Good question. And one which I did not have a snappy response to (for once).
My reply: "Let's look it up online!" (Btw, that is my go-to reply now for most questions. Thank God for Al Gore and Jimmy Wales.) To save you the trouble, though, here's the Wikipedia entry for "Ice dancing."
Moments later the spouse again turned to me and asked, "What's the difference between ice dancing and pairs figure skating?"
While an ice dancer or pairs figure skater (or Wikipedia) would rattle off a thousand words of explanation, I can provide you with just two: "no jumps." Not allowed. Not even half jumps.
The way I (and many others) see ice dancing, it's basically ballroom dancing with ice skates. And no, I don't see "Ice Dancing with the Stars" showing up on ABC any time soon, though I could see "So You Think You Can Ice Dance" showing up on Fox next fall/winter.
As for last night's ice dancing compulsory dance, titled "Tango Romantico" (because, what, the tango isn't romantic enough?), the top four finishers were:
Next up: the original dance, Sunday night, followed by the free dance on Monday night. Woohoo! (Btw, to see the rest of the ice dancing compulsory dance results as well as the schedule for the next two Olympics ice dancing events, click here.)
Slightly O/T: While a number of my female friends have the hots for American alpine skiier Bode Miller, after watching Aksel Lund Svindal ski and be interviewed last night I turned to the spouse and said "Honey, you know I love you and think you are the handsomest man in the world, but Aksel Lund Svindal may be a close second."
UPDATED 2/21/10 P.M.: Two words: USA! USA! First Bode Miller gets the gold in the Men's Super Combined. Then the U.S. Men's Hockey Team beat the Canadian Hockey Team tonight, 5 - 3. Awesome. (Though the men's Curling team lost to Great Britain and will most likely not medal. Boo. And my man Aksel was disqualified during the slalom portion of the Super Combined.) Am now watching ice dancing -- and I swear it is "So You Think You Can Dance" on ice. We've had Cowboys on Ice, Bollywood on Ice (Meryl Davis/Christopher Atkins - I mean Charlie White), the Hora on Ice (or as I liked to call it, Fiddler on the Ice), Flamenco on Ice (Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir), and now a traditional Moldavian Folk Dance (Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto). (Huh?! Wha?!) So after the Original Dance, it's Virtue/Moir followed by Davis/White and then Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin. Free Dance coming up tomorrow. Woohoo!
UPDATED 2/23/10: And the gold medal goes to... the Canadians, Virtue and Moir (guess being Virtuous pays ;-); Davis and White score the silver; and the Russkies, Domnina and Shabalin, get the bronze. And Belbin and Agosto came in fourth. Go North America! Tonight... more Bode and Aksel, though I'll mainly be watching American Idol, aka the Olympics ratings killer.