Dance History Quiz | A short-lived dance-sport hybrid

Fun facts for teachers & students

What dance-sport hybrid started gaining popularity in the late ’70s and made an appearance at two Olympic Games?

a. Ski ballet, which combined figure skating and skiing on the slopes, using ski poles as props
b. Rollerjazz, a combination of jazz and roller skating performed in a rink to disco music
c. Acro-tap, a style of tap dance in which performers could earn extra points by adding acrobatic tricks
d. Equestrian ballet, in which riders performed arabesques and other poses on horseback

a. Ski ballet

According to a 2017 Thrillist article, ski ballet was a combination of figure skating and skiing. “In the early 1970s, there came a schism in the world of skiing,” writer Erik Helin notes. “A new generation of athletes looked to buck the traditionalism of standard alpine skiing, and longed for new ways to innovate. What they came up with was freestyle skiing, also called hotdog skiing, also called acrobatic skiing, also called stunt skiing. And it was composed of three elements: moguls, aerials, and ski ballet.” Skiers—wearing short skis for greater mobility—mixed dance elements with figure skating-style jumps and vault-style tricks using elongated ski poles. Ski ballet was never an official Olympic event, although it was featured in the 1988 and 1992 games as a demonstration sport. By 2000, the International Ski Federation officially pulled the plug on ski ballet.

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