Home Athletes What Are Figure Skating Pattern (Compulsory) Ice Dances?

What Are Figure Skating Pattern (Compulsory) Ice Dances?

What Are Figure Skating Pattern (Compulsory) Ice Dances?


Ice dancing was originally like ballroom dancing on ice. In compulsory ice dances, now called pattern dances, skaters do set steps and patterns on the ice. They skate to a prescribed rhythm and tempo of music. Skaters do waltzes, tangos, foxtrots, and other dances on the ice.

Compulsory dances are part of the figure skating test structure and can be skated with or without a partner. Even though compulsory ice dances can be skated solo, compulsory ice dances are meant to be done with a partner, so there are a number of partner holds and positions.

Also Known As:

Sometimes competitive ice dancers call compulsory ice dances “compulsories.” In 2010, the ISU International Skating Union changed the term “compulsory dance” to “pattern dance.”


Most compulsory ice dances include certain basic and standard ice dance steps which include strokes, progressives, chassés, slide chassés, swing rolls, cross steps, mohawks and three turns.

Compulsory ice dances can be done at a competitive, social, or recreational level. Some adult figure skaters especially enjoy doing compulsory ice dances since no jumping and spinning is involved. High level compulsory ice dances are very technical and difficult.

Jo Ann Schneider-Farris Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in figure skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author. Jo Ann was the Figure Skating Expert for About.com for 10 years. Jo Ann began skating as a young child. She won a silver medal in the junior dance event at the United States National Figure Skating Championships and is a US Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist. She coached figure skating and has trained skaters of all ages and levels. In addition, Jo Ann taught hockey players to skate and gave instruction in power skating. She is the author of two skating books: How to Jump and Spin on In-Line Skates, the only book of its kind on inline figure skating, and a personal memoir, My Skating Life: Fifty Plus Years of Skating. Jo Ann also has contributed articles that have been included on the US Figure Skating website and the icenetwork.com website, in SKATING Magazine, Ice Skating Institute's magazine, the Professional Skaters Association magazine, and she also wrote about ice skating for Examiner.com. She is a member of the Professional Skaters Association, The Broadmoor Skating Club, and U.S. Figure Skating. Jo Ann is a graduate of the famous Hollywood Professional School, a school that once was in southern California where many serious figure skaters attended, including Peggy Fleming. She is also a graduate of Colorado College and holds a teaching credential from California State University Long Beach. As a figure skating competitor, she trained under World Ice Dance Champion and Olympic Coach Doreen Denny and also Darlene Gilbert, who has trained international and national teams. From JO ANN Schneider Farris: Hi and Happy Skating! Yes, Happy Skating is my motto. I hope to share my love of the sport and my knowledge of it with you and my goal is to link skaters from all over the world on this site. Happy Skating! Please join me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or follow me on Google+ and Pinterest. Email me at joannfarris@yahoo.com


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *