The Difference Between Figure Skating and Ice Dancing

As you by now surely know, I am an avid fan of skating of all sorts. It’s one of the main reasons why I am so happy during the wintertime (okay, that, and Christmas holidays as well), as my family and I have a tradition regarding the winter sports. We gather around the TV and watch everything our cable has to offer – we make bets as to who will have the best program and performance – and usually the loser(s) have to buy the others something sweet. Our favorite skating sports have to be figure skating and ice dancing, as we (as a family) are most informed about them and their skaters.

Today I decided to expand on the topic of both figure skating and ice dancing and let you see how they differ and why they are amazing. While I do know that I’ve already briefly mentioned the difference between these two types of skating sports, I wanted to go more in depth with it, so as to provide you with more information about both of them.

The complexity of the tricks and the performance of tricks in general!

As I have already mentioned in one of my earlier articles these two types of skating differ when it comes to the performance of tricks during their program.

Generally, spins, jumps and throws can only be seen (and are only allowed!) in figure skating. Interestingly enough, jumping is not even allowed in ice dancing!

The level of difficulty and athleticism

Usually, it is figure skating that requires its players to be extremely fit and athletic as it’s them who get to perform all jumps and axles during their short program. They have to have the strength to perform all of the tricks in specific time sequences. Ice dancing skaters do not have to be fit to that degree.

The way they are performed

If you’re just tuning in to the skating tournament on your TV screen, one of the ways you will immediately know whether you’re watching ice dancing or figure skating is by counting the number of skaters on ice at that exact moment. If there are two skaters – it’s most definitely ice dancing that you’re watching! Truth be told, there are pairs in figure skating as well, but it’s a rare occasion. When it comes to figure skating you will most likely see only one person performing.

The physical makeup of the skaters

Believe it or not, there is also a difference in the build of the skaters! As their performance is supposed to mesmerize both the judges and the audience, the couple skating as ice dancers have to have a similar build. It is because we, as audience, need to focus on them as a whole – their build has to be similar and compatible so that it doesn’t interfere with their program. When it comes to figure skaters, it is of utmost importance, in those rare occasions when figure skaters are performing as a pair, that the man is tall and muscular, and that the woman is small and slim. Why is it so? Because usually, the man is the one leading the performance, and the woman is the one who is performing all of the tricks. It is easier to land the tricks this way because the man is there to both throw and catch his partner, with both more power and ease.