At their 2010 congress, the International Skating Union approved the elimination of two competitions phases (compulsory dance and original dance) in favor of creating a new ‘short dance’, thus reducing the number of competition segments from three to two and bringing the discipline more in line with singles and pairs. The short dance, which took the original dance and merged it with required patterns/steps from a designated compulsory dance, made its debut in the 2010-11 season. For the Olympic season, teams at the senior level will incorporate required patterns/steps from the Finnstep, while the junior level teams will include patterns from the Quickstep. Both the Quickstep and Finnstep are based off of the ballroom quickstep.
In a Quickstep-styled dance, we should expect to see lively, light-hearted expression in both the body and faces. There should be a light bounce, but not too over-exaggerated.
On the Quickstep Pattern Dance, the best teams will seem like they are attached to the hip. The dance has relatively simple steps, but what really separates the good teams from the great teams are the sweeping edges, close skating, and smooth, light skating. The left outside choctaw coming out of the corner and the two inside edges after the flare are two great places to look for a couple’s pattern. Strong teams will take the choctaw deep into the center, and then from after the flare be able to sweep the edges back to the wall. A common challenge in this dance is when couples take the choctaw too far into center ice and they are unable to get back to the boards far enough, resulting a shift in pattern (if they were going to do consecutive patterns).
The Finnstep is a very quick dance. Besides the steps, the changes of hold and timing are the most difficult parts of the dance. Since this dance has only been competed a two competitions (Europeans and 4CC’s) ever since its creation, it will be interesting to see how couple’s choosing their own music is going to effect the dance even more. Some highlights are going to be the lady’s twizzles in the first half of the dance (the LFO and the RBI). The LFO twizzle comes around the first corner of the dance. The best teams will be able to do this twizzle with a lot of speed and ease, but looks are deceiving. The most difficult twizzle, however, is the RBI because the girl will exit on a forward outside edge. This takes a lot of control on her part and will show a team’s capability to partner and track. The best teams will find each other easily, but it’s very easy to get far apart.
Watch for the boy’s RBI to LBI open mohawk after the outside open choctaw. A common mistake is that the boy will end up doing a RBI 3-turn. This has a lot to do with the difficult of the partnering. The tracking has to be perfect for the boy to execute the turn.
The stop is a highlight of the dance. It should be execute with lightness on the toes and an elegant frame. Finally, in the last crossing section, this is another difficult partnering section. It’s easy for the partners to drift far away from each other on the choctaw hops. the best teams will be able to perform this with the lightness, speed, and decent amount of depth. It won’t be sweeping edges like on the Quickstep, but the steps also shouldn’t be be going on a straight, diagonal line either.