Ice Dancing

They are one. There is no distinction. They are in love. You see the madness of love, and the magic.

We have no current exemplars of this ice dance ideal in the eligible ranks.

Oh come on. This is the bad stuff. This is the wild stuff. The psychedelic version. It's great. Gonzo skating. What's snowboarding? Freestyle skiing? Never heard of it. If you don't take your life in your hands every time you go out on the ice, you ain't doing it right. You just ain't. Sorry. Ain't no way. A-tall. (Pffffhhtt.)

You're looking for a look of insanity in the eyes. You're looking for a flirtatious costume (I never mention costuming unless I have to, but it is crucial to the style and flair of ice dancing). You're looking for an aura of desire so strong that it almost makes you send the kids to bed. You're looking for skate blades repeatedly coming within an inch of each other. I didn't say you could stick an inch ruler between them. I said the inch ruler got squashed. Badly. Badly. You're looking for that not being two people on the ice. That has to be one person or you may as well go home. O.N.E. One. Thank you. You get the idea. Thanks. We're all big boys and girls. And we don't discuss such things further on national TV. We just give it gold medals. Thank you.

Compulsories are mean. So mean I almost think they should be used as qualifying only, not to determine a couple's place in the standings. What it is, is you memorize this dance. Just the way they give it to you. You have to prepare more dances than you'll do, and then they choose which ones you'll do. Eeee. Eeeee. Mean. It has to be perfect. Lobes, edges, everything. Lobes are like the leaves of a four-leaf clover, except you pick them apart and put the leaves in various places all over the ice. You just have to go around them most of the way, but your edges had better be right, and everything has to be perfect. Otherwise you're doomed. Doomed, I said. Awful. It was fun to do, but I pity skaters doing it now. It's all under a microscope.

Then you have the OSP (or whatever). It's like you make up your own compulsory. They tell you what kind of music, what kind of dance, how fast and you go from there. This is the true test of an ice dancer. Can you combine technical perfection in blades and moves with the sheer artistic sense to portray another, deeper, more beautiful side of a dance that everybody else is doing? For instance, this year's dance is the jive. Real boppy Fifties stuff, a lot of it. Be prepared to oversdose on "Rock Around the Clock." You have to make your stuff look good without deviating from the rules. No lifts above the shoulders, no jumps, no throws, couples stay together at all times. (Standard ice dance rules.) The dance contest from Hades. Absolute Hades. I promise. Look for the couple who wants to be together. The kids in high school who were inseparable. You want to yell, "Get a room." And some of it looks like they're thinking two seconds about it. They're that crazy about each other. You're exhausted when it's over.

That couple.

Where is one? Let's see.....

You get the idea. On with the show. Pizza? Coke? We're set. Where's the remote?

Free dance -- easy. If they can do the rest, they can fake that. This is for show. The exhibition starts early. The basic ice dance rules, then fake like mad. Any couple can make one up in ten minutes. At this level, anyway. Or a little below. Now that should be part of the competition.

Look for occasional flashes of brilliance, no holes in the costumes, and nobody hitting the ice. Ice dance is not about falling. No. No. Uh uh. Out. Go. I don't care if it's cold. G'wan!

You get the idea. It's fun. At least it should appear to be. And if it's not, you've got problems.

Just like anything else.

And then the medals. But you can handle that. First, second, third, nice medals, pretty flowers, and somebody's anthem.

But the real prizes are won on the ice. Go look for 'em. They're there. That's the fun part. Ain't it?

? Can't believe my eyes. Keep coming back!