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Solo Dance - Figure Skating


Table of Contents:

Solo Dance constitutes a unique discipline within the realm of figure skating.

  1. Key Elements of Solo Dance

  2. Benefits of Solo Dance

  3. Growth and Popularity

  4. Future of Solo Dance

  5. Conclusion.

Solo Dance constitutes a unique discipline within the realm of figure skating.

Solo dance is a dynamic and artistic discipline within figure skating that allows Skaters to perform individually, focusing on the intricate elements of Ice Dance without the need for a partner. This discipline emphasizes technical skill, musical interpretation, and creative expression, providing a unique platform for skaters to develop and showcase their talents.

Solo dance events encompass:

  • Solo Pattern Dance

  • Shadow Dance (where two skaters perform a pattern dance side by side)

  • Combined Dance (involving either one solo pattern dance or rhythm dance and one solo free dance)

Solo dance has its roots in traditional ice dance but has evolved to cater to skaters who wish to pursue ice dance independently. The U.S. Figure Skating Association introduced its national solo dance series and final in 2010, providing a structured competition framework for solo dancers. Over the years, the discipline has grown exponentially, with increasing participation and recognition on the national and international stages.

“COLD HEARTED SNAKE” - Brooke Tufts (Krigor Studio)

Key Elements of Solo Dance

Technical Skills

Solo dance requires skaters to master various technical elements, including:

  • Turns and Twizzles: Precision in executing turns and twizzles is crucial, showcasing the skater's control and agility.

  • Edges and Steps: Skaters must demonstrate clean edges and intricate footwork, reflecting their skating proficiency and attention to detail.

  • Lifts and Spins: Although lifts are generally not included in solo dance, spins and other balance-related elements are essential components.

Artistic Expression

Artistry is a cornerstone of solo dance, involving:

  • Choreography: Creating routines that effectively convey the music's mood and story.

  • Musicality: Skaters must interpret and move to the rhythm and nuances of the music, enhancing their performance's emotional impact.

  • Performance Quality: Expressing emotions and engaging the audience through facial expressions and body movements.

Competition Segments

Solo dance competitions typically feature two main segments:

  • Rhythm Dance: A routine performed to a specific rhythm or style of music, incorporating set patterns and required elements.

  • Free Dance: A longer, more expressive routine that allows for greater creative freedom and showcases the skater's artistic and technical abilities.

Benefits of Solo Dance.

Skill Development

Solo dance offers a structured pathway for skaters to develop essential ice dance skills independently. This can be particularly beneficial for:

  • Partnerless Skaters: Providing opportunities for skaters who do not have a partner to continue their ice dance training and competition.

  • Artistic Growth: Allowing skaters to focus on refining their artistic expression and musical interpretation, which are critical across all figure skating disciplines.

Educational and Developmental Tool

Solo dance serves as an educational resource, helping skaters from emerging skating nations to:

  • Learn to Skate to Music: Developing the ability to interpret and perform to music, a fundamental aspect of figure skating.

  • Enhance Performance Quality: Improving overall performance quality by focusing on artistry and expression.

Growth and Popularity.

Increasing Participation

Since its inception, the solo dance discipline has seen remarkable growth. Registration numbers for the U.S. Figure Skating national solo dance series have surged, reflecting its rising popularity. In 2023, 774 skaters registered for the series, a 40% increase from the previous year, and by 2024, the registration reached 839.

International Recognition

The introduction of international solo dance competitions, such as the inaugural ISU International Solo Ice Dance competition in Helsinki, Finland, has further elevated the discipline's profile. These events provide a global platform for solo dancers to compete and showcase their skills, fostering international camaraderie and competition.

Brooke Tufts embarked on a significant journey in April by traveling outside the United States for the first time to compete in the inaugural ISU International Solo Ice Dance competition in Helsinki, Finland. This event marked a milestone in her personal and professional life. The 20-year-old skater, along with two other U.S. competitors, made history by participating in this pioneering event.

Following the international competition, the first domestic ISU International Solo Ice Dance event was held in Reston, Virginia. This event saw participation from 24 U.S. skaters and skaters from four other countries.

Tufts, who is also a dance major at Montclair State University, expressed her excitement about experiencing a new country and culture and being part of the burgeoning solo ice dance discipline. She won both segments of the senior competition, which included participants from Great Britain, Poland, Spain, and Finland. Her performances featured "Cold Hearted Snake" by Paula Abdul for the rhythm dance and music from Carmen for her free dance.

Tufts appreciated the opportunity to connect with fellow skaters in person, having previously interacted with them through social media. This personal interaction was a highlight of her experience.

The solo ice dance discipline has seen tremendous growth since U.S. Figure Skating introduced its national solo dance series and final in 2010. Registration numbers have surged, reflecting the rising popularity and expansion of the discipline. In 2023, 774 skaters registered for the series, a 40% increase from the previous year, and in 2024, the registration reached 839.

Solo ice dance provides a platform for skaters to hone their skills independently, focusing on artistry, expression, and musicality. It serves as both a developmental tool for ice dance and an educational resource for emerging skating nations. This discipline allows skaters to master skating to music, a crucial aspect of figure skating across all categories.

Brooke Tufts "Carmen" 2024 Solo Free Dance | Ice Dance Performance

Future of Solo Dance.

Expanding Opportunities

The future of solo dance looks promising, with continued efforts to expand opportunities and increase participation. Initiatives include:

  • More Competitions: Organizing more national and international solo dance events to provide skaters with additional competitive platforms.

  • Training Programs: Developing specialized training programs to support solo dancers in honing their technical and artistic skills.

Potential Challenges

While solo dance is growing, it faces potential challenges such as:

  • Resource Allocation: Ensuring adequate resources and support for solo dance within the broader figure skating community.

  • Awareness and Promotion: Raising awareness and promoting the discipline to attract more participants and spectators.


Solo dance is a vibrant and evolving discipline within figure skating that offers unique opportunities for individual expression and skill development. Its emphasis on technical precision, artistic expression, and musical interpretation makes it an essential component of the figure skating world. With its growing popularity and increasing recognition, solo dance is poised to continue inspiring and cultivating talent globally, contributing to the collective advancement of the sport. You can find information about SOLO DANCE SERIES here


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Solo Dance - Figure Skating


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