What’s a double twizzle?

Published 10:27 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ice dancing is not a sport. There — I said it.

The Gore family was watching the Olympics this week when ice dancing came on the television. Mostly unfamiliar with the sport, we watched as the announcer went through the rules of ice dancing.

Teams have to skate to specific types of music, spin in certain ways and, for the most part, hold each other in a dance pose. The couple are supposed to do dance steps but aren’t allowed to toss each other or do jumps.

“Think of it as ballroom dancing on ice,” the announcer said. Intrigued, we started to watch the dancers. After watching three or four routines, Greg looked at me and asked, “So that’s it? They skate around in funny costumes, twirl a lot and make funny faces?”

From what I could see, that appeared to be it. The judges saw it differently, of course.

“That’s an excellent half double twizzle with nice soft knees,” or something like that.

Apparently, I am out of the ice dancing loop. Not wanting to be in that precarious place, I did some investigation.

Ice dancing has been around since the 1940s but wasn’t added to the Olympics until 1976. It’s particularly popular in Europe and Russia, with the United States playing catch-up in many ways. This is probably because so few American kids pass over, say, Little League, to don skates and dance to “Bolero.”

After learning about ice dancing, I was prompted to question why other forms of dancing weren’t included in the Olympics, too. What about on-the-floor ballroom dancing or hip hop? How about tap or ballet? Or, if you really want to branch out, why don’t we just go all the way and have Olympic square dancing?

And then I came across this … There are a group of people lobbying Olympic officials to include pole dancing (renamed pole fitness) as an official sport. Pole dancing — which most people associate with seedy night clubs — has an international federation that’s lobbying on its behalf. Participants say they are athletes, not scantily clad dancers waiting to have dollar bills tucked into their shorts.

Olympic officials don’t seem too high on the idea, but proponents have collected 4,000 signatures so far. I may add my name to that list. If you ask me, pole fitness would be way more interesting than ice dancing.