The free dance (FD) is a segment of an ice dance competition, the second contested. It follows the rhythm dance (RD). Skaters perform "a creative dance program blending dance steps and movements expressing the character/rhythm(s) of the dance music chosen by the couple". Its duration is 4 minutes for senior ice dancers, and 3.5 minutes for juniors. French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron hold the highest recorded international FD score of 135.82 points.
The FD takes place after the RD in all junior and senior ice dance competitions. The 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Rulebook defines the FD as "the skating by the couple of a creative dance program blending dance steps and movements expressing the character/rhythm(s) of the dance music chosen by the couple". It must have combinations of new or known dance steps and movements, as well as required elements. The program must "utilize the full ice surface," and be well-balanced. It must contain required combinations of elements (spins, lifts, steps, and movements), and choreography that express both the characters of the competitors and the music chosen by them. It must also display the skaters' "excellent skating technique" and creativity in expression, concept, and arrangement. The FD's choreography must reflect the music's accents, nuances, and dance character, and the ice dancers must "skate primarily in time to the rhythmic beat of the music and not to the melody alone."[note 1] For senior ice dancers, the FD must have a duration of 4 minutes; for juniors, 3.5 minutes.
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron hold the highest FD score of 135.82 points, which they achieved at the ISU World Team Trophy in 2019. They also hold the four highest recorded FD scores.[note 2]
The ISU announces the specific requirements for the FD each year. For example, the ISU published the rules for the 2019–20 season in April 2019. The following elements make up a well-balanced program: the Dance Lift, the Dance Spin, the Step Sequence, Twizzles, and Choreographic Elements.
|Dance lift||Not more than two different types of short lifts
or one Combination Lift
|Not more than three different types of short lifts
or one short lift and one combination lift[note 3]
|Dance spin||One dance spin (spin or combination spin)||One dance spin (spin or combination spin)|
|Step Sequence – Types: Straight line or Curve[note 4]||Two: One Step Sequence in hold; One Foot Step Sequence, Not-touching [note 5]||Two: One Step Sequence in Hold; One Foot Step Sequence, Not-touching|
|Synchronized twizzles[note 6]||One set of synchronized twizzles||One set of synchronized twizzles|
|Choreographic element[note 7]||Two different Choreographic elements chosen from:
||Three different Choreographic Elements, one of which must be a Choreographic Character Step Sequence
Two additional chosen from:
- See U.S. Figure Skating's 2020 Rulebook, and the ISU's "Special Regulations and Technical Rules", for more details about FD requirements.
- After the 2018–2019 season, due to the change in grade of execution scores from −3 to +3 to −5 to +5, all statistics started from zero and all previous scores were listed as "historical".
- The short lift must be different from in the combination lift.
- The pattern of the Step Sequence must maintain the integrity or basic shape of the chosen pattern.
- For both Juniors and Seniors, turns must be performed on one foot by each partner and must begin with the first turn at the same time.
- For both Juniors and Seniors, each partner must skate least two Twizzles, with up to a minimum of two steps and up to four steps between the first and second twizzles. They must also be in contact at some point between the first and second twizzles.
- See ISU Communication No. 2239 for descriptions.
- Rulebook, p. 243
- Rulebook, p. 238
- S&P/ID 2018, p. 142
- "Dance Format 2011" (PDF). Havířov, Czech Republic: Kraso Club of Havířov. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- S&P/ID 2018, pp. 142–144
- "Progression of Highest Score: Ice Dance Free Dance Score". isuresults.com. International Skating Union. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Walker, Elvin (19 September 2018). "New Season New Rules". International Figure Skating. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- No. 2239, p. 1
- S&P/ID 2018, p. 144
- No. 2239, p. 7
- No. 2239, p. 8.
- "The 2020 Official U.S. Figure Skating Rulebook". (Rulebook) Colorado Springs, Colorado: U.S Figure Skating. July 2019. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- "Communication No. 2239 Ice Dance" (No. 2239). Lausanne, Switzerland: International Skating Union. 15 April 2019. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- "Special Regulations & Technical Rules Single & Pair Skating and Ice Dance 2018". (S&P/ID 2018) International Skating Union. 2018. Retrieved 14 October 2019.