This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

- choreography


May I relate my opinions about choreography? Your coach shares her ideas, or if you've been competing a while then you employ a separate choreographer. Fine. Briefly suspend your preconceptions to contemplate these feelings from a long-time skate parent and audience member who has admired thousands of hours of figure skating. This is the eloquence us folks in the stands yearn for, the skating we desire expressively from your performance. This is the reason we watch you skate.

Absolutely, please express yourself! Choose music that moves and touches your soul, and then expound upon those feelings. Also though be the angel that fosters those feelings in the audience. Your performance should flow from your heart but also from our hearts.

Be flexible about the interpretation: let your personality shine through! We want your read on the music and your insight about these feelings. I don't like coyness or melodrama: just present your own honest personality. Still though we'd prefer some boundaries: don't mock the music, the lyrics, the audience, or the skating. Be a performance artist and stop being a show-off.

If you choose a piece with lyrics, primarily skate the meaning of the lyrics first and then skate the feeling of the music secondarily. Avoid a piece with a chorus of more than two occurrences (as this reduces your originality).

Speaking of that, show some ingenuity! Try a new leg or arm sweep, clap your hands, stomp a foot, wiggle your shoulders. Once is interesting. The second time you use the gesture for emphasis, but if you dare repeat it a third time then it is no longer cute but rather boring me to death.

Stay on the music... don't lag a half beat behind it and don't telegraph your move a half beat ahead either.

Does your program tell a story? It should have a lead in, build to a climax, and then finish gracefully or with a touch of class. Strive for a graceful overall presentation (or if you're a guy aim for a classy presentation).

And finally, keep us entranced. Keep me hypnotized throughout your program without distracting thoughts or fallouts. When you finish I should have that shocking feeling of rediscovering myself in an audience of hundreds of people, where moments before I was your virtual partner on the ice.

Personality, Expressiveness, Lyrics treatment, Appropriateness, Novelty, Ingenuity, Timing, a Full story, Grace (or class for a man), Hypnotism. Is all that too much to ask from your choreography? Exactly.

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