San Diego Figure Skating Communications
a non-profit educational organization
Free Dance Rules
Source - USFS Rulebook
Check current rulebook for changes
The online version of the rulebook is the most current version and reflects all known corrections to the edited date.
4270 Free Dance Rules
4271 General Requirements:
If the general requirements do not conform to ISU regulations and as revised by ISU
Communication, the ISU prevails. U.S. Figure Skating rules referenced do apply.
A. A free dance is the skating by the couple of a creative program with
dance steps and movements expressing the character of the music
chosen by the couple.
B. The free dance must contain combinations of new or known dance steps
and movements including required elements and steps sequences
composed into a program displaying good skating technique and the
personal ideas of the couple in concept, arrangement, and expression.
C. The choreography, including required elements, of a free dance should
clearly reflect the character, accents and nuances of the chosen music,
demonstrate changes of pace, variation in speed and tempo, and utilize
the whole ice surface.
D. The free dance must not have the concept of a pairs free skate program
or an exhibition dance.
E. The choreography of a free dance must not have the concept of a pairs
free skate as defined in 4030.
F. A free dance that is choreographed so that its performance extends to all
sides of the arena is preferable to one directed to only side.
G. A free dance must be developed through skating quality rather than
through nonskating actions such as sliding on one knee or use of toe
steps which should be used only to reflect the character of the dance and
underlining the rhythm and nuances of the chosen music.
H. Music for free dance may be vocal and must have an audible rhythmic
beat and melody, or audible rhythmic beat alone, but not melody alone.
A program that displays a change in tempo and a well-balanced use of
melody, rhythmic beat and musical accents and not melody alone is
considered to be of a higher quality because it shows a greater variety of
dancing skills and reflects the concept of ice dancing as a competitive
I. The couples should skate primarily in time to the rhythmic beat and not
to the melody alone. Skating out of time or out of phase with the music
must be penalized.
J. The time of the free dance program must be reckoned from the moment
when one of the couple begins to move or skate until arriving at a
complete stop at the end of the program.
K. All steps and turns are permitted. Deep edges and intricate footwork
displaying skating skill, difficulty, variety and originality must be
included and performed by both partners. A program that relies heavily
on the use of cross cuts, simple stroking and running, one-directional
skating, excessive stopping and posing is considered to have insufficient
required difficulty, intricacy and variety of linking dance footwork (e.g.
threes, mohawks, choctaws, rockers, counters, brackets, twizzles, etc.)
A strong background in Moves in the Field (MITF) and basic free skating is highly recommended for anyone wishing to skate competitive in qualifying dance events.
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
All materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.