Posts Tagged ‘Choreography’

“Never Leave the Ending Until the End”

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Good choreography rule:  “Don’t Leave the Ending To the End”

If you choreograph a floor routine over several days (I work with the gymnast for 1.5 to 2 hours/day on two separate days) take this advice.  Anything more (like when I coached college and could do the routines whenever I wanted to) would be a luxury.  Start working on the ending the first day!  Plan the routine.  Plan the tumbling passes (almost every gymnast takes 6-point-something seconds to do a three to four flight pass).  Plan the spacing of the dance elements and plan for cool moves to cool music.  But think about the ending too!  “A good ending is 40% of the dance!”

Reference:  These two “rules” are 2 of the 11 items on Doris Humphrey’s checklist for choreography.  “The Art of Making Dances”  1959  ISBN 0-87127-158-3

“Got Choreography?!?!?!?”


Friday, June 6th, 2008


It’s been a hard month.  Scheduling choreography, working on routines, and helping gymnasts find music, in my “spare time.”


One mom just put the whole situation in order.

“As far as music selection goes, it has just started.  (The coach) has given her a few sample CD’s that she has listened to; so far she has rejected every song she has heard.  I suspect it will be a painful process.”

This has been the life of Kris, the choreographer, for the past month.


Monday, April 21st, 2008

It’s championship time or post-championship time for most gymnasts.  All the moms (some dads) are starting to call to schedule choreography sessions for new floors and new beams.

Everyone is scrambling for new music and a new look and a unique edge.  My biggest challenge as a choreography is trying to create even MORE ways to change levels on both floor and beam.  One summer I made up 17 different mounts or “down on the beams” for one team! 

On floor I try to come up with new ways to get down (and back up for that matter).

Jazz roll down

Scale forward roll

Front walkover tuck the knee through to split

Back walkover to an elbow stand

Jazz leap down

Tourjette to one knee

Curl toes under to kneel to elbow cartwheel or elbow stand

Backward roll to headstand

Lunge to kneeling-type pose

Shushunova, *tuckunova, *pikeunova, *wolfunova and moreunovas!

*Coined by The Posture Lady back in the 1990’s as she stood up at a NCAA National Coaches Meeting to complain about the numbers of large gymnasts slamming their bodies into the floor mat, multiple times, in order to achieve bonus connections (along with the front through to the belly tumbling!).

Wish more gymnasts besides Shushunova could get it right!

A Good Piece of Floor Music Is Hard to Find

Monday, April 14th, 2008

I have to say, I have seen near miracles, but generally a floor routine is only as good as the piece of music behind it.

It’s frustrating to watch a poor little gymnast dancing around the floor mat with no rhyme or reason, with either pretty good music that she doesn’t “hear” or with some type of elevator music that NO one wants to hear.

Somebody, somewhere, needs to do the hard work that it takes to create a good piece of floor music.  A lot of people take the process for granted.

Here are some tips on creating a floor music piece that you may not have thought about:

*Avoid buying Karaoke music.  It almost always has  a track of voice on it.  It’s not what you think you are getting.

*Try to mix music from the same artist.  Mixing with more than one artist can be done (college gymnasts are notorious for this one), but I personally love the one-artist mixes.

*Fade endings are a choreographer’s worst nightmare (at least this choreographer’s worst nightmare).

*Avoid techno music at all cost! (“The Posture Lady’s rule after 22 years of choreography)

*Only allow “Iko Iko” to be passed down once.  The Posture Lady can’t take it the 14th time.

*If the eleven year old wants ACDC and only ACDC, let her go for it.  She just might surprise you big time.

*Make sure the music is something EVERYONE wants to hear a thousand times.

*And finally, try to pick out the parts of “Pirates” that no one knows!

 Happy music hunting!

“Got Choreography?!?!?!?”