2008 Congress Urgent Proposal -- Dance

In addition to its regular agenda, the 2008 ISU Congress will consider a number of urgent matters.  The text of these urgent proposals can be found in ISU Communication 1500 on the ISU web site.  Of these, we find proposal no.3 concerning Ice Dancing particularly intriguing.

In the regular agenda of the Congress, the Dance Technical Committee put forward a proposal concerning the rotation of the compulsory dances in competition.  The new urgent matter supercedes that proposal and substantially alters the format of the Ice Dance event.  In this proposal, the current compulsory dance and original dance will be replaced by a single "combination" dance.  This dance will be up to 2 minutes 50 seconds in duration, with a specified rhythm. The dance will consist of a set pattern for approximately 1 minute of the time, and choreography of the skater's choice for the remainder of the time, with three required elements.

The purpose of this proposal is to reduce the number of segments in the dance events from three to two, and thus reduce the time needed for a competition.  In other words, in order to reduce the cost of holding a dance competition the dance event is being gutted, and, thus, it would seem that cost is more important than maintaining the integrity of the event.

We will leave it to dance aficionados to decide if they like this proposed atrocity, though the discussions we have seen in various chat rooms indicate this is not a popular concept.  And yet more than likely it will pass the Congress.

Why you ask?

Because of the manner in which it is being presented to the Congress.

Revision of the dance event format will require revisions to many ISU regulations.  Part of this revision is being presented as changes to General Regulations 112, 123 and 134, even though the ISU Constitution says urgent proposal for the general rules cannot be used to make changes to a technical rule.

The General Regulations, however, get voted on by the entire Congress, speed skaters and figure skaters alike.  So, just like the passage of IJS in 2004, it really doesn't matter if a majority of the dance community wants this or not.  The speed skater from Milan wants it, and he knows how to get what he wants.  Once rules 112, 123 and 134 are passed by the speed skaters, the figure skaters will have no choice but to pass the remaining regulations in their technical session.

So,  it looks like compulsory dance and original dance are toast.

Prologue:  At the Congress it was vote to reduce the number of segments in the dance event to two, beginning with the 2010/11 season.  The specifics of the proposed Combination Dance were withdrawn, for further study during the next two years.  The format for the new first segment of the Dance event will be presented at the 2010 Congress for approval.

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