Choreography – Part 1 (Pasquale Camerlengo)

World and Olympic figure skating coach and choreographer Pasquale Camerlengo begins a discussion about choreography.  Pasquale is one of the most sought-after choreographers in the world and it is valuable to hear his insights.

Right at the beginning, Pasquale notes that although a choreographer’s job is to create choreography, most of their time is actually spent teaching skills and movements to skaters.  Skaters should strive to be prepared in terms of skills and movements based on their music choices.  Skaters may need to interpret music or act out a story on the ice.  This requires skill development and many skaters overlook just how important this preparation is.

When first working with a skater, Pasquale spends some time figuring out what the skater can actually do in terms of skills, natural movements, and individual style.  Conversely, the choreographer must try to find out the skater’s potential in terms of the movements he may want to use.  Some skaters never explore certain types of music or stories, but they might have the potential to do them extremely well.

It is common for skaters to come to the rink with clear ideas about what they want.  The problem is that sometimes Pasquale discovers that they simply do not have the skills to do that kind of program effectively.  He typically puts the music on and asks for movements that are appropriate for that style of music.  He also asks to see steps and turns to assess the skater’s skill and comfort with a variety of footwork elements.  Pasquale uses this part of the session to determine if a skater is already equipped to handle the program.  If a skater is not quite ready, Pasquale has to determine how much effort will be required to develop the necessary skills.

He recommends taking off-ice dance classes to develop a wider variety of movement patterns.  And he recommends that aspiring skaters learn these skills early on.


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