Thursday, March 13, 2014

How To Do The Dutch Waltz on a Figure 8

Once upon a time, more than half a skater's time was spent on 'doing figures' or 'compulsories'. The first figure learned was a figure 8. These figures were practiced on ice time called 'patch', since every skater had a patch of ice to skate on.
A Figure 8
At the same time in the early part of the 20th Century, social ice dance was incredibly popular. The dances were primarily pattern dances that covered the entire ice. Believe it or not, in order to get the most out of the available ice time, booklets were published on how to do the basic pattern dances on 'patch'.

I don't have a copy of one of those booklets, so I'm reconstructing for you how to do the Dutch Waltz on a figure 8. Why? Because sometimes you may want to practice in a constrained space (like center ice on a Christmas skate, or in a small area for a group lesson) or just to blow your coach's mind.

The basic Dutch Waltz pattern. All forwards: progressives (crossovers), and swingrolls.
The Dutch Waltz pattern marked up to base on a figure 8.

Let's start with Pattern 1 (the green on the lower right of the image above). Pattern 1 is unique, because you don't start on the center of the figure 8, but on the outside of the right circle.

Pattern 2 (the blue) is easy. Don't worry about the sizes of the 8's or placement of the steps. This is just a toy example, not instructional.

Pattern 3 (the red) gets a little crowded, what with the extra strokes. Feel free to expand the size of your 8 to get comfortable with it.

Pattern 4 is the 'backend' of pattern 1, so it's the green again at the end
Yeah, it suffers from my lack of a graphics pen, but hey, the blog is free, so whatever.

Anyway, have fun with this if you want to give it a try.


  1. Some of us still spend more than half of our practice time skating figures. ;-)

  2. Very cool! I want to try this, although I am still working hard at expanding my pattern for the DW to fill the rink, so I wouldn't want to mess myself up. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Hey, cool graphic! Seems like this would be one way of learning the Dutch Waltz - learn the four parts, then put it all together! Thanks for the post.

    Plus, it is absolutely fantastic for roller skaters (like me) practising in small spaces outdoors.