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  1. #1

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    Difficult Chorepgraphy?

    Having read lots of people's opinions about different programmes this season I'm just wondering exactly what people mean by choreography and particularly difficult choreography (which seems praise worthy).

    I always thought of choreography as the placement of the elements on the ice, and the use of the body throughout the routine to the music. That being the case I don't understand "difficult" in this context. Does it include what I would call transitions, or, the specific placements of turns and moves in between the elements? Is there an overlap between transitions and choreography? I much better understand the concept of difficult transitions - placing several difficult turns and moves in between the elements is certainly more difficult that simply stroking or doing cross-overs, but choreography seems harder to nail down in terms of difficulty.

    Can anyone shed some light or explain a little bit for me?

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    I get confused sometimes by what other people think is choreography and they get the components confused.

    Here is a link to a playlist of videos made by the ISU explaining where marks for choreography come from and then they have examples of programs of weak, average and good choreography for singles, pair and dance!

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFC5A7E305C8FD655

    If you watch it all, it will help

    They also have videos on the channel explaining all other components scores.

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    I often think of difficulty choreography as the layout of a program, where/how the elements are placed within a program and the extent to which they're all interconnected with one another. I often get the impression that people confuse choreography with expression or presentation but the two aren't necessarily synonymous with one another although an important aspect to artistic impression in general is how the choreography is able to express the character of the music. Perhaps I'm way off in the way I view choreography but it's the way I've always looked at it. Great examples of difficult choreography for me have always been exemplified by the programs of Torvill & Dean, Klimova & Ponomarenko, and to a lesser extent Grishuk & Platov (during their day with either Dubova or Tarasova, not so much during their time with Linichuk).

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    In addition, I would think that choreography that asks the skater to perform specific moves (whether steps; isolated movements of the arms, head, free leg, etc.; or whole body movements) on specific beats of music would add to the difficulty of the choreography.

    How well they succeed would be reflected in the Interpretation score, but I'd consider the plan for how the movement relates to the music to be Choreography and the execution to be Interpretation.


    I also think the coherence of a plan or theme for the program as a whole to constitute better choreography, but not necessarily more difficult.

  5. #5

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    With regards to difficulty, I think you need to look at someone like Chan who not only puts in lots of content and intricacy, but the steps and movements are quite difficult. For example, instead of just doing a 3 turn which some skaters may do to go from forwards to backwards, Chan will do a rocker or counter step which is a lot more difficult. And it is done at speed too which adds to the difficulty. On the other hand when you get skaters doing difficult transitions into jumps (such as spreadeagles into axels) that would up the difficulty. Because doing that axel out of a spreadeagle is not natural to the axel set up and you have to give a skater credit for that. Also doing jumps unexpectedly is also difficult because most elements do have a standard set up which shows the skaters is preparing for an element (Axel and lutz are the most obvious one). When that elements comes out of the blue without any obvious set up, that again adds to the difficulty.

    From a judging perspective the layout of the program is the composition aspect of that component and covers where the elements are placed on the ice. So you don't want to see all the jumps done in the one spot on the ice. Or it would take into account the well balanced aspect of a program. Front loading a program with all the jumps is not good. However you might also reward a skater because they do an element in a place that is totally unexpected (eg a lutz in the middle of the rink instead of out to the barrier).

    Choreography is what the skater does to the music and how they work with it. I don't necessarily think of choreography in terms of difficulty but rather complexity and intricacy. I also look for the quantity as in what percentage of what the skater does relates to the music (so excluding set up of elements or just doing crossovers)and then you look for the quality and how well it is executed. And intricacy relates to the amount of detail they put into a program. You may also get skaters doing moves that suddenly change direction in unexpected ways but are totally appropriate to the musical structure.

    Hope that makes sense.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  6. #6
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    Transitions ARE choreographed, no?

    IMO when we say difficult choreography, we mean that the program has been made/choreographed/designed to be complex (both in terms of feet and upper body). It's not really the same thing as the CH in PCS. I always thought that the CH refers more specifically to the thoughtfulness, cohesiveness and utilization of music aspect of chreography, whereas choreography itself is just a general term refering to the overall design of a program.

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    Thanks for all the clarifications - I 've looked at the ISU vids that Skater91 linked and they were really useful to help me understand a little bit more. I think I'm coming to the conclusion that the 5 different scores in the PCS could probably do with being simplified because I think there is a lot of overlap between the different categories. Also when I looked at the choreography specific videos it just seemed a lot like the rest of the IJS, praise of difficulty for difficulties sake, and not necessarily for what fits in to the music, and while that might be covered more by performance or interpretation, I still think there should be some thread of fitting with the music. They mention highlighting phrases of the music, but then in another video in choreography they talk about the amount of time the skater spend with their weight away from upright, with their core off axis....surely some pieces lend themselves much more to body movements, and others not so, the message seems to be the more time you spend with your core away from upright the better, but surely that should only be - if it actually fits with the programme.

    I really think the whole PCS mark could do with being simplified, I'm not really sure how but I can't get my head round a judge actually being able to give conisderation to all of those PCS things, AND watch and mark the technical - keep eyes on the blades for edge and rotations issues, and pan back and keep in mind the whole of the programme in those 5 PC Scategories and then times that by 30 plus skaters in the SP and 24 in the LP....surely it's not possible for one person to do which is probably why all the PCS marks the judges give are roughly in the same ball park

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    This is slightly off- topic, but it's so rare to hear a choreographer speak, and they are so instrumental in skater's success or failure, that i thought I'd post it here. Jeffrey Buttle talks about Chan's SP ( that Jeff choreographed).
    As someone who often thought Patrick's skills are showcased more for the sake of themselves than to serve music, and as I am absolutely sold on his Rachmaninov, it was interesting to hear Buttle talking about slowing down and simplifying to showcase the edges.
    http://www.cbc.ca/player/Sports/Figu...ID/2343930035/
    Last edited by dinakt; 03-15-2013 at 04:12 AM.
    improving my ballad- like lines

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