Changin rules in Artistic roller skating

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...Two years ago, the CIPA Committee started working on changing and adding rules to improve Artistic Roller Skating and to make it more visual attractive.   Listed below are some notes on our reasoning; also some doubts arising and comments made on the changes.   FREE & Two years ago, the CIPA Committee started working on changing and adding rules to improve Artistic Roller Skating and to make it more visual attractive.

Listed below are some notes on our reasoning; also some doubts arising and comments made on the changes.





1.    Junior Short Programme to be NOT subject to limitations – i.e. It will be the same as for Seniors.


This was proposed and accepted because the elements have proved to be too easy for most skaters. The Committee thought that it worth giving the athletes the opportunity both to demonstrate their technical ability and to push themselves to their maximum. In addition, bearing in mind the levels attained in the Long Programme, the results of the Short Programme were considered to be much flat.


 2.         Set elements of the Short Programme to be presented in a set order.


This has been a difficult and much criticized decision. The reason it has been taken is that after watching videos of the World Championships it became clear that most skaters – even the most talented –tend to perform their spins at the end of their programmes. This was considered to be a negative both for the “B” mark and   the “show” aspect. The Committee therefore decided that in future, the order of presentation of the elements will be pre-set.


Some of the many the comments and criticism:

  • If a skater fails on one of the jump-elements, he/she will not be able to repeat it in place of another element..

  • Choreographers/Trainers will find it difficult to design programmes. The creation of the music will be more difficult because they have to bear in mind the step-sequence which represents the 5th element.

  • The execution of the toe assisted jump (4th element), after a spin (3rd element) doesn’t allow the skater enough recovering time between the two elements for perfect execution.

Having observed and refereed many competitions in which the elements have been pre-set , the Committee decided that the end result was actually much better than previously. We have seen harmonious and attractive programmes built around the elements.

It has proved to be only a matter of habit for trainers and choreographers and skaters to adapt themselves to a different way of setting up and performing their programmes in pre-set order.


3.      Step sequences in the Long Programme


The Committee has added the rule that two, different step sequences should be performed during the Long Programme. Results so far have been outstandingly successful. The Step Sequence has always been a required element in the Long Programme; a rule which was ignored by many skaters.

This extension of the rule enormously improves both the technical requirement and the artistic attractiveness of the Long Programme.


With regard to Pairs, the Committee applied itself only to the Long Programme, to introduce some limitations and to make it more attractive artistically.



  • Lifts were becoming too long and (in some cases) boring. Most of them took 16/18 rotations and with less skilled performers, took almost the whole rink. What the Committee wants to see, are quick, and well-executed lifts with (max) 12 rotations. A skilled couple should be able to demonstrate their ability to change positions and to land neatly inside 12 revolutions.

  • The couple MUST perform both an Outside and an Inside Death Spiral. This has been decided because very few couples perform Inside Death Spirals. The Inside Death Spiral adds to both the technical and  artistic presentation of the programme and presents a challenge to the skaters to perform it properly.

  • The couple MUST perform a Spiral (Arabesque) sequence. This is an element taken from the Ice. This element, performed by a skilled couple, is spectacular and will attract good marks when performed with the correct level of technical ability. (A few days ago I published an article about how a good Spiral should be performed.)

  • As with Free, now Pairs will will be required to perform a Step Sequence. They can choose from Serpentine, Circle or Diagonal.

In general, these changes will advantage the more skilled couples, encouraging them to demonstrate both Technique and Artistry.



There are many changes to the Dance regulations.


The committee has decided to limit the length of time allowed for a couple to get into position to start their performance. This will apply to Compulsory, Original and Free. It has been shown that some couples have been taking 28 seconds from the time they were called, to the time they were ready to start! They will now be allowed 15 secs (max).


A real innovation is the new regulation concerning the music for Original Dance. There will be the opportunity to select rhythms from a set group each year. I have watched some competitions run on these lines and the results have been spectacular! While for some couples, incorporating the new elements (spin and the step-sequence) proved difficult at first, it has not been so much the technical difficulty which has caused problems, but understanding the purpose of the lift, or spin and the way it should be presented within the flow of the music and the dance which they are performing. The spin MUST be a DANCE-SPIN – that is, it should not have a long preparation period – as in Pairs – but must be performed within the natural flow of the dance.

In both Original and Free Dance there are new limitations on the lifts. The Committee have taken an apt phrase from the Ice Dance regulations –“Positions that are most appropriately found in the bedroom should remain there.” For this reason the Committee have excluded lifts where the lady is upside down with her legs spread in front of the man’s face. However, we should be aware that there are many other lifts which are distasteful to the observer which will be penalised by judges in their second mark


  • In Free Dance the definition of the limitation on lifts has been changed. Judges will no longer have to check on the waist of the girl, but the hands of the man. This means that the man cannot raise both hands above his shoulders to lift the girl. Some trainers complained about this limitation because they thought that it would limit the performance, but up to now results have been positive. Lifts are being properly executed and the rule does not seem to have limited anyone too much. Previously, the rule concerning the girl’s waist was difficult to control and frequently not respected. The new rule is clear, simple, easy to apply and seems to work well.

  • In Free Dance – as in Original – couples MUST perform two step-sequences. The reason for this is that in the past, many couple simply skated RUNS with showy positions. Two step sequences will encourage them to show their true ability and this will really make a difference.



It is clear that the new programmes are technically more difficult but for sure the artistic content is really improved bringing harmony in the exhibitions.

The Set Order in the Free Short Programmes, step sequences in Long Programmes, limitations in the lifts for Pairs with new elements to execute, various rhythms to perform and new set elements for Original Dance, make even medium level programmes enjoyable.

In general it is clear that our purpose is to start give true importance to the artistic content not forgetting that Artistic Roller Skating is a sport!

The new elements give the opportunity to judges to have a complete idea of the skaters and to skaters the opportunity to create complete programmes with all the elements the sport asks for.