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 2014-15 season, teams at the senior level will incorporate required patterns/steps from the Paso Doble, while the junior level teams will include patterns from the Silver Samba.
In the samba, we should expect to see an energetic and fast dance with sharp extensions, lively facial expressions, and body movements. The more the teams move their arms and bodies while maintaing the dance, the better!
On the Silver Samba pattern dance, you will see a lot of sharp, neat footwork, while still maintaining the smoothness that’s needed in a Latin dance. In the first half, the stronger teams will have a very large lobe crossing the midline, while still being able to make it back to the wall. A key point that will be easy to spot will be the swings. Key Point 1 and 2 both contain swing movements, where the teams will have to do the correct swing movement of the free leg during the step. The second key point will be the hardest to achieve. Not only do they have to do the proper swings, but they have to do the correct edges, change of edge, and crossed step as well. Once the teams are through that very technical part, the second side of the dance is all about correct edges, and making sure their feet on the slip steps stay on the ice for the correct number of beats.
In the Paso Doble, the man always plays the role of the matador, while the lady can portray the cape or the bull. Both roles have strong and sharp qualities, but it will be up to the skater to take on the role as the bull or the cape. Teams will have the freedom to do either, and it will be very interesting to see which role they take.
During the first pattern of the Paso Doble, there are three key points. The first key point contains steps for both the lady and the man, and involve neat feet and clear edges. The hardest part about this key point will be the inside-outside change of edge, which have to be equal sizes. The second key point is for the man. A good way to spot if it’s correct or not will be if the steps on the short axis have a constant curve, instead of a flat line. The last key point is the cross roll section, which will be hard to achieve. This section has to have correct edges, correct foot placement, and accurate timing.
After the first pattern, the next pattern is called a Partial Step Sequence. The only key points that stay in the second pattern are the slip step section, and part of the cross roll section, which have to remain on the same part as the ice as the first pattern. Everything else in between these steps are up to the choreographers. The skaters are not allowed break hold, however, they are allowed to do a dance stop in the middle of the pattern. This will be the first time this type of pattern is integrated into the Short Dance, and it will be very interesting to see how teams alter their steps and patterns to make it their own!