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  1. #1
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    Pairs in the Figure era: dumb question

    Did pairs do figures? Or did they only ever do the freeskate?

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    Pairs competitions were just one program until the mid-1960s, at which time a compulsory program (short program) was added for that discipline because at the time it was the only discipline with only one phase. (The singles short program introduced in the 1970s was modeled on the pairs short.)

    Most pair skaters also started out training as singles skaters, and some kept up with singles training all the way up to senior level and may or may not have competed in both disciplines.

    So individual pair skaters may well have trained school figures to a similar level as their pair skating. But they were not required to do so, and they did not compete figures as a pair.

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    Thanks.

    I didn't THINK they did (would they both just do them indidiually, would one follow the other on the circle, would they be side by side off-set?) because it didn't seem like figures could work for a pair.

    But since figures used to be more than half of the score, it seemed weird an entire discipline wouldn't skate them (though I have no doubt they trained and tested them).

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    Singles and ice dance had some kind of compulsories to show some level of either skating or something else but pairs never did it was just a free skate? So if it was two skaters skating together why not have compulsories? Or like dance had stages as well so pairs was just jumping or spins and lifts? So t was not seen to have a base other than two people skating together and that's it?!

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    I only discovered recently that things like choctaws were never part of figures. They were only dance moves until really IJS came in and skaters need to do them as part of their step sequences for the levels.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I only discovered recently that things like choctaws were never part of figures. They were only dance moves until really IJS came in and skaters need to do them as part of their step sequences for the levels.
    There used to be 'dance figures' tests. A competitive couple would do subscribed parts of compulsory dances to a long extended count on a patch figure eight or serpentine, depending on the dance, and in dance hold position together. It was part of passing levels for novice, junior etc. I think they were gone by the 90s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I only discovered recently that things like choctaws were never part of figures. They were only dance moves until really IJS came in and skaters need to do them as part of their step sequences for the levels.
    Many freeskates used them too- so they weren't JUST in dance. But it was totally an option.

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    We used to have a coach at our rink who was an international level Russian pair skater. She came to skating relatively late, having started in gymnastics, and one of the reasons they made her a pair girl was because she wouldn't have to do figures. They thought it would be too difficult for her to catch up enough to be competitive as a singles skater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I only discovered recently that things like choctaws were never part of figures. They were only dance moves until really IJS came in and skaters need to do them as part of their step sequences for the levels.
    Turns that involved changing one foot to another weren't part of figures (mohawks, choctaws), but all of the turns you now see in moves/free that are done on one foot - threes, rockers, counters, and brackets - have always been part of figures. The only sort of divergence from that was showing you can step from a back outside to a forward outside edge in the middle of the figure for the waltz eight and from back inside to forward outside edge during the foot change in the three from the first test.

    I wish I could remember - does anyone? - I feel like there might have been a USFSA figure test requirement before you could take pairs tests back in the day, just like you had to pass the figure level before taking a given level of freestyle test for individual - just like today, you need to pass a prerequisite moves level before taking a pairs test. So, figures wouldn't have been evaluated in competition, but the skaters would need to attain a certain level of proficiency in figures anyway.

    I think I might have just thrown out an old USFSA rulebook from the '70's during a recent purge in the house.
    Disclaimer: The post contained herein represents the opinions of a fan and may or may not bear any relation to reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by googooeyes View Post
    There used to be 'dance figures' tests. A competitive couple would do subscribed parts of compulsory dances to a long extended count on a patch figure eight or serpentine, depending on the dance, and in dance hold position together. It was part of passing levels for novice, junior etc. I think they were gone by the 90s.
    Interesting! Would like to find out more about this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AYS View Post
    I think I might have just thrown out an old USFSA rulebook from the '70's during a recent purge in the house.
    Isn't that always the way it goes! These things need to be scanned.

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    My old CFSA (Skate Canada) rulebooks are gone too. There used to be a CFSA instructional videotape for dance patch, I remember watching it.
    I think that for a while in the late 80s and 90s when figures were being phased out of competition, you still had to have passed your fourth figure test to be 'qualified' to be a competitive skater, no matter if it was singles or pairs. Dance teams had to pass compulsories and the dance patch tests. Boy things have changed!

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    I have a book about a US pair, and I'm blanking on the name of the pair. They skated out of the eastern US, and the girl of the pair and her sister were discussed in Joan Ryan's book, Little Girls in Pretty Boxes. If someone can fill in the blanks, please do!

    Anyway, I remember from this book about the pair that the girl didn't pass a figure test that would have let her continue competing as a singles skater, but she had passed a high enough figure test that she could be a pairs skater. So if this is correct there must have been a figures requirement for US pairs. I believe that some US pairs coaches also made their pairs do figures just to improve their skills, even if the skaters weren't going to be competing figures.

    I have a CFSA rulebook that has the figure tests in it (which is why I kept it) - I will look and see if what googooeyes remembers is true, I think it is.
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    I guess I should have specified in my original question that I am wondering about competition. And it appears they did not.

    The pairs -skaters- did figures (for tests) but the -pairs- did not do them. Though the information about dance figures is extremely interesting.

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