The Ice Dancing
One of the most popular events at the Winter Olympic Games that are held every four years is the ice dancing competition. The competition is fierce as the different participants attempt to produce performances that will catch the judge’s eye and present them with an opportunity to win a gold medal.
The dances are complicated enough when performed on firm ground, but to execute them on ice makes them extremely difficult, as the dancers attempt to make them as complex as possible. The ice dance has been part of the Olympics since 1952 and in general, all ice dancing competitions consist of pairs.
There are similarities between ice dancing and pairs skating, but a close look will identify differences between the two competitions. Ice skating concentrates on the athletic abilities of the performers with greater throws and jumps, matched with precise coordination and timings. Ice dancing is performed to musical rhythm and the routine must resemble an actual dance as closely as possible. The dancers must remain as close as possible with no throws or jumps allowed. The dancers must never be separated by more than two arms-length at any time during the duration of the performance.
In a competition, the dancers have to complete a short dance and a free dance. The short dance comprises of a dance that has been chosen by the judges and is divided into roughly two parts. In the first half they must complete a sequence of steps. The Second half gives the dancers an opportunity to perform their own choreography.
The free dance allows the entrants to create their own programs with their own music and rhythms. This is the part of the event where the dancers are at their most creative, although there are some restrictions regarding what is required. This segment of the competition lasts 4 minutes long and is often the deciding factor in a close competition.
Ice dancing was first created in Great Britain in the 1930s and in the first international competitions the country dominated the events. In time, the Eastern European countries have become more proficient and took over from the British in terms of success. However, in recent times, the popularity of the event has resulted in many nation’s now producing performers and success is now shared between different countries.
Of all of the activities on the ice, dancing is one of the more popular. It combines the athletic and balance skills that are required to be a top-class skater with the ability to dance at the highest level. The dancers all have the best choreographers available and their dances on the ice produces a spectacle that many people flock to see.
In 1984 the British Dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean produced a performance at the Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games so perfect, that they recorded the highest scores for any figure skaters of all time. This was during a period of Russian domination by Russian dancers, but the pair’s dance to Ravel’s Bolero showed such technical perfection and emotional expression that no other couple could get close to the performance of the pair that evening. Ice dancing if performed well can bring theatre and drama to the ice in a manner that few other winter sports can manage.