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An Art or Science?

What is Choreography?
       As a scientific study, choreography is driven by a set of physical “Laws” such as gravity and physics.  As an “Art” form, choreography is like painting an image on a canvas that is open to the interpretation of the image by the artist and what the art world thinks the artist is portraying.  Contrast this view with photography, the photographic image is essentially a realistic view of an object as seen by the camera lens and modified by photographers use of composition of different angles, selection of lens, filters, focal points, f-stops, film speed, color or B&W, and exposure time. The photographer's interpretation continues in the darkroom and is subject to the opinions of critics when the images are put on display in a gallery, published in a book, or circulated by various electronic means.

       Illustrations of choreographed movements are found in Broadway stage shows, movies, ballets, synchronized swimming events, gymnastic free programs, cheer and drill teams, and figure skating programs to name a few.

       In the case of figure skating, most coaches provide technical instruction, training programs, and choreograph the program of their students.  As skaters reach higher skill levels approaching elite class, some primary coaches use a team approach in which individuals who specialize in jumps, spins, lifts, music selection choreography, costume design, off-ice training, sports physiology, sports psychology, and motivation are engaged to assist, subject of course to the financial ability of the skater or his/her parents to pay the expenses.

       Trained Choreographic Body Movement represents a heightened awareness of controlled coordination of all body parts, including facial expressions and hand gestures. It is the training that lifts the naturally agile and dexterous skills commonly found in some skaters and allows them to achieve extraordinary heights communicating through body language and interaction with music. Ice and Stage shows also use scenery in combination with lighting and other special effects to enhance the performance connection with the audience.

       The English illusionistic theater of the Renaissance featured performance known as a "Stuart Masque" that used various forms of artistic endeavors - verse, music, scenic design, and dance to staged their performances.

The Early Stuart Masque: Dance, Costume, and Dance  By Barbara Ravelhofer, Published by Oxford University Press

       The Early Stuart Masque: Dance, Costume, and Music studies the complex impact of movements, costumes, words, scenes, music, and special effects in English illusionistic theater of the Renaissance. The book draws on a massive amount of documentary evidence relating to English productions as well as a spectacle in France, Italy, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire.

       The author elucidates professional ballet, theater management, and dramatic performance at the early Stuart court. Individual studies take a fresh look at works by Ben Jonson, Samuel Daniel, Thomas Carew, John Milton, William Davenant, and others, showing how court poets collaborated with tailors, designers, technicians, choreographers, aristocrates and professional performers or dances to create a dazzling event.

       Based on extensive archival research on the households of Queen Anne and Queen Henrietta Maria, special chapters highlight the artistic and financial control of Stuart queens over their masques and pastorals. Many engraved plates and figures from German, Austrian, French, and English archives introduce costume conventions, early dance styles, male and female performers, the dramatic symbolism of colors, and stage design in performance.

       Masques once used splendid costumes and choreographies to appeal to the five senses. A tribute to their colorful brilliance, this book describes a lost dimension of performance culture in early modern England.

       The following resource articles discuss efforts to introduce performance skills into a well balanced and choreographed figure skating program.

Recommended Reading:

Figure Skating Skill Development
Training Principles
Choreographing Artistic Skating Programs
Test Requirements


Lehigh Valley Performing Arts Programs In addition, skating academic courses are offered in rules/standards, skating history, choreography and program construction. In all artistic and academic

Choreography: Figure skating's hidden edge |  Jan. 11, 2007  That's why good choreography — the music and steps that make up a program — is so vital to the success of today's finest skaters.

PDF Choreography & Style on ice, and in educating the public that it is the role of a choreographer to introduce drama and expression in a skater's program.

PDF Choreography Styles in Figure Skating The outcomes of the study on choreography styles in figure skating indicate a dominance of the Mozartian Style among figure skating trainers


Fifty-eight figure skating trainers from fifteen different countries acted as volunteers in this study on choreography styles. The styles were based on reports of artistic-creative strategies in composing music, drawing, writing poems or novels, and in making dances.

The prevalence of the Mozartian (at the onset the choreographer already has a more or less complete plan in mind), Beethovenian (the choreographer does not start with a complete plan, but instead focuses on a succession of single and detailed elements) and Avant-garde Style (instead of starting from the music, as the impulse for creating movements, trainers choreograph straight from movement ideas) is 77.2%, 56.4%, and 16.1% respectively.

The results from a CATPCA reveal that the features, associated with the three choreography styles have loadings on two dimensions, one representing features predominantly belonging to primary process thinking (Mozartian), the other representing features predominantly related to secondary process thinking (Beethovenian and Avant-Garde).

In the discussion attention is paid to 1) why the Mozartian and Beethovenian are more popular than the Avant-Garde Style, to 2) the universal quality of artistic-creative styles in a wide range of artistic endeavors, and to 3) the differences between elite, runner-up, and novice trainers on experience, on using the assistance of a professional choreographer, and on using the Avant-Garde Style.

PDF Artistry in Motion  Figure skating choreography and style. The information taught through Artistry in Motion curriculum are valuable life tools incorporating skating

Paula Wagener - A WebsiteBuilder Website In 2000, AIM was adopted by the US Figure Skating Basic Skills program and became a choreography and style badge for skaters.

PDF Augmenting Choreography: Insights and Inspiration The support of a unique arts and science research fund. A short discussion about why a choreographer might be interested in cognitive

Choreography and Cognition - Papers  "Choreography and Cognition: A joint research project". Art and Science

Sciencechoreography - Why Science Choreography?  April 11, 2011  Science Choreography: a way to reach students and break barriers. Science and the Arts: making a personal connection.

Peak Performances - Insite - The Beauty in Science Feb. 10, 2010  As a choreographer, my primary aspiration has been in the ... in cognitive science could be a catalyst for artistic research and development

The Art and Science of Teaching/Learning Dance - Joan Walton Although he says that selection is more art than science, he nonetheless posits a ..... the architecture of a choreography or a move, 3-Dimensional space,

Sciencechoreography April 13, 2011 ... Welcome to Science Choreography! We invite you to explore the intersection of art, science, and kinesthetic learning.

ArtsWork - Dance Instruction  Grades 3-7 interactive materials for students to explore the arts as careers. Weather Dance Dance/Science * Elementary School Unit (Grades 3-4) ... Students choreograph a dance based on two contrasting emotions.

Neuromuscular Integrative Awareness (Nia) The merging of magic, music and medicine into a single alchemic practice. Nia embraces all aspects of holistic, systemic movement, delighting practitioners and changing lives.  Music is key to making fitness and movement expressive, healing and effective. Discover the power of sound and silence and develop the skill of listening to music.

Nia Exercise - Nia Technique The Art of Sensing-The Body's Way Sensing precisely how you feel at any given moment during a Nia movement is a superb way to become your own best teacher.

Blissful Fitness: What is FreeDance in Nia?  Feb. 3, 2011 ... so try opening the door to the fun and freedom you'll find in the art of Nia Free Dance.  The result of practicing Nia is loving your body and mastering the art of living a passionate and healthy life. Done barefoot and to music.

Nia Principle Number 2  Nia can change the energy and focus of a single movement by changing the Art Form influencing the movement. Martial Arts: Tai Chi – The Slow Dance:

Creativity in Motion: Dancing Through Life with Nia


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
Choreography and Artistic Performances
Choreography - An Art or Science?
Role of Skating Technique in Choreography
Music's Role in Creating Skating Programs

Role of the Choreographer in Figure Skating
A Choreographer's Role & Duties
Choreography & Presentation
The Role of Choreography in Presentation
Program Components
Choreographing Free Skating Programs
Choreographing Artistic Skating Programs
Artistic and Interpretive Events
Choreographing Showcase Events
Theater On Ice
Creating Dance Content
Skater Feedback

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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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