What is Social Ice Dancing?
The quick answer: Ballroom Dancing on Ice. Ice dancing has a long history and began as a social activity to attract skaters and families to figure skating clubs. Clubs had weekly social ice dance sessions that would often include an off-ice social event. Experienced dancers would teach new dancers the steps to hundreds of standard patterns. Ice Dancing gradually evolved into the competitive, Olympic figure skating event that it is today. It has a recognized USFSA test structure and sanctioned competitions at all levels. Social Ice Dancing is not competitive and goes back to the roots of the sport. Nobody’s judging you so you are free to enjoy the dancing and chat with your partner.
Is This for Me?
Whatever your skating level, you will enjoy the weekend. It’s all about being social and having fun. If you love to be with other skaters who share your passion for ice dance you will have a great time.
Do I need to come with a partner?
No, It’s social ice dancing. Everyone is encouraged to dance with lots of different partners. If you don’t come with a partner, no worries, you’ll get plenty of offers to dance. At past weekends the male/female ratio has been pretty even so everyone got to dance most of the dances that they knew. If you are a solo dancer, this is a wonderful opportunity to try skating with a partner.
I’m a Solo Dancer, will I have to dance with a partner?
An Ice Dance Weekend is meant to be social. All dancers are strongly encouraged to skate with partners whenever possible. If you’ve never danced with a non-coach partner, you’ll find it’s a whole different experience. Try it, you might like it. If you are asked to dance, courtesy requires that you either accept the invitation or sit out the dance. If no partners of the opposite sex are available, try shadow dancing with other solo dancers or switching roles and partnering with someone of the same sex. If you can’t find a partner, you are welcome to skate solo as long as you maintain a good pattern, enter the pattern behind all of the paired dancers and don’t skate through partnered skaters.
What dances should I know?
To get the most out of the weekend you should be comfortable with most of the first six dances in the USFA test structure. (Dutch Waltz, Canasta Tango, Rhythm Blues, Swing Dance, Cha Cha and Fiesta Tango). It doesn’t mean you have to have tested or passed, just that you know the steps and feel comfortable doing them with a partner. If you can add the Willow Waltz, Ten Fox, Fourteen Step or Hickory to your repertoire you’ll be dancing much of the time. Bronze through Gold dances are danced frequently at an Ice Dance Weekends and even a few international dances, by request. If you’re a high level dancer and are afraid that you’ve forgotten all the lower level dances, don’t worry, you’d be surprised how fast they come back. There are a number of dances that are not part of the test structure that are often done at ice dance weekends including the Golden Skaters Waltz, Rose Petal Waltz (Three Lobe Waltz), Riverside Rhumba, Baby Blues and the Swing Waltz. Skaters who know these dances are more than happy to show you the steps and you can also find the patterns on the internet. We may all try leaning a new dance from the archives of “Dead Dances”.
How can I learn?
Any skater, hockey, figure or recreational, can learn to ice dance. If you are comfortable skating forward, on one foot and on inside and outside edges, you can learn the preliminary dances. Here’s your chance to give it a try.
What should I wear?
Ice Dance weekends offer you an opportunity to dress up and show off some of those test and competition clothes hanging in the back of the closet. There is often a theme Friday night when many, but not all, skaters have fun dressing up in costumes. But the emphasis is on fun and ice dancing so you are welcome to wear whatever is safe and comfortable. Bring a light jacket or sweater in case the rink is cold, it usually is.
Are all ages welcome?
Yes, skaters of all ages are welcome to join us at the Atlanta Ice Dance Weekend.