Ice Dancing Is Sort Of Incestuous

Tonight, when you turn on the Olympics and watch the ice dancing competition, you’ll see couples look lustily at one another as they dance the tango. Some of these pairs, however, are siblings. Of the 23 ice-dancing teams competing in the Olympics, four are brother-sister duos. Ick.

Ice dancing is basically ballroom dancing on ice. Partners hold each other as they go through their routine, and since it’s a judged sport, a large part of it is putting on a believable performance. But the siblings have ways to deal with this bit of awkwardness — after all, they are professionals. Instead of looking deeply into one other’s eyes, “We try to find ways to kind of look through — or look a little up, or a little sideways,” said Alexandra Zaretsky, who is competing for Israel with her brother, Roman. Another competitor uses visualization to help him through the performance. “Our coach told us envision someone else’s head is there,” said Chris Reed, who skates with his sister Cathy for Japan. “It’s all an act.”

But dancing with a sibling can make things easier in some ways, too. German skaters Christina and William Beier split up last season after one of them was injured, but they ended up together again. “With others, it was harder,” said Christina. “It is from nature that we move together. When we got back together, it was like we never split up.” [WSJ]