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Author Topic: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?  (Read 2642 times)

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Offline jjane45

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In two weeks time I'll skate my first solo program ever in rink-sponsored end of summer exhibition. (I am not competing nor testing, just putting together a minute-and-half-long show program.) The routine had much more connecting steps in Coach's original choreography, but turns out I am not capable of doing those steps AND still pick up speed going into the gliding maneuvers, so we watered it down to this:

1) start with two 3 turns and one power 3 into sit spin,
2) cross behind - step - cross in front - step forward, one or two crossover into spread eagle then 3, two crossovers, loop jump,
3) step, two power mohawks and two crossovers into bauer, 3 turn into flip jump,
4) three or four (!!) forward strokes into layback lunge, rise and turn into back hydroblade, back spiral, pivot, end.

I really feel bad for forward stroking in 4) but can't otherwise pick up momentum on straight line into lunge. (maybe cross rolls?)

The program currently has many gliding maneuvers but I envy the footwork sequences with quick powerful turns, perfect control complete with pretty arms. OTOH, action-packed footwork sequence does not look good if the execution is slow and sloppy. Right now I am very happy with the program's overall speed, especially on the power mohawks.

So out of curiosity, how intricate were the steps in your first solo program and how did they evolve over time?

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 12:22:59 AM »
I plan to skate from jump to jump in my first program.  I'd rather keep it easy and have good timing.  I plan to have a layback lunge too!

Offline fsk8r

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2011, 02:33:38 AM »
I've seen senior ladies programs where they are just back crosses into jump, back crosses, spin, back crosses, jump, etc... So for a beginner program there's a lot more variety in your footwork. While you might have a few gliding moves, if they are done well they'll look better than scratchy 3turns and mohawks.
And look at this first program as the start. It might be worth keeping it going once the show is done as you'll eventually learn to skate the program with more power (speed across the ice) and you'll therefore gain confidence doing the 3turns and mohawks. This will then help you with your next program where I'm sure you'll have more footwork.
Good luck with the show.

Offline blue111moon

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 06:41:35 AM »
It's an exhibition, not a competition.  90% of the people watching will have no clue what you're doing;  they'll only notice if you fall down or if you look really stiff and nervous.  So my advice is to only do those things you're comfortable doing NOW.  As long as you look as if you're having a marvelous time and really happy to be skating, the audience will love you and be inspired.

My next bit of advice is to pick music that's upbeat and fairly "pop" in style.  If most of the other skaters are competitors and using the programs they're training for fall competitions, then it's a pretty good chance (especially going by what I heard at Liberty over the weekend :) ) that their music will be classical, instrumental and somber/dramatic.  Something upbeat will be a welcome break for the spectators and remind them that skating is - or should be - fun.

Offline jjane45

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 10:04:22 PM »
Thank you for the tips, everyone!

I'd rather keep it easy and have good timing.  I plan to have a layback lunge too!

Good luck on the (pairs?) lunge! I pretty much gave up timing overall and will only adjust during the hydroblade part toward the end lol.

if they are done well they'll look better than scratchy 3turns and mohawks... And look at this first program as the start. Good luck with the show.

Thank you very much! The original turns got removed because they lacked power in general and became the weakest link. I surely hope they improve for future versions!

90% of the people watching will have no clue what you're doing;... Something upbeat will be a welcome break for the spectators and remind them that skating is - or should be - fun.

I admit I am conscious of fellow skaters' opinion. And the desire to have transitions partly came from the Plushenko-bashing after Vancouver games **SIGH**. Thanks for the music tip, it's a soothing piece of Japanese animated music that makes me smile :)


Offline jjane45

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2011, 12:38:03 AM »
Here is the program as skated on our rink exhibition. Well lots of stuff to work on before ice show audition in the end of September, I'd really LOVE to hear tips and criticism!!!

Upon seeing the video, I thought the speed was slower than I *imagined* and the forward crossovers labored despite *feeling* powerful. Sit spin pretty out of position but held it, need to work on the cross behind coming out. Power mohawks hold the undercut portion longer. Frantic arms for flip, wild free leg after landing. Gotta bend skating knee more for hydroblade and hold my behind low. Lock the skating knee for spiral...

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2011, 09:09:45 PM »
I think you will get a solo in the show (did you have a particular part in mind?).

I thought the flip was really good.  I would focus on making the opening pose and the final pivot and pose look very polished and confident.  You know, first and last impressions.

Everybody will say you are a gliding maneuver specialist.

Offline Skittl1321

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2011, 09:23:48 PM »
Wow- I was not expecting that at all based on your previous posts.  You had great speed and flow.  A much higher level skater than I expected to see.

My only critique is when you weren't doing a "thing" you seemed to loose your arms. You held great positions during all your gliding moves, and even in the crossovers leading up to a jump, but when you were finishing something and moving to the next thing they dropped and it seemed like you forgot about them.  I'd work on getting your upper body carriage to be as consistent and graceful as your lower body is powerful. 

Technique wise, the only thing I thought was funky was the entry to the sit spin- you traveled really far away from the circle on the entry, and not back into it.  I think that is what made the spin kind of slow, but the position was decent and the actually spin wasn't traveling, though you looked a bit wobbly.
I can't critique your jumps as they are much higher level than anything I can do.  All your glides looked great.  I don't know if a non-skater who get what you are doing in the hydroblade though, as it's not really very low like some elite skaters get it (even when they do it I'm not sure non-skaters understand how hard it is.) Being a skater though I know it's way lower than any edge I could get!

You would be as good as the adult feature at the nearby club (who has standards, mine doesn't) show for sure.  But they have a test level, so you'd have to have your bronze- not sure if your club requires a test.  You are skating bronze level for sure.

Offline jjane45

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2011, 10:23:20 PM »
I think you will get a solo in the show (did you have a particular part in mind?)... You know, first and last impressions.

Thank you! The solos are ranked and distributed by skating level, but if I am awarded one and have a choice, any of the mouse roles so I could wear protective padding, LOL jk.

I currently have tons of gliding maneuvers and only one spin in the number, but sit spin is really my only OK spin at the moment so no complaints. That's the beauty of show programs, no absolute requirements whatsoever.

Not sure why I kept moving on those poses!! Yeah gotta figure out something.

When you were finishing something and moving to the next thing they dropped and it seemed like you forgot about them... You traveled really far away from the circle on the entry, and not back into it... (Hydroblade) is not really very low like some elite skaters get it!

Thank you very much for your kind words and feedback. Arms and interpretaion are definitely my weakest, and there was not enough lesson time to choreograph them. I'll make sure to watch more programs for plagiarizing brainstorming...

My sit spin very much depends on the day, the one in the video had particularly slow entry and was barely holding on. Will certainly keep an eye on the entry edge and check with Coach, thank you for pointing it out!!

And the hydroblade... where do I start? When I go lower it almost inevitably splats, and Coach rather prefers the status quo for safety. A dance team at our rink has hydroblades to die for, when I asked the coach in dance class he said it's years of practice. Sigh. (Going back to read the hydroblade thread one more time.)

Our rink only requires low level ISI FS tests for adults to qualify.

Thank you again!! I'd luuuuuurrve to hear more feedback!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline techskater

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2011, 07:24:08 PM »
Why not test up to Bronze and do ANs this year since it's local, too?    :angel :angel:

Offline jjane45

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2011, 09:39:19 PM »
Why not test up to Bronze and do ANs this year since it's local, too?    :angel :angel:

Thank you :) Thought about it when I first heard it's in Bensenville next year, but I already stretched myself too thin just doing lessons. Pretty sure I'll be there to root for everyone!!!

Offline LilJen

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2011, 11:35:09 AM »
Here is the program as skated on our rink exhibition. Well lots of stuff to work on before ice show audition in the end of September, I'd really LOVE to hear tips and criticism!!!

Upon seeing the video, I thought the speed was slower than I *imagined* and the forward crossovers labored despite *feeling* powerful. Sit spin pretty out of position but held it, need to work on the cross behind coming out. Power mohawks hold the undercut portion longer. Frantic arms for flip, wild free leg after landing. Gotta bend skating knee more for hydroblade and hold my behind low. Lock the skating knee for spiral...

Whee, music from Spirited Away!!!! LOVE pretty much all the Joe Hisaishi music. My current FS music is from Princess Mononoke (no, I do not plan to wear fur or paint fake blood on my face :)).

Wish I could have your Ina Bauer. So far, my hips don't want to do that!

Offline jjane45

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2011, 04:00:09 PM »
Thank you,
Whee, music from Spirited Away!!!! LOVE pretty much all the Joe Hisaishi music. My current FS music is from Princess Mononoke (no, I do not plan to wear fur or paint fake blood on my face :)).

Wish I could have your Ina Bauer. So far, my hips don't want to do that!

I love Spirited Away, also considered Howl's Moving Castle while selecting music.

Thank you for your kind words. Apparently I have open hips and my mohawks are more like spread eagles (not exactly correct) from day one.
Still trying to achieve lower layback position without collapsing, think it's the lower back that needs stretching?

Offline cherriee

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2011, 03:39:08 PM »
jjane45,
           your performance was AWESOME. Like others had said - you got speed and flow. You seemed calm and confident. Love your spread eagle and ina bauer. :love Speaking of Howl's Moving Castle, that's what I'm skating to (bronze). I can only wish to perform closed to what you did there. Good job!

Offline Sk8Dreams

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2011, 08:33:17 PM »
WOW! I agree with all the positives others have pointed out.  I think your hydroblade is impressive, and your coach is wise to keep it at a level you are safe with.  It will get lower with time.  The one thing that jarred me was your forward crossovers, which I think were clunky, as you lifted your foot high to come across.  Practice crossing without taking the crossing foot off the ice, and then imagine that you are doing the same, though you do lift the foot to cross.
My glass is half full :)

Offline jjane45

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2011, 09:27:52 PM »
The one thing that jarred me was your forward crossovers, which I think were clunky, as you lifted your foot high to come across.  Practice crossing without taking the crossing foot off the ice, and then imagine that you are doing the same, though you do lift the foot to cross.

Thank you, now I know why it felt so labored to me on the screen! Will definitely look into it, and hopefully working on progressives in the near future.

And many thanks to cherriee for your encouragements.

I notice that now I pay far more attention to opening poses, arms, and choreo while watching elite competition... :)

Offline jjane45

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2012, 10:57:04 PM »
So out of curiosity, how intricate were the steps in your first solo program and how did they evolve over time?

Revisiting this thread because I'd like to revamp the old program into bronze freestyle test program. Music length increased from 1:25-ish to 1:45-ish, and I am amazed how much more can be achieved! Having tons of fun playing with the music in practice sessions, and pretty much got this down:

- RFO3, side hop,  LFO3, side hop, RFO3 into couple back crossovers, sit spin.
- Step forward and inside mohawk, back crossovers into spread eagle, waltz-loop-toe*
- Step forward into lunge, power mohawk into mini ina bauer, flip jump**
- Step forward and forward crossovers, fiesta tango segment (progressive into cross stroke, chasse, outside swing roll into inside swing roll), pancake style dip to slow down, LFI and RFI edges into backspin
- Step forward and 2 crossovers, rhythm blues end pattern with three cross behinds down the ice (on straight line instead of edge, oh well), inside mohawk into back crossovers, loop jump
- LFO3 into back hydroblade into back outside spiral, crossover into upright spin.

The above is what I plan to do in the exhibition, for the test * should be waltz-toe, ** should be toe loop. I still need a salchow somewhere, maybe at the end before the upright spin. The whole thing may be rejected in the choreo lesson next week, we'll see :P Regardless what happens, I am just so happy I am more at ease with some footwork!!!

Offline Janie

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2012, 03:07:14 AM »
I'm so glad you reposted this, otherwise I'd not have seen it. Your performance was wonderful! I can't wait to see the new and improved version.

I was actually considering this music too myself! Even though I'm no where near having a program yet, I've already come up with a list that I want to consider using :blush:. Higher up on the list is the opening song from Laputa: The Castle in the Sky. I love Joe Hisaishi.
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Offline jjane45

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Re: [Choreo Talk] Balancing complexity and speed for your first solo?
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2012, 02:49:36 PM »
I love Joe Hisaishi.

Thumbs up!!! ;)

Thank you for your kind words, before you realize you'll be holding the opening pose in the center ice with a fancy costume, thinking: how have I got myself into this? lol :) :)