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ISU opens door to 'clean' hip hop in ice dancing

Juniors may krump, pop; seniors still stuck with Polka

It may be challenging for ice dancing teams to figure out how to incorporate music by artists like Lil Wayne into their programs next season.
It may be challenging for ice dancing teams to figure out how to incorporate music by artists like Lil Wayne into their programs next season. (Getty Images)

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By Klaus-Reinhold Kany and Lynn Rutherford, special to Icenetwork.com
(02/29/2012) - Let the search for "clean" hip-hop begin.

At an ISU Ice Dance Technical Committee meeting at the 2012 World Junior Championships on Wednesday, committee chairperson Halina Gordon-Poltorak announced that next season junior ice dancing teams may elect to include hip hop in their short dances.

"But it must have a clear rhythm," Gordon-Poltorak said.

Bob Horen, a member of the Committee, interjected.

"And we do not want to hear any obscenities," the long-time U.S. Figure Skating official said. "You coaches should check the lyrics."

In other words, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and 50 Cent likely need not apply.

Junior short dances can pair hip hop with Blues and Swing rhythms. Two sequences of the Blues pattern (compulsory) dance are mandatory. The five short dance elements will be the same next season as they are this season, although there is discussion about whether a circular non-touching step sequence should be allowed for juniors, as it is for seniors.

Adding hip hop to the canon is likely part of the ISU's efforts to appeal to a younger audience. One of the proposals on the docket for the 54th Ordinary ISU Congress, to be held June 11-15 in Kuala Lumpur, is whether to permit all disciplines -- singles and pairs, in addition to dance -- to use music with lyrics in competitive programs.

Next season's senior short dance will include one pattern of the Yankee Polka, divided into two parts. This may be combined with any style of Polka, March or Waltz rhythm. For the Olympic season, 2013-14, senior couples will include the Finnstep (a type of Quickstep) in their short dances.

On the free dance front, the small transitional ("highlight") lift has been eliminated, but the final highlight lift will now have a base value. Gordon-Poltorak stressed that during the free dance there must be at least one clear change of tempo and one clear change of expression.

The committee is still listening to suggestions and further changes may be announced prior to the start of next season.

Minsk madness: U.S. junior ice dancing champions Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton, who placed fifth in the short dance, almost didn't make it to Minsk. The Detroiters were not permitted to board their connecting flight in Paris because they were carrying their skates. After a five-hour layover, and a newly purchased ticket, they finally arrived.