- Parent Category: Coaching
This is probably beyond my level of expertise, so first, I'd say consult with your daughter's free-skate coach. Most coaches are qualified to teach dance as well up to a certain level, so you may not need a dance coach. As your skater reaches higher levels of dance tests, you may need to go to a dance-specific coach. It's important to discuss this with your skater's main coach to make sure you go in the right direction and if you are adding another coach into the mix, you want to make sure that their methods are consistent with your main coach.
Second, I can tell you what happens at our club. Our club provides 15-minute stroking sessions at the start or end of each session ice session. These sessions are run by one or two of the coaches and they focus on edges and other core skills. For a lower level skater, this is probably enough.
Finally, there's no doubt that learning the standard sets of dances and working on specific footwork skills will benefit your skater's free-skating as well. This becomes especially true when they get to higher levels where there is a significant footwork component to their program. So, to some degree, it comes down to budget. If you can afford to add in some dance/skills/footwork-specific coaching, then it will help. Is it essential for an 8-year old, I'd guess probably not.