Beginning with the 2019-20 season, U.S. Figure Skating is debuting a new qualifying competitive pipeline for ice dance (as well as singles and pairs).  While junior and senior teams will continue to qualify and compete at the annual U.S. National Championships, athletes at the juvenile, intermediate and novice level will follow a much different path that culminates in a U.S. Dance Challenge (November) and for top finishers, a National HIgh-Performance Development Team Camp (January).  The pipeline focuses on their new vision: Identify. Develop. Promote., and features the following:  

  • New National Qualifying Series
  • New names for qualifying competitions
  • Earlier timeline for pairs and dance teams and another opportunity for national competition
  • National High-Performance Development Team Camp for juvenile, intermediate and novice athletes

What is the National Qualifying Series (NQS)?

The National Qualifying Series (NQS) is a series of official U.S. Figure Skating approved competitions hosted individually by member clubs nationwide that are held in a standard format and in which athletes earn official scores towards a sectional and national rank. The competitions are held between June 1 – September 15 and serve juvenile – senior competitors in singles, dance and pairs.

Key highlights:

  • Athletes must enter the NQS directly with U.S. Figure Skating by May 28, 2019
  • Athletes enter any official competitions they choose
  • Only the athlete or team’s highest Total Score (TS) counts
  • The top six ranking singles athletes in each section earn a bye to the Sectional Singles Final
  • The top three ranking dance or pairs teams nationwide earn a bye the U.S. Pairs or U.S. Dance Final
  • Athletes receive an official ‘national ranking’ and a certificate and pin to recognize their achievement.

Documents links from
the U.S. Figure Skating

How Do I Register for the NQS?

Athletes enter the overall NQS by logging onto U.S. Figure Skating’s Event Management System.  The deadline to register is May 28, 2019.  From there, athletes enter any of the above competitions they choose separately, by the entry deadline posted by the competition host.  All NQS events are entered through EMS, as well.

All NQS events will be conducted in accordance with the rules and procedures outlined in the Athlete Handbook Dance.’s Qualifying Pipeline Infographics

Below are two qualifying pipeline infographics that were created by Team IDC.  Click on an image to view the high-resolution PDF.