but they're the first example I've ever seen of actual partner dancing on skates, that wasn't a smooth ballroom based dance.   

Just because an ice dance has the same name and music as a ballroom dance does not mean they have (or were intended to have) much substance in common.  The inventor of the ice dance may have had no knowledge of the ballroom dance.  Think of ice dance as skating which has been influenced by ballroom dancing (overwhelmingly waltz), not as dancing on ice.

Which is a shame.  It could be so much more....

Which would increase the excitement. Wouldn't stop everyone.

Certainly didn't stop the couple in the original clip I posted.   

In practice, Ballroom and Social are often choreographed too, especially at competitive levels, or sometimes for wedding dances, in which case lead/follow no longer refers to the routine itself.

Swing routines for exhibitions and competitions are often totally choreographed too, but they still properly lead/followed, to the point where the leader could trivially change something in the middle, and the follower could and would just go along with it, without anyone even noticing.   Like a polished jazz band can seamlessly deal with any place the tune goes.


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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2016, 06:38:52 PM »
So - let me get this straight - you have no experience with ice pattern dancing.  Have you ever seen ice pattern dancing?

Ice pattern dancing is like the basics of dance - the steps, with a partner or solo.  The dances build on one another from the simplest to the most difficult (in U.S. called Preliminary through International Dance) -

In ice pattern dancing everyone does the same steps - in the beginning the partners are in a side-by-side hold and the man and the woman do the same steps.  As you move up through the difficulty levels the steps diverge from the simplest waltz hold with man facing the woman throughout most of the dance (called the Swing Dance, probably not because it bears any resemblance to Swing Dancing on the floor - it is a slow foxtrot 4-4 rhythm) - to dances where the partner-holds change throughout the dance and the man and woman are doing different steps.

What you are seeing on TV is the short dance - and the free dance - the Short Dance has a bit of a pattern dance melded into it - in this years GPF what you are seeing the Shibs doing in the first half of the dance is a dance called the Midnight Blues embedded into the dance - the 2nd half of the dance is... well, I'm not sure what it is (because I am not that familiar with the rhythms chosen for this year because I am not a competition judge) - faster and different but still has that Blues rhythm (I loved it BTW).

Free Dance is still just all of those basic steps that are learned in the pattern dances with lifts and spins and twizzles (which are required and heavily and completely choreographed down to the length of time that are allowed on each of the lifts) - there are rules about music and rhythm and such - these have changed through the years - some years it seems the couples rely more on classical music - then there is the criticism that it does not have a beat and so the next year the requirements are that there be a beat - so the sport is always evolving...

So in your example of the inline skaters doing the Bachata in your initial question - I am sure that ice-dances at a lot of different skill levels could do this.  The couple in the video - was this their first time ever meeting?  Hard to know.  They don't look particularly skilled at inline (and I know nothing about inline so who knows - but especially the man) -

Ice dancers at most every competitive level also do ballroom dance and other types of dance as part of their training.  I would guess that the French team - Guillaime Cizeron probably has a lot of ballet training - just the way he moves...

So - not sure why you think ice-dancing should be like any other kind of dance - for me - as an aging ice-dancer, the idea of doing ballroom - where you don't have the glide - sounds difficult and boring.  JMHO of course.  I know a LOT of people are turned off by ice-dancing because of the music and the repetitiveness of the steps but just realize that it is the basics.  Of course it is boring. 

Plus it is fun when you know all of the steps you can go places and skate with just about anybody!  There is some improvisation that goes on because of varying levels of skill and speed and age.

Oh - and as far as who is leading - in pattern dance there are some that say the man is always leading.  Then there is the school of thought that whoever is going backwards is leading.  But if you are doing pattern dancing on a crowded public or freestyle session the person who is going forwards is probably doing some of the leading because they can see where the team is going and can steer to make sure they are not going to run into someone who is skating - most like the people you are skating with have no idea where you are going so everyone has to be vigilant.  It would be like people ballroom or swing or whatever dancing while they are walking down the street - the people walking have no idea where you are dancing and so you have to watch out and make your dance fit around the walkers instead of the other way around.

Offline ls99

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2016, 09:02:19 PM »
Enjoyed the above string of discussion. BTW my thinking is along riley876's.  This discussion sort of illuminates the question in some other thread discussion on how to make figure skating popular.

Whenever I watch any sort of figure skating show or competition my prime criteria is: Are they skating to the music that is playing, are their timing on the beat, if they jump do they take off or land on the beat.  If the above are no, I immediately stop watching.  Speed be damned. Why is it so important, unless the music calls for it.  Maybe some choreographers just dont have any musicality?

I am not a musician or a great dancer. I do have a fairly good sense of beat and rhytm,  for me competition skaters not being in harmony with the music is akin to screetching chalk on the blackboard. (Hmm old school stuff, waay before whiteboard and dry erase) If the only thing that matters is technique and ooogobs of jumps, I am not interested. And I suspect the average viewer looks for artistic performance. But I may be waaay out there, wrong.

 OK off my soapbox.
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Offline riley876

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2016, 10:31:50 PM »
So - let me get this straight - you have no experience with ice pattern dancing.  Have you ever seen ice pattern dancing?

I have no experience DOING partner ice pattern dancing (and only a little doing solo).   But I have seen more than enough of it over the last 2 years of going to the local ice and artistic roller dance competitions.   By world standards, I know they're both pretty light on talent and even lighter on male participation (the last ice dance test session I had a nosy at, one of the male coaches skated with no less than 6 different partners).    And of course way too much of my life sifting through youtube clips over the years (though clearly not enough clips of the midnight blues to be able to recognise it)

Leading has nothing to do with the direction of travel.   Leading is the leader telling the follower where to go, via physical communication,  such as e.g. light pulling/pushing through hand-to-hand holds.   The follower has to be actually intuitively responding to the leading, or it's all pointless of course.

Ballet doesn't have lead/follow either, so that won't help anyone with this.   Leading and following is absolutely a ground up basis of real partner dancing.   More-so than even the footwork.  Not a tack-on afterthought for advanced dancers. 

Sheesh, this is like trying to explain the essence of jazz to classical musicians.  The paradigm is just too different to bridge the gap.   

Of course, I know that ice dance will never ever change, and I don't particularly need or even want it to.   I just want to see dancing-on-ice being done as well,  because if it was developed by those who can skate well, it would be an amazing sight to behold.   And even more amazing to do.   This thread is largely venting my growing vague disappointment with the sport of ice-dancing (in the light of my experience of swing dancing),  and my exploration of different tacks.    An attempt to somehow marry the best of both worlds.

I never said the Bachata couple were particularly talented, only that they're actually dancing.   A rhythm dance in fact.

More people dancing on skates, with genuine lead/follow happening:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwFQGaJsWes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF-NfC_kgro
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kj9BHueA6M

Just to prove that it can be done.  See, not "exciting" at all.  Perfectly doable.  Not saying any are particularly technically talented.   But they all clearly know what leading/following is.

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2016, 06:28:45 PM »
Tango on ice wearing rental skates, in Budapest.  Shure are having fun at it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnYa25tJyIM

A guy about my age with young lady, starts about 1 min mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQBIg36PSGU

Couples tango at about 3 min mark. Roxanne.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZhfa83Q2kM
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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2016, 02:29:33 PM »
In all fairness, the examples you show of people doing lead/follow improvised dance on skates are much lower speeds of motion than are expected in "ice dance", even at a "beginner" level.

I was hoping someone would clarify the lead/follow thing in ice dance. I've never quite understood it. My impression (I was taught the backwards-skater-leads theory) is that the leader still directs the motions of the follower - but the patterns of motion are already choreographed and set. I think the leader only changes the follower's motion by at most a few inches, so they mesh perfectly, moving from dance hold to freed position to dance hold. But that may not quite be right.

What is definitely true is that ice dance holds are much more solid and rigid than I was taught in (beginner level) ballroom and social dance. (For example, at least at that beginner level, in mixers, where you dance with many different people, you are taught to use a very loose hold, so the hold won't hurt anyone.) Perhaps that may be because of the greater speeds and potential forces in ice dance, where you need more force to lock people together. Perhaps because beginner level ballroom and social dance is expected to be gracious and flirtatious, whereas ice dance is always taken very seriously. For the most part, ice dance only looks gracious and flirtatious. But I assume that at a competitive level, where ballroom and social dance includes lifts and throws, they need very solid holds too.

For example, in one of the standard swing-era throws, where the man reaches between his own legs to the arms of the lady, who put her arms their to grab, and tosses her over top his shoulders into a back flip, where she lands on her feet, all done at early swing era tempo, as high as about 200 beats/minute, any inexactitude could lead to injury.

OTOH, my mom, who grew up in that era, told me that most dancers never did that move. It was mostly something you saw in the movies. She does remember a move, where the female square dancers in a square-of-4 (she also loved folk and square dance, and helped organized two college folk festivals) would be "swung out" off their feet, with their feet in the air, as the square rotated around. Even that would have obviously required fairly strong handholds.

Regardless, back to ice dance: Despite what I just said about ice dance lead/follow, on a crowded dance or freestyle session, the forwards skater is usually responsible for looking ahead and directing his or her partner away from potential collisions with other skaters. I don't think that is termed "leading" him/her - it's just basic safety and courtesy.

It should be noted that in some televised ballroom and social dance competitions, dancer couples are held responsible for avoiding collisions too, and must modify choreography to fit. In fact, dancers often deliberately place themselves in the way of a second couple, to disrupt their choreography. If that second couple collides with them, the second couple loses points.

What might be more amusing is to see the equivalent of a rap-battle on ice. I.E., the skaters get in eachothers' faces, and move aggressively in each other's way. But that already has a name: "ice hockey". The participants generally have to dress padded for battle, at least when the game is done under the rubrick of one of the major organizations, like "USA Hockey".

Now that I think of it, maybe ice hockey is much closer to the type of lead/follow dance that you desire. "Partners" do lead and follow each other's motions. What is more, in hockey, you often dance with "partners" of the same gender, which might be more to your taste. Why not give it a try?

Incidentally, off ice, "English Country Dance" might be more to your liking too. In tradition E.C.D., you dance more with people of your gender than the opposite gender. What is more, at least when I attended a session in Silver Spring, MD, they were almost all male anyway.

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2016, 09:07:17 PM »
The making of an ice dance performance by a ballett choreographer.

The intersting bit to me is the discussion of why some movement is done, for example the offering and acceptance of a hand. The key element being: the purpose for any movement.

"Watch as Ballet Great Edward Villella collaborates with Douglas Webster and The Company Skaters to create this beautiful piece of Dance on Ice in this "The Making of Reveries". "

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBr82B2x8cI
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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2016, 10:07:47 PM »
As my wife and I watched the Grand Prix shows we started to like and appreciate ice dance more. We could definitely tell the pairs that stayed in sync with the music. As I gain skills I have decided a focus on ice dance might be fun. I am more interested in edges and some spins than in jumping.

Watching pairs in the GP was painful at times, as it seems everyone has to attempt side by side triples, with more than half the pairs having one partner falling. Many times the skating and the music had nothing to do with each other.
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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2016, 09:44:50 AM »
In all fairness, the examples you show of people doing lead/follow improvised dance on skates are much lower speeds of motion than are expected in "ice dance", even at a "beginner" level.

..........

Perhaps the first question to answer is:  What is dance?  The classic defeinition would be: A vertical expression of horizontal desire.



Thus rigidly locked frenetic high speed race several times around the rink side by side, ignoring the beat of the music, with rarely looking  at, or even into the eyes of ones partner presents even less of a connection than something from the victorian age.
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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2016, 12:01:41 PM »
As my wife and I watched the Grand Prix shows we started to like and appreciate ice dance more. We could definitely tell the pairs that stayed in sync with the music. As I gain skills I have decided a focus on ice dance might be fun. I am more interested in edges and some spins than in jumping.

Watching pairs in the GP was painful at times, as it seems everyone has to attempt side by side triples, with more than half the pairs having one partner falling. Many times the skating and the music had nothing to do with each other.

Yes yes yes!  Dance is fun.  Are there any ice dancers at your rink?  It is all about edges and turns and it is fun to skate with a partner and you will learn more about skating than you thought was possible!

You can still work on spins of course.

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2017, 10:42:02 AM »
I'm not sure that you're watching the right dances if you want to see dances that are the ice  equivalent of ballroom dancing. Some years ago I saw a high level local couple do the pattern dance of the Paso Doble and I've never stopped testing dance since, hoping I can get to it someday. It looked fantastic--much more like ballroom than the clip you posted.

If you want to do ice dances that look or feel more as though you're dancing, you have to suffer through the beginner dances that teach you basic steps and movements before you can do dances that really feel like dances. I've just started the Foxtrot and the European and they're so much more fun than the earlier dances that I could just weep with relief--but I couldn't have tried them without having done the earlier dances. It would be like demanding that your toddler do a Quickstep before learning to walk.

My coach is pretty high level and is always very clear about who is leading and what it should look like. It may not be as obvious to people unfamiliar with ice dance and all the pattern dances, but it's there if the dance is being done correctly.

I've done some ballroom as well and it was fun, but if you screw up and crash into people, or improvise unsuccessfully, the most likely result is embarrassment or bruises. In ice dance, as we used to remind the kids when I was coaching hockey, you're out there with knives on your feet. Just because ice dance doesn't exactly parallel ballroom doesn't mean it's not dance.

You should be aware, too, that the ice dance you're watching on TV is not representative of what most people who do ice dances are doing. You should really go to a serious ice dance social or weekend if you want to see what people who aren't competitors are doing.

Offline icedancer

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Re: Why Doesn't Ice Dance Ever Look Like This?
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2017, 12:57:58 PM »

If you want to do ice dances that look or feel more as though you're dancing, you have to suffer through the beginner dances that teach you basic steps and movements before you can do dances that really feel like dances. I've just started the Foxtrot and the European and they're so much more fun than the earlier dances that I could just weep with relief--but I couldn't have tried them without having done the earlier dances. It would be like demanding that your toddler do a Quickstep before learning to walk.


I totally agree with this whole post!

But I just wanted to comment that the Foxtrot is the first dance where you actually feel like you are DANCING - and it gets better and more fun the higher up the dance-ladder you go!  I'll never forget the first time I did the rocker in the Rocker Foxtrot - what a great feeling!!

Have fun ice-dancing!