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.

Friday, March 4, 2016

- timing


As if it's not already difficult enough to perform jumps on ice and be expressive and graceful, for a further challenge you need to time your program to the music!

Of course it's easier to match the rhythm when the music is something more free flowing and without a drum downbeat. Hence it's easier to "match" a dramatic program to a classical piece than to skate a light entertainment routine to a pop song. And I rather doubt how much a person can develop "rhythm" in the first place; it seems to me for the most part that you either have it or you don't.

Is it okay to sing along with your music on a light entertainment program to help you keep pace with the music? Although it may assist with staying synchronized, mouthing lyrics distracts you from your ability to use your body as an expressive outlet. It also somewhat detracts from your grace: viewers will be drawn to your jabbering jaw rather than your hands and limbs. Better not to sing along.

It's a pain to have to split your attention between concentrating on your moves and timing them to the music. A better approach may be to establish mileposts: know that at a certain inflection point of the music you are supposed to be at a specific element of your program, and then make speed adjustments accordingly.

Not only is a skater supposed to stay on the beat but somehow she must additionally finish her skating when the music concludes! To end gracefully plan for a few seconds of "dramatic escape" at the tail end of your routine. How much slack should you allow? If you leave too much emptiness hanging then it's obvious that you're just spinning time at the end.

Judging from the nice endings I've seen I'd say give yourself around five seconds of free ad-lib to finish. Then develop a couple alternate flourishes to use if you're running either short or long. As you approach the end of a program it's far easier to manage some extra embellishments on an early finish than to skate into the deathly silence beyond the music.

1 comment:

  1. Five seconds is an eternity in a skating program, and ad libs don't work in competition, even for really experienced skaters. A better tactic is to know what your "tolerance" is, to use a science term-- if you know you routinely finish behind or ahead o the music, have an alternative ending that you've practiced.

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