Attention All Dance Coaches!

December 1, 2016
   In The Loop Extended Articles

Pattern Dance Testing – Partnered and Solo Tracks

In 1996, U.S. Figure Skating added solo pattern dance track tests to the testing structure. This track was not meant to augment the current dance tests for everyone, but to make tests and goals available to those skaters who did not have access to partners or who preferred this form of skating.

As the solo dance tests became more popular, more clarification was needed as to how the solo dance track fit in with the partnered dance track, so in 2011, the rules were clarified and now read as follows in the 2016-17 U.S. Figure Skating Rulebook, pages 271-272:

TR 40.05 Solo dance track tests (standard, adult and masters) are a separate series of tests and are not related to dance tests skated with a partner. Therefore, the passing of a lower level solo dance track test (standard, adult or masters) does not qualify the candidate to take the next higher level standard, adult or masters partnered pattern dance test. These tests do not meet the requirements for the dance competition levels of senior down through pre-juvenile per rules 6200-6252 and adult dance events per rules 6500-6601. However, these tests do meet the requirements for solo dance events at nonqualifying competitions and adult solo dance events per rules 6620-6661.
A. To qualify for any adult solo dance track test, the candidate must be 21 years of age or older
B. To qualify for any masters solo dance track test, the candidate must be 50 years of age or older.

TR 41.02 All of the dances in a dance test need not be taken at the same test session. Those dances that are passed will be credited toward the completion of the test. To complete a partnered pattern dance test level, all tests within the level must be taken and passed as partnered pattern dance tests. To complete a solo pattern dance test level, all tests within the level must be taken and passed as solo pattern dance track tests. Solos within a partnered pattern dance test (silver and above) do not count toward completion of solo pattern dance track tests.

TR 44.00 Solo Pattern Dance Track Test Requirements
TR 44.01 Skaters may begin testing the solo pattern dance track tests at the next level above their highest completed partnered pattern dance track or they may start testing at the lowest level. To complete a solo pattern dance track test level, all tests within the level must be taken and passed as solo pattern dance track tests.

Despite the fact that these rules have been in place since 2011, we still see skaters trying to complete pattern dance tests with a mixture of partnered and solo pattern dances. We know this can be frustrating for skaters, parents and coaches to find out after the fact that tests need to be taken with or without a partner in order to continue advancing through the pattern dance tests, so we are sending this out as a clarification to coaches and test chairs in hopes of preventing cross-track test order errors from happening.

If you are a coach, please be sure you double check the rules. Don’t assume you know something even if it’s been in place for 15 years. Any rule can change in any given year – look it up and be sure! Please remember that solo pattern dance track tests are a completely different track and do not provide any credit toward partnered pattern dance track tests. If you are starting a skater on the solo track, make sure they are aware that those tests will not count toward partnered tests nor for the test requirements for partnered dance events in qualifying competitions should they want to compete with a partner in the future. And, if they start a pattern dance test level (preliminary, pre-bronze, bronze, etc.) on one track (partnered or solo), please make sure they complete it on the same track. The tracks cannot “mix”, and no exceptions are made for this. Even at the higher levels, where partnered pattern dance tests include a solo portion, the judges are looking for different things in that solo portion (which is just part of a test) than they are in a solo dance track test, so one cannot count toward the other.

If you are a test chair, please keep an eye out for this. If you see a skater register to take a partnered pattern dance test, and you know they’ve already taken the other tests at that level as solo pattern dance tests, please point them to Rule TR 44.01 and make sure they know that the partnered test will not count toward the completion of the solo pattern dance level and vice versa.

U.S. Figure Skating thanks you in advance for helping our skaters understand the rules to prevent missing test prerequisite error(s) on skaters’ test records.