It occurs to me that I have been over-posting about sewing and sewing related issues and mostly ignoring the skating side of things. I anticipate this will change in the near future as the summer competitive season heats up with regionals and nationals. But in any case, I thought it was high time to start posting something about the skating side of things.
I thought I would start by looking at what I consider to be one of the most beautiful dances performed in roller skating competition, the Italian Foxtrot. As far as I am aware, this dance is not used in ice skating, at least not at the Senior level. In roller dance skating at the Junior World Class and Senior World Class levels two compulsory dances are performed. In team dance there are also Original Dance and Free Dance portions of the competition, where in solo dance there is only a Free Dance in addition to the compulsories. This format is similar to how competitions used to be held in ice dance, although in recent years they would have two dances for a season and perform only one at each competition. This year was the first year since the introduction of ice dance that compulsories haven’t been performed – they have since gone to a “Short Dance” where part of a compulsory must be included into an original dance type program. Since The Powers That Be of roller skating tend to look at what the ISU is doing and follow their lead, let us all take a moment to pray to the skating gods that such a travesty never occurs in roller dance skating.
*Moment of silent prayer*
One can only hope that since we still include compulsory figures as a competitive event, compulsory dance will remain as well.
Alright, on to the fun stuff. The ladies steps of the Italian Foxtrot will be performed this year as one of the Senior Solo compulsory dances. It was also performed in the 2008-2009 season in team dance. Fun fact: this dance along with the Starlight Waltz was used in the 2007-2008 season, which was the first competitive season of Senior Solo Dance at the World Championships. While the Junior World Class solo skaters did go to worlds when the event was first created in 2007, the first season of Senior Solo was done as a trial event, and participants did not qualify or participate at the World Championships. Both Junior and Senior solo events were skated as co-ed until the senior event was split into events for men and women in 2009. Junior is still skated co-ed.
Also, this is the first season (2010-2011) that skaters can compete in both team and solo events. I am undecided if this is a good thing or a bad thing. While the skaters participating in these events are the best in the world, with team already having three components, adding two additional compulsories and an individual free dance may detract from the quality of each component as practice time will have to be further divided to allow for these new events. On the other hand, I do agree that we need to promote team dance at the world level, and allowing skaters to participate in both events may accomplish this. However, I really feel that the overall effect will be to allow the team skaters to qualify in multiple dance events and it will drastically reduce the number of spots available to very talented skaters who are unable to find suitable dance partners, as there are only two individual spots available in Junior, and two individual spots for each gender in senior, but there are three spots open for teams. Last year there were only five senior dance teams at worlds, but there were at least 10 male solo dance skaters, so clearly there is potential for more teams to be created, but I don’t know if allowing skaters to participate in both events is the best way to achieve this.
In any case, watching the event should be fun since so many of the top dance skaters participate in this event.
Some lovely examples of the Italian Foxtrot performed by various teams over the years: