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Pattern Dance

Definition: Ice dancing is ballroom dancing on ice. In a pattern dance, skaters do set steps and patterns on the ice. They skate to a prescribed rhythm and tempo of music. Skaters do waltzes, tangos, foxtrots, and other dances on the ice.

Pattern dances are part of the figure skating test structure and can be skated with or without a partner. Even though pattern ice dances can be skated solo, pattern ice dances are meant to be done with a partner, so there are a number of partner holds and positions.

Also Known As: In 2010, the ISU International Skating Union changed the term "compulsory dance" to "pattern dance."


Most pattern ice dances include certain basic and standard ice dance steps which include strokes, progressives, chassés, slide chassés, swing rolls, cross steps, mohawks and three turns.

Pattern ice dances can be done at a competitive, social, or recreational level. Some adult figure skaters especially enjoy doing pattern ice dances since no jumping and spinning is involved. High level pattern ice dances are very technical and difficult.

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