Music – Quickstep 2/4
Tempo – 52 measures of 2 beats per minute
– 104 beats per minute
Pattern – Optional
Duration – The time required to skate 2 sequences is 1:16 min.
Patterns, Step Charts & Additional Information
The Finnstep is a fun, fast dance. The best way to describe it is that it resembles “sparkling champagne”. It is a ballroom type Quickstep, and should be danced very lightly, so to speak “over-the-top”. This dance is not serious, so it can even be performed a bit comically. Polka/Folklore character should be avoided.
It requires very crisp and tidy timing as well as footwork. The timing is the most important characteristic of the dance and lack of crisp and clean timing and character, should be penalized
severely. The accent should always be at the beginning of the beat – not just on the beat. By skating the steps at the beginning of the beat, the couple achieves the required lightness. This dance measures the musicality of the couples.
The posture should be very upright, almost stiff throughout the dance. It is essential to skate the longer steps with strong, well rounded, deep edges to contrast with the crisp light steps, toe steps and hops (small jumps without rotation) found throughout the dance! Just skating the steps is not enough. It is how the steps are executed and what is “said and expressed” with the technique that is important, not the technique in itself. The technique is only a tool for expression which must be strong!
1. The Promenade Section
The Promenade Section sets up the character of the dance. Accurate and crisp timing with emphasis on the upbeats as well as the “and”-beats is crucial for a successful performance here. The first part of this section is skated in open hold on a straight line across the rink, with light hops and upright style to resemble a typical ballroom Quickstep. The lady’s twizzle of 1 ½ rotations (her step 12) needs to be very fast. At the conclusion of her twizzle, the couple skates steps 13-18 in partial outside hold (like the Viennese opening steps), before moving to outside hold on step 19. Good, clean free-leg action is also to be valued throughout this part. The “hop-moves” need to be executed in complete unison using only the legs and knees, not the upper body. Holds and positions need to be elegant, upright, levelled, the upper body lifted erect and almost stiff.
2. Turn, Twizzle and Stop Section
This section needs to be skated with controlled, deep, nicely flowing edges without losing the character and the rhythm of the dance. After the simultaneous twizzles (step 21) the partners are face-to- face, clasping left hands, with their right arms extended to the side and a little higher than shoulder level. The exit edge of step 21 (RBI for man; RFO for lady) needs to be well controlled with the free legs stretched behind. On step23 the partners move into open hold. During the leg swing, in preparation for the swing closed choctaw (step 32), the lady moves ahead under the man’s left arm to hand in hand, with arms bent. On step 33a the man skates an open RBI mohawk, while the lady starts her step 33 on an RBI followed by her change of edge in preparation for their second set of simultaneous twizzles (his step 33c while she continues her step 33). The couple passes through waltz hold, then the lady’s left arm briefly touches the man’s back. The man’s left hand holds the lady’s right during the twizzle. After turning their twizzles (1 rotation for the man; 1½ for the lady), the couple slides into a stop in Kilian with both of their arms extended to the side and their hands clasped in a “butterfly” hold, and with their free legs extended to the side.
Steps 34-42 are performed on the spot (shown as stationary steps on the diagrams). These character toe steps should be executed with light feet and crisp timing. Good clean free leg action with the free legs held at at least 45° angles is essential. During the toe steps the couple moves into partial outsidehold . The pendular movement of the free leg moves slowly from side to back. On steps 34, 35, and 36 there is pendular movement of the free leg as it moves slowly from side to back coupée. On step 38 the free leg is extended to the front, in back coupée on step 39, extended to the front on step 40, in back coupée again on step 41. They conclude the stationary section on step 42 on their toepicks with both feet close together.
3. Crossing Paths (changing sides) Section
To achieve the dynamics of performing this section of the dance the couple needs to accelerate,
creating a clear crescendo. The pattern is permitted to “backtrack” after the stop to enable the couple to have room to complete the pattern and achieve the correct restart The section starts on Step 43 with a Hop forward landing on the left foot. Steps 46, 47, and 48 should be executed with the free leg bending back 90°, knees parallel and steps lightly hopped. . In the crossing paths section it is important that steps 52 & 58 for the lady and 51b and 58 for the man are skated with a good edge across ice to enable the passing by of the couple (so that the couple “zig zag”). The changing of sides on steps 54 & 61 should be done lightly, with good, matching knee action, however Polka/folk dance character should be avoided. The many hold and position changes throughout this section should be done effortlessly, with ease. The cross behind closed Choctaw (step 64) must be skated with clean and deep edges to enable tight, simultaneous Twizzles just before the re-start. A poor execution of the Choctaw and Twizzle will lead to difficulties for the re-start and poor character of the 1st part of the dance.
Dance is a means of expression. If the execution of this dance does not evoke feelings in the audience, even if it were technically correct and clean, it would not be a successful performance. The dance must be as much fun to watch as it is to dance. Otherwise the performers should not be rewarded with good marks.
Inventors – Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko with Martin Skotnicky
First Performance – European Championships 1995 Dortmund Germany
Adaptation to Compulsory Dance – The inventors were assisted by Kati Winkler, René Lohse