While some people struggle to find coordination and balance on solid ground, teams of the world’s best athletes are making their way to Peyong Chang, South Korea to dance their hearts out (on ice) in the Winter Olympic Games.

Figure skating first joined the Olympic Games during the 1908 summer Olympics, later  moving to join the Winter Olympic Games in 1924. After appearing as a demonstration event in 1968, Ice dancing, which is a division of figure skating, joined the World Figure Skating Championships in 1952, then later became a Winter Olympic Games medal sport in the Olympics in 1976.

For those unclear as to what the difference is between ice skating and ice dancing, ice or figure skaters compete in a short program as well as a long program. And while both perform lifts, ice dancers do not lift overhead while figure skaters (do, and) are required to do a series of jumps that ice dancers are not. So while figure skaters are expected to execute a series of (technical) jumps and spins that ice dancers are not required to do, ice dancers are judged as much on their dance form, such as waltz hold and footwork elements (like twizzles and advanced turn sequences. As in some Olympic level figure skating events, competitors compete as male-female couples. In ice dancing, couples must perform spins as a team/unit in a dance hold, and jumps and throws aren’t allowed. Another interesting difference is that historically Partners were required to remain in a dance hold the entire program and not separate (by) more than two arms lengths. This rule has become relaxed somewhat in recent times.

Olympic figure skaters skate a short and long program with the combined scores from both events determining the winner In each category. The Short program consists of required elements with minimal autonomy in choosing what the skaters get to perform, wow the lawn program gives skaters freedom to Display their Strengths by choosing spins and jumps in order to earn points towards their total scores.

There are three stages to ice dancing competitions: compulsory, original dance and free dance rounds; in the compulsory, each team performs the same steps to the same music head to head against each other, comparing who executes the steps the best. In the original dance a musical theme is the assigned to each team, however, they can pick their own music within the theme and can choose to skate for programs; in the free dance, dancers can structure the program however they like, suiting their teams individual style.

Growing popularity of ice dancing as displayed and its proliferation in the pop culture world. Popular 90s stars of the ice can be seen on mainstream TV sitcoms such as the ABC sit com, “Fresh off the boat”.  Once known as America’s Darling of the Rink, Olympic skating legend Nancy Kerrigan recently made a guest appearance on the humourous family sitcom. Interestingly, her then rival Tonya Harding is has recently resurfaced with appearances promoting the Academy Award nominated film about her life called “I Tonya.” Actress Margot Robbie who portrays Tonya is up for a best actress award. These skating stars of the past were known for their grace and artistry of movement as well as their athletic power, precision and technique on ice.


Requiring technique, timing, artistry and more, dancing on combines athleticism with art in a way that captivates the hearts and minds of viewers everywhere, combining ballroom glitz with sports world suspense. This years Winter Games in Pyongyang, South Korea will run from February 9 – February 25, 2018. Just like years prior, the stars of dancing on ice are expected to dazzle crowds with elaborate costumes and sizzling routines in one of the games most anticipated events.