Our annual technical breakdown of the pattern dances for the 2015-16. This season, it has been expanded to include patterns for the juvenile, intermediate and novice levels.
Waltz, March, Foxtrot, Polka
PD: Ravensburger Waltz
This year, the Senior dancers will have the same required rhythm patterns as the juniors. The required rhythm is the waltz and teams may use any number of the following rhythms: foxtrot, march, or polka. With the vast rhythm styles, we should see a variety of interpretations from classical to modern.
Teams will be required to do one pattern of the Ravensburger Waltz, one short lift, one set of a sequential twizzles, and a partial step sequence. This year, the partial step sequence can be skated to any of the aforementioned rhythms and will not have required elements from the pattern dance featured. There is a mandatory stop to show when the partial step sequence will begin. The partial step sequence should characterize the rhythm chosen by the team. The technical panel will evaluate the partial step sequence with similar criteria as the Style B Step Sequence by the technical panel, however there are no pattern retrogressions, loops, separations, or stops (besides the one in the beginning) permitted in the sequence.
Waltz, March, Foxtrot, Polka
PD: Starlight Waltz
This year for the short dance, the required rhythm for the pattern dance is the waltz. They may also use any number of the following rhythms: foxtrot, march, or polka. With the vast styles of rhythm choices, the short dances can be varied to showcase classical ballroom style interpretations to something more contemporary or modern.
Teams will be required to do one pattern of the Starlight Waltz, one short lift, one set of sequential twizzles, and a non-touching step sequence (midline, diagonal, or circular patterns). The short dance should thread all of these required elements with the required rhythms and theme seamlessly. In addition, the team needs to showcase the distinct difference of the different styles chosen.
This is the first year the Westminster Waltz will be competed on the Novice level. The “West” is a waltz that combines difficult steps, long lines, and elegance. The key areas the technical panel will be evaluating: the open mohawk, the lady’s cross roll three, the man’s cross roll swing, the lady’s swing rocker, the man’s swing counter, and the lady’s right forward inside three turn.
The Killian is a high-energy dance, fun dance. It is similar to a march, but does not necessarily have to be one. This will lend itself to a lot of creative music choices from the teams. The music and the skating should have a rhythmic cadence and energetic, happy character.
The technical panel and the judges will be looking at the cleanliness and depth of edges of the outer-outer edges (steps 3 and 4) and the open choctaw (steps 9-10). The stronger teams will be able to maintain the speed throughout the entire dance and utilize their edges to go from near center ice all the way back to the boards on those difficult steps.
The American Waltz is a structured dance primarily focused on technique. Pattern, cleanliness of the turns, and unison are key to good American. When the three-turns are executed well, the team will turn as a single unit with the free leg of the turning partner brushing the side of skating foot before swinging back. The pattern on the strongest teams will not only utilize the entire ice surface, but both patterns will be symmetrically placed on the ice.
While it is a structured dance, the American Waltz music is characterized as a Viennese Waltz in the ballroom world. While the music is quick, there is an elegant lilt and poise characteristic of all waltzes. Teams should showcase a subtle softness in their skating while performing the dance.
The Foxtrot is a smooth dance that requires supple knee action to showcase its character. The Foxtrot must be danced very close together with precise footwork. It introduces teams skating in “open position” (also known as Foxtrot position) more extensively than in previous dances. Open position is one of the most difficult positions to skate together. Partnering in the open section because the teams will flip from open position to closed position. The strongest teams will be able to do this seamlessly while skating close together and showcasing deep lobes.
The most difficult part of the dance is the lady’s open mohawk on the end pattern. The lady needs to maintain a strong edge, while the man needs to create a “pocket” for her to skate into. When done successfully, it creates an effective sweeping motion from the edges to the free leg extension, which showcases the dance’s character.
The Hickory Hoedown is a square dance/country-western style. Dancers should utilize the accents of the music and steps to reflect the unique carefree character.
The dance should be skated with deep edges and lots of character. This is usually best showcased on the progressive sequence leading into the end pattern.
The Ten-Fox should is a smooth dance that showcases the soft knee action and effortless glide. The team should skate as a single unit across the ice with seamless transitions. One key place to see such a transition is the lady’s back outside swing roll to simple step forward, which is complemented by the man’s change of edge. Teams should execute the dance with precise footwork and close partnering.