TORONTO - Canadian ice dance stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have got their wish, and can say so long to compulsory dance.
In a move that wasn't unexpected, the International Skating Union voted to do away with the compulsory portion of ice dancing at the junior and senior levels at its annual Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Skate Canada officials confirmed Thursday.
That's good news to Virtue and Moir, the Olympic and world champions who are far from fans of what they believed was an antiquated element of their sport.
Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., were vocal in their criticism of compulsory dance at the world championships in Turin, Italy in March.
"We think it's a little outdated and I don't think that the results really speak true when they come out after compulsory dances, and I don't think it's necessary anymore in today's sport of ice dance," Moir said in Turin, after he and Virtue took the lead in the compulsory dance with their execution of the Golden Waltz.
"I think it has kind of come a long way and (the compulsory dance) is kind of holding us back."
The compulsory program is to ice dance what figures used to be to singles skating, a long afternoon of skaters performing the same steps to music of a specified tempo.
Dance will now have just two elements -- the short dance and free dance.
Virtue, 21, and Moir, 22, made history when they became the youngest skaters and first North Americans to capture Olympic ice dance gold in February in Vancouver. Less than a month later, they capped their undefeated Cinderella season with a victory at the world championships in Italy.
They announced in late-April they planned to keep competing, but haven't committed to going a full four years to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.