Wings on My Feet — There is no other sport today in which one's artistic feeling for music and movement to music can be so readily expressed. Skating and dancing are closely fused. A skater with even a slight degree of proficiency is a dancer on ice. - Sonja Henie -
This page has been provided in response to numerous requests from the skaters at Coffee Skate. People have expressed a desire for more variety in the dances being used in our social environment, but the less experienced skaters find many of the official ISU dances quite challenging.
This site includes patterns for the four "beginners" dances officially supported by ISA in Australia, plus a number of others that people have expressed an interest in. These have been drawn mainly from dances previously taught in Australia but since removed from the official list, and "new" beginners dances that are quite popular in overseas locations but have not yet been introduced here. Where possible a link to a video (e.g. youtube) has been provided.
For those wishing to explore further we have provided a list of links to other sites with dance patterns. Some of these links are to roller skating sites, because roller skaters perform most of the same dances that are done on ice, and they also have many easier dances that are not used by ice dancers.
Sources: USFSA 1981 Rulebook; NISAA 1981 Handbook; Roller Dance Associations; Numerous Internet Sites (see links at the end of this page).
Dutch Waltz - The Dutch Waltz is a Preliminary level dance (ISA Elementary 1 Test) skated in Kilian position to slow, deliberate 3/4 time waltz music at 138 beats per minute consisting of forward edges only, mostly of progressive sequences and swing rolls. This allows the skaters to devote their attention to the dance steps in relation to the musical rhythm of the Waltz. Invented by George Muller, it was first performed at the Broadmoor Ice Palace in Colorado Springs in 1948. Video (1:27).
Canasta Tango - The Canasta Tango is a Preliminary level dance (ISA Elementary 1 Test) skated in the Reverse Kilian position to 4/4 time tango music at 104 beats per minute consisting of forward edges only and introduces the Tango rhythm to skaters. Invented by James B. Francis, it was first performed at The University Skating Club, Toronto in 1951. Video (1:12).
Rhythm Blues - The Rhythm Blues is a Preliminary level dance skated in the Kilian position to 4/4 time blues music at 88 beats per minute consisting of forward edges only. The nature of this dance is a soft flowing style, achieved by displaying good depth of edge, strong knee bends, good free leg extension and correct timing. Invented by Robert Craigin. Video 1 (1:29) Video 2 (1:27).
Swing Foxtrot - The Swing Foxtrot is a Preliminary level dance skated in the Kilian position to 4/4 time foxtrot music at 100 beats per minute consisting of forward edges only and introduces the beginner skater to the Foxtrot rhythm. This dance has been adapted from a roller dance pattern as an easier alternative to the Pre-Silver level Foxtrot.
Golden Skaters' Waltz - The Golden Skaters' Waltz is a Preliminary level dance skated in the Kilian position to lively, lilting 3/4 time waltz music at 162 beats per minute, consisting of forward edges only [same tempo as the Gold level Westminster Waltz]. This dance is intended to give an early introduction to a faster, flowing and more spirited dance characteristic of the Westminster Waltz, without demanding expert technique. The inventor is unknown.
Swing Dance - The Swing Dance is a Pre-Bronze level dance (ISA Elementary 2 Test) skated in the Hand-in-Hand and Closed (Waltz) position to 4/4 time foxtrot music at 96 beats per minute and introduces beginning dancers a relaxed method of changing from forward to backward skating. It requires the man to learn to lead and the lady to follow while skating backward as well as forward. The steps for both partners are identical, even though similar steps are not skated at the same time, and makes it possible for two women to learn to dance or practice it as a couple. Invented by Hubert Sprott, it was first performed at the Broadmoor Ice Palace, Colorado Springs in 1948. Video (1:39).
Fiesta Tango - The Fiesta Tango is a Pre-Bronze level dance (ISA Elementary 2 Test) skated in the Reverse Kilian and Kilian position to 4/4 time tango music at 108 beats per minute and introduces the skater to the first turn from forward to backward skating with a mohawk. Invented by George Muller, it was first performed at the Broadmoor Ice Palace in Colorado Springs in 1948. Video 1 (1:12) Video 2 (1:13).
Canadian Cha Cha - The Canadian Cha Cha is a Pre-Bronze level dance skated in the Open or Kilian position to 4/4 time cha cha music at 100 beats per minute consisting of forward edges only and introduces the skater to the unusual Latin American rhythm of the Cha Cha with free leg expression as well as appropriate upper body and head positions to express the feeling and character of the dance as a whole. The dance features a slalom step sequence. Invented by Helen Gage Moore. Video 1 (1:08) Video 2 (2:29).
Denver Shuffle - The Denver Shuffle is a Pre-Bronze level dance skated in the Kilian or Crossed Kilian position to 2/4 time polka music at 100 beats per minute consisting of forward edges only and introduces the beginner skater to the lively Polka rhythm and features a "slide" movement step sequence. The dance should be skated lively, with a bold approach to step execution. This dance has been adapted from a roller dance pattern. Invented by Briggs-Johnson.
Willow Waltz - The Willow Waltz is a Bronze level dance skated in the Closed (Waltz) position to 3/4 time waltz music at 138 beats per minute [same tempo as the Dutch Waltz]. This dance presents a variety of turns, steps, and sequence of steps to express the rhythm and flow of the gliding movement of the Waltz. Invented by George Muller, it was first performed in Willow Springs (Chicago), Crystal Ice Palace in 1953. Video (1:41)
Ten-Fox - The Ten-fox is a Bronze level dance skated in the Closed and Open positions to 4/4 time foxtrot music at 100 beats per minute. As the title suggests, the dance is mainly a combination of parts of the old Tenstep and the Foxtrot. Most dancers seem to find it easier and therefore more enjoyable than either of those dances. Invented by George Muller, it was first performed at the Philadelphia Skating Club in 1939. Video (2:40)
Tulips from Amsterdam Waltz - The Tulips from Amsterdam Waltz is a Bronze level dance skated in Kilian and Closed (Waltz) position to 3/4 time waltz music at 156 beats per minute. This waltz was inspired by the famous Dutch melody "Tulips from Amsterdam", which originated in the 'Jordaan', an old neighbourhood in the centre of Amsterdam. Although the dance can be skated very well to Viennese Waltz music, its character is more flamboyant, less sophisticated. It could be said more like a folk dance. The typical rocking movements that are inherent to the Jordaan-waltzes can be accentuated in the change of edge sequence. The dance is meant to make the beginning skater familiar with both forward and backward skating. Invented by Peter P. Moormann, it was first performed at the -'s Hertogenbosch, Sportiom, The Netherlands in 2000.
Cha Cha 2000 - The Cha Cha 2000 is a Bronze level dance skated in Kilian and various Hand-in-Hand positions to 4/4 time cha cha music at 100 beats per minute. The steps are arranged in such a way that an optimal portrayal of the feeling of "1, 2 cha-cha-cha" can be achieved on the ice. Moreover to accentuate the Latin American character quite a lot of Hand-in-Hand holds are included where the partners change positions by passing each other. This makes the dance more complicated than the usual dances at the bronze level, and from that perspective the Cha Cha 2000 can be seen as a challenge to acquire good body co-ordination. Invented by Peter P. Moormann, it was first performed at the -'s Hertogenbosch, Sportiom, The Netherlands in 2000. Because of the complexity of the step sequence you may also need to refer to the detailed description of the dance.
Hickory Hoedown - The Hickory Hoedown is a Bronze level dance skated in optional positions (Crossed Kilian, Kilian or Foxtrot) to 4/4 time country-western (square dance) music at 104 beats per minute and allows the skater to emphasise the feeling of joy and flair that is characteristic of the country and western style music. Invented by Wendy Weinstock Mlinar, Holly Genola Cole and Theodore Graves, it was first performed at the Hickory Hill Figure Skating Club on January 25, 1987. Video 1 (1:29) Video 2 (2:38).
Riverside Rhumba - The Riverside Rhumba is a Bronze level dance skated in Open Kilian, Shadow and Reverse Kilian to 4/4 time rhumba music at 104 beats per minute and introduces the skaters to the slow, seductive rhythm of the Rhumba. This dance is characterised by partners changing places during the swing roll sequences. Invented by Aileen Johnston, Les Kilbey and Lynd Taylor, it was first performed at the Riverside Ice Dance Club, Chelmsford in November 1995.
Paradiso Rhumba - The Paradiso Rhumba is a Bronze level dance skated in Closed, Tango, Kilian and Tandem positions to 4/4 time rhumba music at 108 beats per minute with some unusual features regarding partner holds (Tandem position), free leg movements (slide chassé from inside to outside) and three different change of edge parts (in Tango, Kilian and Closed position respectively). The roundness of the change of edge parts, the hand on hip position in the tandem hold, together with the accompanying sensual hip, seductive arm and soft knee movements enable the skaters to express the erotic undertones so typical of the rhumba character. Invented by Peter P. Moormann and Sylvia Timmermans, it was first performed at the -'s Hertogenbosch, Sportiom, The Netherlands, World Ice Challenge in 2004. Because of the complexity of the step sequence you may also need to refer to the detailed description of the dance.
Festival Quickstep - The Festival Quickstep is a Bronze level dance skated in Kilian and Reverse Kilian to 2/4 time quickstep music at 112 beats per minute [same tempo as the Gold level Quickstep], consisting of forward edges only. The dance must be skated in keeping with the music which is gay, happy, fast, lively and of bright character. To achieve this mood, the footwork must be precise and crisp, timing of feet and body movement must be accurate, supple knee action with a slight bounce will keep the performance from appearing too smooth, and free leg extensions must be apparent even on the one-count steps to avoid a slurring motion. The Festival steps variation by Penny Butler and Derek Drury is an easier alternative to the International Quickstep.
Riolado Samba - The Riolado Samba is a Bronze level dance skated in Kilian to 2/4 time samba music at 108 beats per minute [same tempo as the Senior International level Silver Samba], consisting of forward edges only. This is a fast, lively dance, which allows a skater of moderate ability to gain a feel for the samba rhythm and is characterised by a basic pattern of step-close, step-close accompanied by a dip and spring upward at each beat of the music. The dance features a samba chassé with the two steps of the chassé taking only one beat, and a scissors sequence which is skated with both feet on the ice as a slow - slow - quick - quick - slow movement. This dance is an easier alternative to the Silver Samba with many step sequences in common.
Fourteenstep - The Fourteenstep is a Pre-Silver level dance (ISA Primary Test) skated mainly in Closed position to lively 4/4, 2/4 or 6/8 time march music at 112 beats per minute and the character of the step-sequences lends to the mood of the dance. The dance is characterised by an easy graceful flow which is achieved by softly bending and straightening the knee in time with the music. Invented by Franz Scholler, it was first performed in Vienna in 1889, as the Ten-Step or Scholler March. Video (1:44).
European Waltz - The European Waltz is a Pre-Silver level dance (ISA Primary Test) skated throughout in a Closed or Waltz position to 3/4 time waltz music at 135 beats per minute consisting mainly of Waltz three turns. Erect posture and soft knee bend gives the dance the smooth flowing action that characterises the lively Waltz movement of this dance. This dance is easily identified by the phrasing or grouping of the notes of the melody which is in groups of three counts. (Most other Waltzes in ice dancing, even though they are in 3/4 time, have a phrasing of six-count groups). The inventor is unknown and was performed about 1900, exact place unknown. Video (1:52).
Foxtrot - The Foxtrot is a Pre-Silver level dance (ISA Primary Test) skated in the Open, Closed and Outside positions to 4/4 time foxtrot music at 100 beats per minute with a soft knee action and good flow. This dance is designed to be skated on deep edges with semicircular lobes. Invented by Eric van der Weyden and Eva Keats, it was first performed at the Westminster Ice Rink in London in 1933. Video (1:08).
http://www.isa.org.au/isarulebook.htm ISA Rulebook and Constitution. Appendix D at the end has patterns and step sequences for the Dutch Waltz, Canasta Tango, Swing Dance and Fiesta Tango.
http://www.ice-dance.com/reference/compulsories/ These are the more advanced ISU compulsory dances.
http://slam.canoe.ca/CSORulebook/FigureSkating.pdf Special Olympics Canada rules, a 320K pdf file. Dance diagrams from page 13 onwards.
http://www.gg.caltech.edu/~jeff/#skating This is Jeff Goldsmith's site and he has patterns in a number of formats. The ones you probably want are the "gif" files.
http://www.skating.ch/acrobat_pdf/sev_2002/eistanz/JamaicanRhumbaDeutsch.pdf The Jamaican Rhumba, instructions in German
http://www.cerseurope.org/Eng/Download/DANCEBOOK.pdf This is a large pdf file (about 2 megabytes) of European roller dances. Many are the same as the ice dances, but some are modified versions.
http://www.fars.co.uk/tech_dance_patterns.html The Federation of Artistic Roller Skating (UK) roller dance patterns.
http://www.british-roller-skating.org.uk/tests.htm British Artistic Roller Skating. Click on the "Tests" button then go to the heading "Dance Skating Tests" toward the bottom of this page to find links to the dance patterns.
This page was created and originally maintained by my dear wife Yvonne who sadly lost her four year battle with Lymphoma and passed away in October 2010.