Figure Skating Choreography for Advanced Skaters – Part 2 (Chris Conte)

Master figure skating choreographer Chris Conte continues his discussion of how he designs high level skating programs.  The previous video in this figure skating choreography series is here.

In this video, Chris continues to show how he designed an IJS program to the soundtrack to Pocahontas.  You can see how he intertwines the “story” and the elements in the basic design.  Notice the continued focus on cardio recovery and building element points “in the bonus” or second half of the program.  Chris also talks about using a skater’s ability to “act” on the ice both for cardio recovery as well as enhancing the performance mark.  Notice how Chris interprets the music into a “chase section” for the footwork and notice the tempo lends itself well to doing a step sequence.  Lots of golden nuggets in this video.

Next, Chris discusses a concept program that is not a full storybook program.  He shares an example of a program he created to the soundtrack of the movie Sherlock Holmes.  Notice the complicated music editing but observe how this level of detail can create opportunities for the skater that a basic cut-and-paste piece of music never could.  In this concept program, Chris focuses on creating impressions of the character of the movie.  Chris says, “We have a magnifying glass part, thinking about things, and an investigatory slow section, but it doesn’t necessarily tie together into a story.”  Again, notice the detail in the design of the program and the “story” elements and how they tie to the music.  This is really only possible with direct control over the music editing process and is one the reasons Chris is so good at what he does.

The “final” version of this program has recently been posted to YouTube and it’s embedded here to help you see how the concepts Chris talks about in theory actually played out on the ice.  (To skip the skater’s warm-up and go directly to the program, go to 2:35 in the video.)

And in the very last minute of Chris’s discussion, he introduces us briefly to a Senior ladies IJS program based on the character Maria from the soundtrack to West Side Story.  This is also an impression concept program as well.  Although he doesn’t discuss this program in detail in his video below, I’ve included the program below as an example of Chris’s work.

Here’s Chris’s discussion of these wonderful programs.


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