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Ice Dance or Pairs....Which Figure Skating Discipline Is More Fun?

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Pair Skaters Do High Over the Head LIfts and Other Athletic Moves

Pair Skaters Do High Over the Head LIfts and Other Athletic Moves

Photo Copyright © JO ANN Schneider Farris
Question: Ice Dance or Pairs....Which Figure Skating Discipline Is More Fun?
It's hard for ice skating fans to understand the differences between ice dancing and pair skating, but the two figure skating disciplines are very, very different. Many young figure skaters also would like to give ice dance or pairs a try and wonder which discipline is more fun to do. This article gives reasons for taking part in either figure skating discipline.
Answer: Ice Dancing is ballroom dancing on the ice. In pair skating the man lifts the lady above his head and the pair does difficult acrobatic moves. Spins are done together in both disciplines, but in pair skating difficult solo jumps and spins are also done in unison.

The Fun Part of Ice Dancing Is Free Dance:

The part of ice dancing that fans see on television is usually free dance. In free dance, skaters do dance lifts, dance spins, twizzles, and intricate footwork and dance step sequences. Until recently, free dance had to be done with a partner, but solo free dance is now a competitive figure skating event.

The "Not So Fun" Part of Ice Dancing (For Some Figure Skaters) May Be Pattern Dances:

In pattern ice dances, 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 ice dances.

The beginning pattern dances are easy to do. The dances get harder and harder depending on the test level. Ice dancing can look easier than single or pair skating, but actually, can be more difficult. For that reason, some ice skaters don't like ice dancing.

To pass any ice dance test, even at the lower level, skaters must know the timing, steps, and correct ice dancing technique. Some figure skaters love pattern dances; others don't always give pattern ice dancing a chance and say that it is boring. The technical requirements for pattern dances correctly takes concentration and skill.

Pair Skating Requires a Partner:

Ice dancing can be practiced and performed by solo skaters, but pair skating requires a team of both a man and a lady.

Pairs Is Fun Right Away:

It takes some time after an individual begins ice dancing to be ready to do free dance, which may be the more fun part of ice dancing, but pair skating may seem fun right from the start since pair skaters get to do jumps, spins, and lifts right from the beginning.

Famous Ice Dancers and Pair Skaters:

At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White showed the world how very exciting and athletic ice dancing can be. Pair skating also delighted Olympic crowds. Chinese pair skaters Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao won.

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won gold in ice dancing at the 1984 Winter Olympics. They changed ice dancing and are considered figure skating legends. Torvill and Dean did a free dance performance at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo that is remembered as a legendary performance. They skated to Maurice Ravel's Boléro and received nine perfect 6.0 scores.

Irina Rodnina is the only pair skater who has won ten successive world figure skating titles and three successive Olympic figure skating gold medals. In addition, Rodnina won eleven European figure skating pairs championships. She is considered the most successful pair skater in history.

Which Discipline Should a Figure Skater Choose?:

Pair skating is not for everyone. Pair skaters must be athletic and fearless. It's scary for girls to be thrown in the air at high speeds and to do dangerous overhead lifts. Boys need to be strong. In addition, the best pair skaters are also strong single skaters.

In the past, skaters who did not like to jump chose ice dancing, but in recent years that has changed. Both disciplines require strong skating skills. Skaters should choose the figure skating discipline that suits their athletic ability. Although ice dancing does not require jumping, it is just as fun and challenging as pair skating. Skaters should choose a figure skating discipline that gives them happiness.

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