Figure Skater's Website

General Notes - Dance Tests

About Dance Tests

There are 2 kinds of dance tests, Compulsory Dances and Free Dances. Everyone that takes dance takes the Compulsory Dance tests (these are tests like "Rhythm Blues", "Canasta Tango", "Swing Dance", etc). A few people (usually those who want to compete dance at Regionals) also take Free Dance tests, but no Free Dance tests are required to progress up the levels of the test structure.

When you take Compulsory Dance tests, most people take them with a partner. When you do this, they are called "Standard Dance Tests". You can also take them without a partner, in which case they are called "Solo Dance Tests". Solo Dance Tests are a separate stream, and cannot be used for competitive qualification, if you should ever decide to compete. If you take the Standard (partnered) tests, there are some levels (Silver, PreGold, Gold) which require you to skate the pattern solo (by yourself) after you have skated it with your partner. This is just to help you prove to the judges that you know the dance well enough to do it on-pattern and on-timing without somebody else there to help you through...

Standard Dance Tests are grouped into levels called Preliminary, PreBronze, etc. You can test the dances in any order within a level, but you must pass all of the dances at a level before you can take any tests of a higher level (except that when you have completed the PreGold tests you can take any of the Gold or International tests in any order (TR41.03a).


At most clubs, the Test Chairperson or music monitor selects the music which is used for testing. The music will be of the proper beat and tempo, but may not be the same music you are accustomed to practicing to.


During a warmup period for dance tests it is likely that skaters performing several different dances of similar level will share the ice. Each song will be played enough times that each skater will have the opportunity to skate a couple patterns with the partner for each dance that they will test. Skaters may practice and warmup during all songs, and are not required to skate to the specific song being played at any time. It is courteous to give clearance to any skater skating with a partner during the warmup session.

How the Dance Test will be Conducted

Dance tests are usually performed in front of a panel of 3 judges. In some cases, Preliminary tests and Solo tests may be judged by a single judge.

When the judges are ready, an announcer will call out the candidate's name and test level. The skater and partner (if a partnered test) skate to their starting position and when they are ready the music will be started. Skaters perform the required number of patterns. In general, the judges will signal the music player to stop the music when they have seen all the patterns they need (in some cases (usually when some sort of error has happened) they might want to see more than the normal number of patterns). When the music ends you may make a graceful exit from the ice.

If this is a test which requires a solo in addition to the partnered patterns, you should wait near the entry door until the judges are ready to see your solo. Usually the announcer will announce you again for this. At the proper time, your partner will escort you to your starting location, then he/she will leave the ice. You should assume your starting position then the music will start and you may skate your solo.

When the skater is finished, the judges will complete the marking of their papers, which will be compiled and turned over to the Pro when all skaters in the group have finished.

For all tests except Pre-Preliminary and Adult PreBronze, you will receive a numeric marking. This mark will be composed of two parts, one called Technique, the other called Timing/Expression. Each part will be on a scale of 1-6, with 1 representing the least desirable performance and 6 representing perfection. The pre-printed test sheet will indicate a "Passing Average" and a "Passing Total" for that test. The "Passing Total" is simply twice as large as the "Passing Average", and is the number which your test marks must meet or exceed in order for you to "pass" the test. Each component may be individually higher or lower than the "passing average" so long as the total meets the required "passing total".

In the event of a final marking of "Retry", the skater must wait for a minimum of 28 days before retaking the test.

All original content Copyright © 1999-2021 by Korte Web Services, LLC. Permission is granted for clubs and rinks to reproduce for instructional or non-profit purposes, with attribution. This site is produced privately as a service to skaters and is not endorsed by US Figure Skating or other organizations. The USFSA Rulebook is the official guide to rules and requirements. Images may not be republished or used for any commercial purposes