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Before You Choose an Ice Dance Coach

How to Find the Right Ice Dancing Teacher to Suit Your Figure Skating Needs


Young Ice Dancers

Young Ice Dancers

Young Ice Dancers - Photo Copyright JO ANN Schneider Farris

Are you interested in becoming an ice dancer? Your first step on that journey is to find an ice dancing coach who can guide you on the right ice dancing path.

Take Your Time:

If possible, take your time before deciding on an ice dancing coach. Your future as an ice dancer and figure skater can greatly be affected by who you decide to train with.

Types of Ice Dance Coaches:

  • Competitive ice dance coaches
  • Test-only ice dance teachers
  • Ice dancers who charge to partner figure skaters through ice dance tests
  • All-around ice dance coaches who teach recreational skaters, adults, test skaters, social ice dancers, and competitive ice dancers

What to Look For in a Competitive Ice Dance Coach:

If you are interested in competitive ice dancing, there are many things that should be considered before you choose an ice dance coach.
  1. Can the coach find you an ice dance partner?
  2. Are there other ice dancers training with the coach that will inspire your skating?
  3. Does the coach draw other ice dancers to a rink or club so that you are sure prospective partners are available to take you through ice dance tests? Are prospective partners training with that coach?
  4. Does the rink the coach teaches at encourage and support ice dancing?
  5. Does the coach understand the ice dancing IJS International Judging System?
  6. Is the coach up to date on all the changes and rules related to competitive ice dancing?
  7. Can the coach teach free dance, do choreography, teach step sequences, twizzles, dance spins, dance lifts, and pattern dances and short dances?
  8. Has the coach taught and trained other successful ice dance teams?
  9. Does the coach work with a team of coaches or work alone?
  10. Can the coach design your costumes, choose your music, and/or put together an entire competitive ice dance package?
  11. Is the coach an ice dance test Gold Medalist in both pattern ice dancing and free dance?
  12. Did the coach compete on the national or international level in ice dancing?
  13. Does the coach teach full-time? Part-time coaches are not the best choice when it comes to training competitive ice dancers.

Ice Dance Coaches For Test Figure Skaters:

Some figure skaters are not interested in competitive ice dancing, but are interested in taking ice dancing tests. A competitive ice dance coach is not necessary to achieve this goal.
  • The most economic way to pass ice dance tests is for women and girls to find a male ice dance coach who can combine the partnering for pattern ice dance tests with coaching, or for boys and men to find a female ice dance coach who can do the same thing.
  • If you are unable to find an ice dance coach who can also be your partner and skate with you through tests, find out in advance if the coach you are considering has a possible partner lined up to take you through ice dance tests.
  • Coaches who don't have test partners available for their students may be a good choice to teach skaters the solo portion of ice dance tests, but skaters should be aware that they may have to pay someone else to be a partner in order to pass ice dance tests.
  • If no possible ice dance partners of the opposite sex are available to take skaters through ice dance tests, US Figure Skating does permit an ice dance coach who is the same sex as a figure skater to skate with and partner skaters through ice dance tests, or skaters can consider the solo ice dance test track. Be aware that the solo test track will not qualify a skater to compete with a partner.
  • Make sure the coach you choose has fulfilled US Figure Skating's CER continuing education requirement. Those who are not CER compliant are not eligible to coach figure skaters at US Figure Skating test sessions.

Ice Dance Coaches For Social Ice Dancers:

Social ice dancers love ice dancing and are anxious to help and encourage figure skaters of all ages and levels to participate in social ice dancing, so sometimes, accomplished adult figure skaters who ice dance will volunteer their time to teach ice dancing skills.

Learning from other enthusiastic ice dancers is a great idea, but many skaters who are interested in social ice dancing may also like to have ice dance lessons from a qualified ice dance coach. All figure skating coaches who are qualified to teach ice dancing are good choices as social ice dance coaches. Look for someone who can teach you steps, timing, positions, and social ice dance session etiquette.

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