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Diamond Dance Standards

Standards for the Diamond Dance Test

In general, the standards of performance must be higher than those for a gold dance but not as high as the standards for a dance at the senior competitive level.

The choreography alone demands a fairly high level of competence, therefore taking the standards over and above the gold test level.

The steps and timing, of course, must be accurate as per Rule Book descriptions. Proficiency must be maintained for all sequences, with ease of movement throughout and convincing expression in order to be satisfactory. There must be consistency of movement and flow.

 

 

Rhumba

Special attention must be paid to the accuracy of steps and edges since the same hold is maintained throughout the dance.

Character – the dance must maintain a soft smooth and sensuous expression throughout.

Strong deep edges add feeling to the Rhumba.

The double choctaw is the feature of this dance and must be well done. Some variation in the execution of Choctaw is acceptable given the difficult open hip position required.

The repeat of the dance must ensure a proper RBI to LFO transition.

 

Dance Rhythm

Timing:

  • 1, 2 and 4 beat edges
  • Rhythmic and smooth
  • Timing on opening chasse, change of edge step: 4 beats
    chasse: 1, and
    change of edge: 2, and 3
    cross in front: 4
  • Timing of choctaw
    LFI: 3, 4, 1, 2
    RBO: 3, 4, 1, 2
    LFI: 3, 4, 1, 2
  • Timing of cross-behind: 2 and in front 2 into repeat

Expression:

  • Smooth and sensuous
  • Moving strongly across the ice

Unison:

  • Maintenance of correct Kilian position in close proximity
  • Good soft knee action, matching throughout
  • Matching free leg extension/position on double choctaw

 

Execution

Style:

  • Proper Kilian position and good carriage throughout
  • Subtle use of knee action to ensure power and flow
  • Strong posture, upper back and arm positions, open chest

Accuracy:

  • Opening chasse, change of edge, clean with correct edges
  • First wide step half the size of the second one
  • Choctaw on accurate edges of even depth
  • Three-turn lobe strong to ensure accurate pattern repetition

Pattern:

  • Set pattern
  • Step # 1 should be placed at the midline

 

Suggested Comments for the Rhumba

 

Stengths Weaknesses
Smooth/soft/sophisticated rhumba feel Lacks subtle Latin /rhumba flavour
Accurate timing
Good use of syncopated steps
Timing slurred
Neat, accurate footwork Flat LFO on repeat LFO chasse
Well-executed double choctaw with equal edges and depth Choctaw on incorrect edges and partner separations in choctaws
Good depth of edge throughout Flat insignificant edges
Maintenance of flow Uneven flow
Soft matching knee action and leg extension, Lacks unison
Good Kilian position Slips in and out of a good hold position
Pattern well placed Pattern not repeated from centre line
Upright carriage with strong body line Awkward posture

 

 

Tango Romantica

The choreography of this dance is complex and difficult with demanding holds and edges. There is a lot going on so remember to ‘look at the forest, not just the individual trees’! Special attention must be paid to the accuracy of steps and edges. This is a romantic and flirtatious tango but a tidiness and crispness must be maintained throughout the dance.

 

Dance Rhythm

Timing

  • A variety of 1, 2 and 4 beats edges
  • Unique to this dance is that Step 1 starts on beat 4
  • Step #5 for lady: RBO on “and” between 1, 2 and 3, 4
  • Step #5 for man: twizzle turned after beat 3
  • Step #7 for lady: RFI very short mohawk on “and” between 1, 2 and 3, 4
  • Special attention must be paid to:
    step #10: LBI twizzle turned on “and” between 1, 2 and 3, 4
    step #46a: RBO double 3-turn - ½ beat RBO ½ beat RFI
  • Step #36 for lady: LFO 3-turn – ½ beat ½ beat
  • Step #42 for man and lady:
    LFO, RFI, chasse
    ½ beat ½ beat

Expression:

  • The romantic expression is enhanced by soft, flowing edges with excellent leg extension; erect posture and head held high. This expression is enhanced by the syncopated quick twizzles and half beat steps, very strong focus and head positions.

Unison:

  • Close proximity of the two bodies is necessary to accomplish the skating of this dance
  • Depth of knee and free leg extension must be synchronized
  • Positions and steps must be precise

 

Execution

Style:

  • Proper carriage and attention to the detail of holds
  • Subtle use of knees contrasted with syncopation of quick steps
  • An evenness of flow must exist throughout the dance
  • Unique/interesting head and arm movements can be incorporated
  • Speed may be a bit slow due to number of steps and complicated interaction between partners

Accuracy:

  • Crisp, neat footwork
  • Special attention must be paid to the correctness of the edge, crossed steps and quick threes and mohawks
  • Often referred to as the helicopter section, the leg sequence in the cross roll (step #1) is of particular interest, as it is the opening non-rotational turn

Pattern:

  • Pattern is optional but must be maintained for all patterns

 

Suggested Comments for the Tango Romantica

 

Stengths Weaknesses
Precise timing with contrast between long flowing edges and syncopated steps Slurred timing
Lack of syncopation
Accurate steps
Tidy, neat footwork
Sloppy steps
Dynamic opening non-rotational turn Lack of unison on non-rotational turn
Fast BI twizzle for lady
Fast, sharp twizzles throughout
Poor twizzle/off balance
Close positions and accurate steps for man and lady #28 to #32 Too much distance between partners
Partner being pulled into step(s) or position(s)
Positions correct; executed with style and good carriage Positions not clear, poor posture
Maintains flow Uneven speed and flow
Pattern well-placed and repeated Pattern not maintained
Tango expression maintained throughout Lacks tango expression
Swing three and mohawk for lady and man’s twizzle is a highlight when done well  

 

 

Yankee Polka

The Polka is an energetic light-hearted and somewhat bouncy dance. Short precise steps with effortless flow and tight correct positions add to the character of the dance. The basic principles of stroking and effortless flow should be adhered to as much as possible. In terms of accuracy, one would not be able to skate this dance with a partner if it were not reasonably accurate.

Good knee action, balance and rhythm are essential to the success of this dance. Partners need to remain close together to minimize the whipping action, which can occur when stroking quickly around each other.

 

Dance Rhythm

Timing:

  • A variety of 1 and 2 beat steps
  • The timing is straight forward (each 2 beat edges) until after steps #22 and #23, a closed choctaw when the lady crosses LBI in front for 1 beat followed by a RBO chasse on “and” between beats 3 and 4 and then stepping on LBI for 1 beat
  • Pay special attention to the “and” steps throughout the dance which characterizes the polka rhythm
  • The timing must be precise, sharp and very clear throughout

Expression:

  • Energetic and light-hearted throughout
  • Tight accurate positions and wide steps accentuated by some dramatic changes of lean, high knee and free leg positions add to the character of the dance
  • A healthy constant knee rhythm plus crisp tidy steps help as well
  • There should be no appearance of pushing

Unison:

  • Tightness of positions and excellent timing will ensure good unison on this quick little dance
  • If the knees have a consistent up and down motion (the accent on the down) plus good carriage, then the free leg unison can easily be maintained
  • The man needs a strong frame to keep the dance together for two patterns

 

Execution

Style:

  • Good carriage, precise footwork, knee rhythm and timing are necessary
  • The style can be enhanced with proper characterization of free leg and arm movements
  • Saucy head positions add to the style
  • Some interesting arms to highlight character
  • Crisp up and down knee action will keep the dance moving and the couple together
  • There should be no evidence of pushing/pulling

Accuracy:

  • Many tiny, neat little steps
  • All crossed steps and quick chasses must be distinct
  • Proper placement of toe to heel on choctaw is a must
  • Holds must be accurate

Pattern:

  • Optional pattern, but must be maintained for both patterns
  • With constant knee rhythm the pattern fits nicely in the rink
  • The opening and re-start must be the same shape

 

Suggested Comments for the Yankee Polka

 

Strengths Weaknesses
Happy, light, crisp expression Lacks correct character and expression
Some creativity in arm positions on steps #32, #33 and #34 No attempt at creative movements
Saucy head movements Partner positions unclear
Neat, precise footwork and correct edges Sloppy footwork and incorrect edges
Timing correct Poor timing
Good unison Uneven timing
Tight partner positions Partners separating or lunging
Even flow throughout Flow is not constant throughout
Good speed with steps intentional and committed Upper body is not held erect

 

 

Austrian Waltz

This dance is a not-so-typical Viennese waltz in ¾ time. It can be skated strongly on deep
curves with many changes of lobe. There are therefore steps and curves with more beats.

The man’s steps are considerably less difficult than the lady’s but must allow him to have a
strong lead, which is indeed necessary to aid the lady through her difficult twizzles.

Long, extended movements of arms and legs give this dance its character accentuated by fast
light twizzles.

 

Dance Rhythm

Timing:

  • The timing is typical, but with many long edges
  • The twizzles are accents which are only accents if done on the correct beat
  • The long, flowing edges in contrast to the quick twizzles give this dance a large open smooth feeling

Expression:

  • The timing given to each step as part of the choreography allows for a built-in, natural expression
  • Erect carriage, a beautiful waltz position and very good extensions give this dance its strength and elegance
  • A soft, constant knee action and beautifully accurate fast twizzles with tightly crossed feet contrast the long edges and help give this dance a light, flowing appeal

Unison:

  • Maintenance of a good, closed position and constant rise and fall of the knee encourage good unison
  • The long and evenly structured lobes allow for well-matched free legs
  • The man must have a strong lead and well-controlled edges to hold this dance together

 

Execution

Style:

  • This is not the type of waltz that is enhanced by a lot of additional arm movements – an excellent closed hold is best
  • Close proximity of the partners is a must
  • Good stretch, turn out and point are musts
  • Elegant carriage, even knee rhythm and edge control add to the style

Accuracy:

  • The placement of the steps on the lobe must be accurate, even though the pattern is optional – the timing could suffer as well
  • The crossed steps must be tight and neat
  • Special attention must be paid to the twizzles and their accuracy and speed
  • The man must hold this dance together with a dominant lead
  • Good control over strong edges keeps the lobes even
  • Some interesting arm holds, from steps #18 to #21, need special attention

Pattern:

  • The pattern is optional but must maintain even, well-controlled lobes
  • Correct timing and edges do not allow much variance in the shape of the pattern; it becomes bigger with more speed and flow of course
  • The repeat pattern must be identical to the first – good control and even flow facilitate this.

 

Suggested Comments for the Austrian Waltz

 

Strengths Weaknesses
Well-controlled deep edges Edges of poor depth and control, balance issues
Strong, closed position with an open style and good carriage Lacks connection in the holds; breaking at the waist; too much reaching for partner
A good lead by the man A weak hold and poor lead by the man
Close proximity of the partners with an inverted V appearance Separations between partners
Fast, accurate twizzles Twizzles of poor technique tending to lose timing
Very clear changes of hold especially throughout the twizzle sequences Poor changes of hold
Good style No clear style
Lovely flow, with good knee rhythm Poor or no knee rhythm causing lack of flow
A joy of movement to the waltz rhythm The dance is a struggle
Accurate timing Poor timing

 

 

Golden Waltz

This is a very difficult dance technically, with many highlights.

A strong, closed position with tight hips and lovely upright carriage is a must.

Attention to correct positions on steps and turns is necessary.

Timing must be clear.

When well done, this dance has a fresh, light and romantic feel.

 

Dance Rhythm

Timing:

  • Viennese Waltz – 3/4 time
  • Accuracy of the timing through the opening walk-arounds and ladies twizzles is essential
  • The timing of the lady’s RFI three and twizzle (step #31) and into the drop position followed by RBO three and subsequent twizzle is difficult
  • To set the timing through the two-footed steps #48 a and b is essential for an accurate restart
  • Constant, pulsating 3/4 rhythm gives this dance its character

Expression:

  • Light, flowing, happy expression throughout
  • Accuracy in length of each step and edge enhances the timing
  • Constant, soft knee rhythm and erect carriage adds to the character

Unison:

  • A good waltz hold and proper understanding of tracking aid in unison
  • Same height of free leg positions throughout the dance when the steps are matching
  • A close proximity of partners encourages better unison
  • Good timing makes for good unison

 

Execution

Style:

  • Good posture and positions are needed
  • Stretched, well-turned-out legs and toes and easy movement from the hip
  • A beautiful, strong but open look to the waltz hold
  • Soft knees are a must
  • A constant even flow throughout

Accuracy:

  • Accurate steps and edges must be maintained
  • The opening walk-around, the fast matching LFO threes and all twizzles must be done with a high degree of accuracy for this dance to work
  • The holds are demanding and should be clear
  • A good lead on behalf of the man is a very positive asset
  • There are new positions in this dance such as coupe, passe and attitude that need special attention
  • There are several free arm positions for both partners adding to detail

Pattern:

  • The pattern is optional, however, first and second must be the same
  • The first side is fairly straightforward
  • The first end pattern must not come too high into centre while crossing the midline; this enables the couple to get out of the corner to set up the second side
  • The lobes on the second side may be shallower than those of the first side; this is due to the choreography as well as fewer beats of music
  • The second end pattern again must enable the couple to get out of the corner to set up the repeat

 

Suggested Comments for the Golden Waltz

 

Strengths Weaknesses
Tight, accurate position and good timing on opening walk-around – a lovely highlight Poor walk around, off time and awkward
Good timing and unison on double left outside 3-turns Poor unison and slow timing on double three sequence
Dance feels jerky/rushed
Clean, accurate hold changes Awkward changes of hold
Close proximity of partners Partners skating too far apart
Clear timing Uneven timing, grabbing
Highlights: walk-around, lady’s drop, attitude turns for both, man’s spread eagle section, lady’s three into twizzle and drop, all done with accuracy and style Highlights are not performed at a high skill level with ease and style
Great set up for repeat of dance Poor repeat set up.
Smooth, waltz like quality – ease of rise and fall knee action throughout
Lovely free leg extension
Light, free and precise
Jerky movements
Lack of soft knee rise and fall
Lack of extension, elegant waltz feeling
Laboured or has the appearance of a struggle

 

 

Ravensburger Waltz

This is a waltz in ¾ time and skated with the character of a Viennese Waltz. It is very fast with a
relatively simple pattern. All of the interest lies within the steps and speed rather than changes
of lobe. Feeling is one of whirling around the ballroom floor.

The man’s steps are indeed simple, but with the speed of the dance, he must maintain an
excellent lead.

The lady’s steps on the other hand are more difficult with two lovely twizzle highlights.

When this dance is done well, with great speed and close accurate positions, one is not aware
of the discrepancy in difficulty.

 

Dance Rhythm

Timing:

  • The timing is regular and very quick with a nice variety of three beat, six beat, and one, two, one; one, two, three measures
  • The lady’s FI twizzle is performed between beats two and three ideally
  • The actual timing of the rotating mohawks is not difficult, but the timing of the hold changes throughout this sequence is a challenge
  • The lady’s second twizzle should be turned after two beats on the RBO edge
  • The walk-around at the end of the sequence is delightful when done well and on time – one, two, one; one, two, three

Expression:

  • The expression is enhanced with very good closed and open positions; tight hips and as big and open upper body carriage as possible (an inverted V)
  • Soft knees and long leg lines add elegance. Quick light steps, with very pointed and turned out toes are necessary.
  • High and elegant head positions with good focus add style and of course beautifully controlled changes of lean add to the waltz appeal

Unison:

  • The longer edges are easy to match while the short quick steps are more demanding. Correct positions and good timing produce quality unison.

 

Execution

Style:

  • Long lines, beautiful stretch and pointed toes, a good turn-out, and soft knee rhythm are required to make this a dance and not a race to the finish
  • Stately, proud and exhilarating may be good adjectives to describe the style…look for shoulders down, chest open, good upright back carriage, chin up, open face

Accuracy:

  • Great care must be given to the timing and tracking of the opening threes
  • The lady must work to a high skill level on all twizzles and independently of her partner; twizzles then blend naturally into the dance without hesitation
  • For this level, the steps are not terribly difficult, but to do them with speed and with changes of hold is demanding and very difficult to keep under control
  • Control of the upper body and all positions is essential

Pattern:

  • The pattern is simple and in fact quite shallow and very straightforward
  • The pattern can get out of control if the flow is uneven and the couple does not skate closely together
  • The second side of the dance must be edgy, so as not to miss the repeat of the dance

 

Suggested Comments for the Ravensburger Waltz

 

Strengths Weaknesses
A close proximity of partners creating a
oneness
Separation between partners
Clear/Precise timing Scrambling to keep on time
Neat, accurate steps Sloppy steps
Fast and controlled twizzles Poor twizzles, slow or off balance
Superior waltz hold and positioning Awkward changes of hold and poor posture
An excellent lead by the man Poor lead and control by the man
Open, exciting, elegant feel to the dance No elegance or lightness to the dance
Even, fast, effortless speed Erratic flow
  Second pattern weaker than the first

 

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