ice dancing, ice-skating competition in which couples are required to perform dance routines to music. The sport gained popularity in the 1930s and the first world championships were held in 1950. Ice dancing is similar to pairs figure skating, but does not allow lifts or other strength moves. Ice dancing competitions now consist of two parts—a short dance and a free dance, which allows the greatest freedom of expression. The first Olympic ice dancing competition was in 1976. At that time, traditional ballroom dances comprised the core of skaters' programs. The leading ice dancers in the 1970s were the Soviets Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov. In the 1980s, the British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean dominated the sport with dramatic and innovative choreography performed to a variety of musical forms (e.g., popular, jazz, classical). They won four consecutive world championships (1981–84) and the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics. Outstanding in the late 1980s and early 1990s were the Russian ice dancers Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko.
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