Ice Dance History Is Compulsory

Photo courtesy City Of Toronto Archives

"The compulsory dances are to the ice dancers what the scales of the piano are to the pianist. That's where you learn good technique and that's where you practice the basics." - Tracy Wilson

Though it's been over a decade since a full compulsory dance has been skated in an ISU Championship, compulsory dances play both an important part in ice dancing's history and future. Many of the sport's great champions were first introduced to the discipline by learning the steps of the Dutch Waltz, Canasta and Baby Blues... and until 2010, all of ice dancing's greatest champions showed off their finest footwork in complex compulsory dance patterns. 

When ice dancing was first introduced at the World Championships in 1950, couples had to perform no less than four compulsory dances, along with a free dance. In those days, dances were drawn from four groups: waltzes, foxtrots, fast dances like the Paso Doble or Quickstep and slower dances like the Tango or Blues. Interestingly, when ice dancing was first introduced at the Olympic Games as a demonstration event in 1968, couples had to skate a three and a half minute free dance, an Original Set Dance (precursor to the OSP) and no less than five compulsories! Two couples skated each compulsory dance at the same time, starting at opposite ends of the rink. 

1946 "Ice Skating" magazine article by Erik van der Weyden, inventor of the Westminster Waltz

By the luck of the draw, certain compulsory dances were skated at major events far more than others. The Argentine Tango and Paso Doble were skated at the World Championships more than fifteen times. The following tables highlight each compulsory dance's selection at the Winter Olympic Games and World Championships and the highest scoring compulsory dances skated under the IJS System.

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean's Blues at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer

COMPULSORY DANCES SKATED AT THE OLYMPICS AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Three compulsory dances are missing from this listing. Through reports and discussions with former competitors, it was determined that 2/4 of the dances in 1963 were the Quickstep and Argentine Tango and 3/4 dances in 1967 were the Rocker Foxtrot, Tango and Paso Doble.

Compulsory Dance

Winter Olympic Games

World Championships

Fourteenstep

(dance not used)

1955, 1959

European Waltz

(dance not used)

1957, 1959

American Waltz

(dance not used)

1950, 1954, 1955, 1966

Kilian

1976, 1980, 1988

1953, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1978, 1980

Tango

(dance not used)

1950, 1951, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1967, 1969, 1971

Foxtrot

(dance not used)

1951, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1968

European Waltz

(dance not used)

1957

Argentine Tango

1968, 1998

1952, 1953, 1957, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2008

Blues

1992, 1994, 2002

1954, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1975, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1987

Rocker Foxtrot

(dance not used)

1950, 1952, 1953, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1970

Viennese Waltz

1976, 1988

1953, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1992, 2000

Paso Doble

1968, 1984, 1988, 1992

1950, 1951, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1975, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1999, 2009

Quickstep

1968, 1976, 2002

1952, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1977, 1988, 2002

Rhumba

1984

1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2007

Westminster Waltz

1968, 1984

1951, 1952, 1956, 1968, 1970, 1975, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1993

Silver Samba

(dance not used)

1970, 1996, 1998

Starlight Waltz

1968, 1980, 1994

1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1994

Yankee Polka

(dance not used)

1979, 1982, 1985, 1987

Ravensburger Waltz

2006

1977, 1983, 1991, 2006

Tango Romantica

1980, 2010

1978, 1980, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2001

Austrian Waltz

(dance not used)

2003

Golden Waltz

1998

1997, 1998, 2002, 2010

Cha Cha Congelado

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Finnstep

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Midnight Blues

(dance not used)

2004, 2005


Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon's Rhumba from the 2007 World Championships

HIGHEST SCORING COMPULSORY DANCES UNDER THE IJS SYSTEM


Compulsory Dance

Winter Olympic Games

World Championships

European Championships

Four Continents Championships

Argentine Tango

(dance not used)

Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder – 40.73 (2008)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Paso Doble

(dance not used)

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin – 40.77 (2009)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Rhumba

(dance not used)

Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon – 38.96 (2007)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Yankee Polka

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder – 41.25 (2008)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – 38.22 (2008)

Ravensburger Waltz

Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margalio – 38.78 (2006)

Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski – 38.46 (2006)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Tango Romantica

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin – 43.76 (2010)

(dance not used)

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin – 42.78 (2010)

Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto – 38.23 (2006)

Golden Waltz

(dance not used)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – 44.13 (2010)

Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov – 44.19 (2005)

Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto – 44.00 (2005)

Finnstep

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski – 37.43 (2009)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – 36.40 (2009)

Midnight Blues

(dance not used)

Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov – 45.97 (2005)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

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