a) Free Dance is the skating by the Couple of a creative dance program blending with dance steps and movements expressing the character/rhythms(s) of the dance music chosen by the Couple;
The Free Dance must contain combinations of new or known dance steps and movements including Required Elements composed into a well balanced, whole unit displaying excellent skating technique and the personal creativity of the couple in concept, arrangement, and expression. The program including Required Elements must be skated in time and phase with the music. The couple should skate primarily in time to the rhythmic beat, and not to the melody alone. The choreography should clearly reflect the dance character, accents and nuances of the chosen dance music, demonstrating a close relationship between partners with obvious, distinct changes of mood and pace with variations in speed and tempo. The program must utilize the whole ice surface. The Free Dance must not have the concept of a Pair or show program;
b) The duration of the Novice Free Dance must be 3 minutes, the duration of Junior Free Dance must be 3 minutes 1/2 minutes and the duration of the Senior Free Dance - 4 minutes. The Couple is allowed to finish their program within ten seconds plus or minus the required time. The time must be reckoned from the moment when one of the Couple begins to move or skate until arriving at a complete stop at the end of the program;
c) The music for Free Dance must be suitable for Ice Dance as a sport discipline and must have the following characteristics:
i) The music must have an audible rhythmic beat and melody, or audible rhythmic beat alone, but not melody alone, and may be vocal. The music may be without an audible rhythmic beat for up to 10 seconds at the beginning or end of the program and up to 10 seconds during the program.
ii) The music must have at least one change of tempo and/or expression. This change may be gradual or immediate, but in either case it must be obvious.
iii) All music including classical music must be cut/edited, orchestrated or arranged in a way that it creates an interesting, colorful, entertaining dance program with different dance moods or a building effect.
iv) The music must be suitable for the couple's skating skills and technical ability. Free Dances that do not adhere to these guidelines will be severely penalized;
d) All steps and turns are permitted. Deep edges and intricate footwork displaying skating skill, difficulty, variety and originality that constitute the distinct technical content of the dance must be included in the program and performed by both partners. In the interest of the public in the arena, programs should be choreographed to all sides of the arena and not only focused to Judge’s side;
e) All elements and movements are permitted provided that they are appropriate to the character of the music and to the concept of a Well Balanced Program and are in accordance with the definitions in Rule 604;
f) Pair skating elements as defined in Rule 519 (excluding spirals, spins and step sequences) are not allowed;
g) The number of separations to execute intricate footwork is not restricted. The distance between partners should not exceed two arms lengths. The duration of each such separation must not exceed 5 seconds. The separations at the beginning and/or end of the Free Dance may be up to 10 seconds in duration without restrictions on the distance of separation;
h) All changes of hold are permitted. Many and varied holds increase the difficulty of the program and therefore, should be included. Skating face to face is considered to be more difficult than skating side by side, hand in hand, separately or one after the other;
i) Full stops (up to 5 seconds), in which the Couple remains stationary on the ice while performing body movements, twisting, posing and the like are permitted;
j) The program must be developed through skating quality rather than through non-skating actions such as sliding on one knee, or use of toe steps which should be used only to reflect the character of the dance and underlining rhythm and nuances of the chosen music. Touching the ice with the hand(s) is not permitted. Kneeling or sliding on two knees, or sitting on the ice is not allowed and it will be considered by the Technical Panel as a fall.