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Ice Dancing – The Epitome of Grace and Skill
The world of ice dancing recently received some good news. The Canadian ice dance duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who set the competition on fire at the Vancouver 2010 Games with their shimmering golden moves, took the stage at this month’s International Fall Classic of Skate Canada. This is their first performance together in nearly two and a half years; the last time they skated they won silver at the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia. And unsurprisingly, the score of 77.2 points they landed in the short dance was well ahead of the Danish pair who finished second.
However, there is still the Free Dance part of the competition.
Ice dancing is a popular sport under the discipline of figure skating; it became an official Olympic sport in 1976. As the term suggests, the routine involves a pair of a man and a woman performing pirouettes and rhythmic dance moves to a musical piece. There are strict requirements for performance to be assessed, such as no jumps and throws and no separation beyond two arm’s lengths.
Ice dancing differs greatly from figure skating where skater skills are focused on jumps and spins and precision footwork. This is one of the reasons why the artistic director of Ice Dance International, a professional company that performs all over the world, is keen to change the activity from “sport” to that of “art”. Ice dancing is all about expansive power and speed, flow and flight and the design we see on ice and so it is more of an art than a sport.
In the 1930s, many elements of what are known as compulsory dances included moves developed by the ice dances of Britain. Since their participation in the world championships in 1952, British teams have won twelve of the first sixteen world championships. Movements back then were more drawn to a straight carriage and angular movements. However, from the 1960s when more and more ice dances from Europe began to join, a new trend in dance moves began to emerge involving more upper body movement and greater speed.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Soviet dancers took center stage with their more theatrical styles based on ballet elements that emphasized extended line and speed rather than footwork. difficult. The Russian pair of Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov won the first international title when the dance became an official medal event.
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