Ice Skating Choreography For Beginning Figure Skaters (Chris Conte)

Chris Conte discusses figure skating choreography.  This video picks up where he left off in his discussion of the tools of a traveling choreographer.  In this video, Chris delves into the various types of programs that he uses and he discusses the different approaches for different levels of skaters.  He also discusses the benefits of having direct control over the music editing process.

Chris notes that at the lower levels, an expensive choreographer is simply not necessary.  So coaches who do choreography for their skaters will benefit from Chris’s comments regarding program types.  He also notes that tailoring the music to a low level skater is rarely necessary, whereas it’s often critical for an international level skater.

For music editing, Chris uses a program called Samplitude which you can get at  The full professional version is very pricey but MAGIX Samplitude Music Studio 15 that Chris mentions in the video is less than $100US (search online).  This is an outstanding program and it’s very powerful for making cuts and fades as well as fancy effects like changing the pitch of a piece of music.  Chris notes that mp3 audio files may not be appropriate in all cases since the mp3 compression makes some more advanced editing difficult (sounds bad).  For high level programs, Chris recommends getting the music right off a CD.

Next, Chris begins his discussion of choreography.  Chris says, “At the preliminary level, you’re just teaching skating skills mainly.  But you want to do it in a creative way that starts to develop their performance level as well.  And you certainly don’t want the process to be boring.”  By giving a young skater a fun program, the program can be used as a tool to help the skater learn and enjoy working on skating skills.

Chris emphasizes that at the low levels, programs should be developed that include all the different skating directions.  This forces the skater to work on elements in the direction they are often less comfortable with.  Chris also recommends including all the basic turns and turn directions in a low level program.

Chris also shares one of his pet peeves.  He warns against using high level spin variations with low level skaters who have not yet mastered the basic spins.  Chris keeps it simple, and he claims his skaters have been rewarded in competition for this.  At that level “the quality of the basic is the most important thing” says Chris.

At the low levels, Chris suggests using music and a theme that the young skater can relate to, such as animals.  He notes that this can really benefit the skater in terms of their performance level because it allows them to relate to the music and the “story.”  He also suggests using movies or stories to help the skater relate to their program.  Chris says, “Anyting that child is going to engage with that’s going to make them want to practice that program and practice it well is a great thing.”

If you have questions for Chris, please add them in the comments below.  Chris will see them an hopefully respond.


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