Reference: General Terminology


1. Long Axis – A straight line that divides the ice surface into two halves lengthwise (midline).

2. Short Axis – A straight line that divides the ice surface into two halves crosswise.

3. Continuous Axis – An imaginary line running around the ice surface that serves as the basis for the dance pattern. Usually the continuous axis consists of two lines running parallel to the long axis of the ice surface, approximately halfway between the long axis and the sides. These lines are joined at each end of the ice surface by a semi-circle. These semi-circles are flattened in some dances so that they run parallel to the ends of the ice surface. In circular dances, such as the Kilian, the continuous axis approximates a circle. The continuous axis of the Paso Doble is an oval.

4. Transverse Axis – An imaginary line intersecting the continuous axis of a dance at right angles.

The pattern of a dance is the design of the dance on the ice. The diagram of a dance includes all the information needed to execute one complete pattern of the dance.

1. Set Pattern Dance – A dance for which the location, direction and curvature of all edges to be skated are designated in the diagram. This diagram must be followed as closely as possible.

2. Optional Pattern Dance – A dance for which the pattern may be altered by a couple provided that the original step sequences, positions and timing are maintained. Each repetition of the altered pattern must be executed in the same manner and the restart must be commenced from the same place.

3. Rim/Edge/Border Dance – A dance whose step sequence requires a shorter or longer distance than is available in one circuit of the rink. The second sequence, therefore, will not begin at the original starting point of the dance.

4. Lobe – Any sequence of steps on one side of the continuous axis that is approximately semi-circular in shape.

1. Beat – A note defining the regular recurring divisions of a piece of music.

2. Tempo – The speed of music in beats or measures per minute.

3. Rhythm – The regularly repeated pattern of accented and unaccented beat which give the music its character.

4. Measure (Bar) – A unit of music which is defined by the periodic recurrence of the accent. Such units are equal duration.

5. While it may be technically correct to skate to the minor accent (weak beat), the resulting interpretation and expression of the character of the dance is not correct and must be penalized by the judges.

1. Introductory Steps – All Compulsory dances may be started with optional introductory steps. They shall not exceed the introductory phrasing.

2. Start – The first step after the introductory steps. The referee may announce the approximate location at which the dances must be started.

3. Step Sequence – The prescribed order of the steps that compose one pattern of a Pattern Dance (formerly Compulsory Dance) or any portion thereof, or a series of steps prescribed or unprescribed in an Short (formerly Original)/Free/Interpretive Dance.