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Thread: Advice on Moves/Dance

  1. #1
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    Question Advice on Moves/Dance

    I recently have decided that I would like to begin USFSA skating, specifically with a concentration in Ice dance/ moves. (I love footwork /learning dance patterns) I'm curious about the best way to find a coach ( I only know ISI/jump coaches and skaters) as well as how many tests I can expect to get through relatively quickly if I have basic skating skills and am landing doubles (doing brackets, chases etc) This is Including mif and dance.

    Also how do you test free dances if you don't have a partner? Does a 14 year old girl with strong footwork/edges/skating skills stand a chance of finding a partner living near a large city (in the future). Just looking for basic info.

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    My daughter is a freeskater so I have never looked into the dance requirements/progressions. However, this is what I have observed.

    At my rink (near a large city), we have several coaches (male and female) that specialize in MIF. Some of these MIF coaches have a syncro background and other MIF coaches have a dance background. When looking for a MIF coach, I would ask about their background. My guess is a coach with a syncro background can help you in the short term but you would need to switch in the long term.

    To test dance MIF, I believe you first have to compete some "normal" MIF levels and then you get to start testing the dance MIF patterns. I believe at least some of the dance MIF tests you test with your coach; some may be on your own.

    In my area, male dance partners are really had to find. As a result, "solo" ice dancing has become very popular. There is as circuit where if you place at specific competitions you earn points and those with the highest points advance to Nationals. The USFS website provides the following information on this "solo" ice circuit:
    The Solo Dance Competition Series, was launched in January 2011. This program serves as a membership and dance discipline development tool, and is open to individual skaters within the Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast sections.

    The series is an expansion of the National Solo Dance Championships and will provide an avenue for ice dancers at the Standard Levels to compete at and qualify for the National Solo Dance Championships.

    The goal of this program is to create a fun, nationwide competitive program for solo dancers that will allow them to expand their competitive opportunities, have the chance to qualify for a national event, keep travel costs down and increase the visibility of ice dancing at local competitions.


    Hope this helps - Good luck!

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    How long does it take to pass each level? Depends on a lot of things like how quickly you can learn the patterns, how often you practice those patterns, and your skating club's test schedule. For awhile, my club (very big) offered test sessions each month; now they are being offered only every-other-month. I was told that some smaller clubs only offer test sessions before/after competitions.

    I know of one little girl that LOVES to practice her MIF. She is hoping to pass her Senior MIF while she is still 8. If she does, that means she will have completed all the MIF levels in less than 3 years! This is the extreme for fast. Her mom says that once her daughter is done with these, she will then work on the all the dance MIF.

    At the other end of the spectrum, I have heard of coaches only want a skater to pass 1 MIF level per year. So that would take you 8 years to get though all the levels.

    I think a motivated skater who practices regularly can get through most levels in 6 months or less. Some levels are more tricky than others and I have heard the Novice is currently the hardest level to pass.

  4. #4
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Just as a correction, there's no such thing as "dance MIF". There are pattern dances which are blocked together in groups for each level (Preliminary is the first level and there are three dances: Rhythm Blues, Dutch Waltz, and Canasta Tango on that test, all three must be passed before the next level can be attempted. Some clubs allow contigency testing and I know of many people who took all three Preliminary dances and the Cha Cha from the PreBronze test on the same session). These are a completely separate testing track from Singles and Pairs and are not reliant on passing anything specific other than the previous level as a pre-requisite. I know a former ice dancer who took all her pattern dances from Prelim to Gold in one single day/test session but she was a former high level pairs skater prior to dance.

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    Awhile back they created a rule that you have to wait 30 days before you can test at the next level. This is for "normal" MIF.

    Curious if there is a similar rule to test dance patterns.

  6. #6
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    ovaskater, are you familiar with the MIF test patterns and pattern dances? You can find the patterns and descriptions in the rulebook that I linked below.

    Start with the prepreliminary MIF and the preliminary dances (Dutch Waltz, Canasta Tango, Rhythm Blues). You can probably teach these to yourself using the patterns in the rulebook and videos you can find on youtube.

    The next levels will be harder to learn just from watching. But it will definitely be clearer what the tests require if you can see other skaters doing them, online or on the same sessions where you practice.

    Do look for a coach. Start with the closest rink that has a USFS club associated with it. They may have a hardcopy and/or online list of associated coaches, their backgrounds and areas of expertise. Find out which dance and moves coaches are available to take new students, and set up some trial lessons to see who you click with. (Although if there's only one dance coach nearby, it may need to be that person or no one.)

    It's hard to get a sense of your real skill level from what you've posted here. Being able to do moves at all can be a far cry from doing specific patterns up to the standards of that test level. E.g., brackets are on the Intermediate MIF test, which requires a relatively high level of precision. We'd need to see your actual skating in some detail to know how close you are to that skill level. Working with an experienced coach and watching other skaters who are working on these tests will give you a better idea than strangers on the Internet can.

    I would guess that you already have most of the skills needed for the Pre-pre moves and Preliminary dances. So once you start working with a coach and understand exactly what you need to do in each of the patterns, you may be able to sign up to take these tests at the next available test session.

    The Preliminary moves and Pre-Bronze dances might take a little longer. Maybe another month, maybe another year. It depends how many new skills you'll need to learn, how much time you have to practice each week, how many lessons you take, how good your coach is at teaching new skills and how good you are at picking them up, etc. And then expect each subsequent level to take progressively longer. As concorde mentions, Novice MIF is often the hardest test for many skaters to pass -- once they get past that, Junior and Senior may come more easily.

    If you live somewhere that only holds test sessions a couple times a year, you might well be ready for the second test in each sequence before you have an opportunity to pass the first.

    concorde, when you say "they created a rule that you have to wait 30 days," you probably mean that your club created such a rule.

    The 2013-14 USFS rulebook does not have any rule about waiting 30 days to take the next level of test after passing the prerequisite test ("contingency testing").

    Individual clubs might have rules against it -- mine does -- primarily because allowing skaters to sign up for tests that they are not yet qualified to take can end up wasting expensive, hard-to-come-by ice time if the skaters don't pass the first test they signed up for.

    The only USFS restrictions are:

    TR 2.02 A candidate will not be eligible to take a higher-level test until all of the preceding tests in the same category have been passed or completed except as otherwise specified in these rules. A certificate or other satisfactory evidence of the highest test previously passed or completed must be presented before taking a test.
    TR 2.03 All tests, when marked “retry,” may not be retaken prior to the 27th day following the date of the original test. Example: A test taken on May 1 and marked “retry” may not be retaken before May 28, the 28th being the 27th day following the date of the original test.
    Valid test papers with passing marks received that day should count as "other satisfactory evidence," for clubs that allow contingency testing.

    In fact most test registration is done online these days. Test chairs need to know that the skater had already passed the prerequisite test(s) when they sign up, and sometimes it takes a few weeks for the online databases to be updated after a previous test session.

  7. #7
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    I know all the pre pre and preliminary MIF patterns as my old coach used them for basic warm ups as well as various patterns through intermediate she thought were useful. I know a few dance patterns , but not in great detail. I'll have to stay at my IsI rink and test at another rink (there are us coaches here, I'm just not familiar with them) because it's the only rink within walking distance. Talked to the synchro coach today. She said I'm around novice synchro level, don't know if that helps much.

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    Ovaskater - sometimes the patterns change so you need to know what is "current." My understanding is that there is a proposal to change some of the MIF patterns. If this proposal passes, it will go into effect this September. What would change varies by level - some levels are unchanged; some change the patterns, and some have skills removed.

    Anyone know whether this proposal has a good chance at passing?

    Regarding the 30-day wait period - it make sense that the rule is club specific. My daughter tests in a club where testing slots typically fill up about a month in advance. When you sign up, they make it clear that no "contingency" testing is allowed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by concorde View Post
    Ovaskater - sometimes the patterns change so you need to know what is "current." My understanding is that there is a proposal to change some of the MIF patterns. If this proposal passes, it will go into effect this September. What would change varies by level - some levels are unchanged; some change the patterns, and some have skills removed.

    Anyone know whether this proposal has a good chance at passing?

    .
    The proposed changes didn't pass.

  10. #10
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concorde View Post
    Regarding the 30-day wait period - it make sense that the rule is club specific. My daughter tests in a club where testing slots typically fill up about a month in advance. When you sign up, they make it clear that no "contingency" testing is allowed.
    That would be your "30 day rule" if the club has no contingency testing

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