It’s where sport meets art. This is true of a lot of figure skating, but in ice dance, the artistic demands are highest. And, while ice dance is open to a lot of criticism for not being ‘sporty’ enough, I say that if you’re balancing your partner on your thigh while she does a back-bend on one leg, while you’re skating at speed across the ice, IT’S A SPORT.
It’s a story in four minutes. I love that a brief ice dance program can conjure up a wealth of emotions and experiences. The best programs are like bitesize novels to me.
It’s FUN. Just this season in ice dance, we have a Rolling Stones medley, an (ill-advised) recreation of a bad 90s movie, and a reimagining of Carmen starring Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele!
It’s accessible. I love figure skating, but I’ll grudgingly admit it’s a little hard to get into. With ice dance, however, it’s much easier to understand why the top teams are the top teams. You might not be able to tell when a triple axel’s underrotated, but you’ll be able to tell immediately when an ice dance team’s twizzles (rotations on the ice) are out of sync.
It’s rapidly evolving. The judging system for ice dance changed a few years ago, which has led teams to incorporate harder lifts and spins into their programs. Unlike Pairs, where all the lifts and throws are basically the same, ice dance teams are pushing to do new and daring things every year.
It has pop music. Ice dance allows skating to music with lyrics, so that means there’s a lot of pop music. All right, some people would argue that Jennifer Lopez songs don’t enhance sport, but you know what? The Spanish version of ‘On the Floor’ is CATCHY.
It has showmance. Figure skating must be the only sport where creating the illusion that you’re fucking earns you MORE POINTS. No, Scott and Tessa are not a couple. Yes, they will keep pretending they MIGHT be until the next Olympics.
Photo credit: Elina Paasonen