“Senior skaters are not opposed to pattern dance, but they didn’t want it to necessarily be levels – to give them more creativity and freedom.” Interview with Shawn Rettstatt

Posted on 2023-02-08 • No comments yet


Interview with Mr. Shawn Rettstatt – Chair of ISU Ice Dance Technical Committee about changes in ice dances.

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source: sports.ru by Maya Bagriantseva

About possible return of the Pattern

So any chance pattern dance will be coming back?

Shawn Rettstatt: Most likely it will always stay in Juniors and below because it’s very developmental. But we’ve been doing some very interesting ideas in the last couple of years with the pattern dance in junior and below as well.

Next year the pattern dance element for Junior in particular – Sequence 1 – will be the traditional steps (the woman doing the woman steps, the man doing the man steps). But with Sequence 2 we’re doing the opposite. So the man will execute the woman’s steps and the woman will execute the man steps. And with open holds they’ll be able to be creative with their holds.

It’s a new idea to freshen it up a little bit – and still be the same dance, but with the steps being done by the other partner for the second pattern of the dance.

But not for adults?

Shawn Rettstatt: No, for seniors we’re creating a «Pattern Dance Choreographic Element». So you will still have a pattern dance – and I should say once again that so far it’s not official yet – but in the discussion we will put a pattern dance Choreographic element into the Rhythm dance, so it will still be a pattern dance that you will recognize – but it will not necessarily have levels. It will have a choreographic approach to it being judged as a Choreo element. So something new – we’ll see how that works.

This year we did the Choreo step in the Rhythm dance and next year will be this Choreo pattern dance and then we’ll see what worked. We’ll have two years of how it worked and what the feedback is – first and foremost from the athletes, to see if it’s a fun element for them to do choreographically. Our feedback before was the juniors and their coaches wanted to keep the pattern dance because of the development, but the seniors… They’re not opposed to pattern dance, but they didn’t want it to necessarily be levels – to give them more creativity and freedom. And that’s why we’ve started discussing this idea.

About the presence of technical panel people at official ice dance practices at the events

There are always technical panel people present at official ice dance practices at the events. What’s the purpose of that?

Shawn Rettstatt: We have started to have that discussion with the judges – if they need to be there.The technical panel and of course the referee who is responsible for the event really need to be present – to see the elements and to understand what the couple is attempting to execute. So that when they are actually in the program, we already have an understanding of what features they’re trying to do – to do the levels.

And even here in Espoo with all the practices scheduled here – we still had many couples that we never saw several of their elements at all. So it’s just to be able to have a simple understanding of what they’re attempting.

So if something goes wrong in the competition you have an understanding what element was supposed to be there?

Shawn Rettstatt: No, in terms of technical paneling you still evaluate what you see on the day of the competition. And it is the same for the judges.

They do need to come to practices because it’s more than just watching the performance. It’s making sure that the music is correct, and in ice dance that’s a huge piece of the Rhythm dance part. As well as for the free dance because it has to have the change of tempo etc. So part of it is that they just need to hear the music as well.

But we’ve tossed around the idea that maybe on the day off they don’t come to practices anymore. So that the skaters don’t have to be up at 4 AM, you know putting on hair and makeup and getting ready. But to be honest it’s also part of the ice dance culture – I did it when I competed. I was fully dressed and ready to go at 7:00 am and I wasn’t just in practice clothes. And there are some competitions (on regional level) that are not as big as this event in Espoo (where we had six official dance practices) – and you don’t have any practice there. The first time you see the couple is literally at the event.

But maybe there’s a way that we can slowly tweak that a little bit so that the teams don’t have to be in full hair and makeup, in their competition costume in every practice. And maybe the officials don’t have to also be at every practice. It’s one of our conversations we’ve been having with the skaters and the coaches to see – okay, how can we do.


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