ice dancing

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ice dancing,

ice-skating competition in which couples are required to perform dance routines to music. The sport gained popularity in the 1930s and the first world championships were held in 1950. Ice dancing is similar to pairs figure skating, but does not allow lifts or other strength moves. Ice dancing competitions now consist of two parts—a short dance and a free dance, which allows the greatest freedom of expression. The first Olympic ice dancing competition was in 1976. At that time, traditional ballroom dances comprised the core of skaters' programs. The leading ice dancers in the 1970s were the Soviets Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov. In the 1980s, the British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean dominated the sport with dramatic and innovative choreography performed to a variety of musical forms (e.g., popular, jazz, classical). They won four consecutive world championships (1981–84) and the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics. Outstanding in the late 1980s and early 1990s were the Russian ice dancers Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko.

Ice Dancing


the form of figure skating in which couples perform sets of particular dance patterns to the accompaniment of music. Unlike pair figure skating, ice dancing is not characterized by jumps or lifts, and there is no prolonged separation of partners. Ice dancing was recognized as a sport in 1948, when the Dance Technical Committee was formed by the International Skating Union. In 1975 the committee included representatives from 25 countries.

The current program for official competitions includes three compulsory dances, an original set dance, and a free dance. There are nine compulsory dances, including the waltz, quickstep, blues, rumba, and Argentinian tango, which are divided into three groups of three different dances. The group to be performed at a given competition is determined by casting lots 24 hours before the start of the competition. The original set dance consists primarily of elements of the compulsory dances performed at a set rhythm. The free program, which lasts four minutes, includes four parts, each part differing in tempo. The skaters choreograph the program themselves and select their musical accompaniment. Skating performance is judged according to a six-point system.

World ice-dancing championships have been held since 1952, European championships since 1954, and USSR championships (as part of the figure-skating competitions) since 1964. World champions have included J. Westwood and L. Demmy (1952–55), J. Markham and C. Jones (1957–58), D. Denny and C. Jones (1959–60), and D. Towler and B. Ford (1966–69), all from Great Britain, E. Romanová and P. Roman (1962–65), from the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, and L. A. Pakhomova and A. G. Gorshkov (1970–74) and I. V. Moiseeva and A. O. Minenkov (1975), from the USSR.

Ice dancing was added to the program of the Olympic Winter Games in 1976, and the first Olympic champions were Pakhomova and Gorshkov. In 1975, more than 5,000 people, including approximately 50 masters of sports, were studying ice dancing in the USSR. Outside the USSR, ice dancing is popular in Great Britain, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the Hungarian People’s Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the USA, the Polish People’s Republic, Austria, Italy, and Canada.


Ryzhkin, V. I. Tantsy na I’du. Moscow, 1970.
Ryzhkin, V. I. Ledovaia siuita. Moscow, 1975.
Chaikovskaia, E. A. Uiory russkogo tantsa. Moscow, 1972.