Pre Season Prep – Five
MUSIC AND COSTUMES:
Welcome back. We have come to one of my favorite parts of a skaters’ pre-season prep. Once your goals are established and a clear direction for training has been set its time to start hitting the ice to begin working on next season’s programs. To begin, each skater or coach needs to spend some time thinking about what music is right for each skater.
Hopefully, the skater is involved in choosing his/her music. It’s important that the skater feel connected to the piece, otherwise training with it every day could become monotonous and uneventful. Most skaters have experience with picking music, but here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind.
1) If you are at a level where your program is two minutes or less, choosing one piece of music for the entire program is often a good direction to take. There really isn’t time to incorporate tempo or music changes. This can apply to the short program as well. The short program has fewer elements and allows for more time to develop a story. I personally like short programs that have a theme. Ethnic music is a great way to go. Try a Russian gypsy song, a flamenco program, or a Hungarian rhapsody.
2) For the long program it is desirable to have tempo changes. Music from movie soundtracks or musicals can be used for the long program. Classical music is also a possibility and often liked by the judges.
3)Pick music that suits your style. If you are a very powerful skater pick a strong piece of music which compliments your strengths. If you have a balletic style, a slower classical piece of music might be more suitable.
4) Break out of a rut. If you’ve been skating to the same type of music for several seasons it might be time to shake things up a bit. Really think about the new direction you want to take your skating style and then find a piece of music to match it.Are you at a level where you want to show more maturity? You may struggle with the new choreography at first, but sometimes breaking out of the mold is exactly what an athlete needs.
5) Pick something you love. Of course, it’s best if the skater and coach agree on a piece of music, but if the skater really is against a particular piece he/she shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. The skater is the one skating to it after all. It’s better to speak up in the beginning than find out half-way through the season it wasn’t the right program choice.
6 ) Keep the IJS scoring system in mind when choosing music. Look for places in the music that call for jumps or spins or footwork. For example, a place in the music that has distinct beats is a good place for footwork. Each turned can be placed on a different note, making it easier for the caller to indentify each turn and call the appropriate level.
7) Make sure the short and long program have different styles. Showcase two sides of a skater’s personality. A Spanish short program can be mixed with a lyrical long program or vice versa. Just as long as the judges and spectators see that the skater has the ability to skate to all types of music. Different music selections make events and practices more entertaining for everyone, skaters included.
Once music has been selected you can start designing the costume. For a themed program, it’s best to be as authentic as possible. The internet is a great resource for this. Just Google the type of costume you are looking for and thousands of ideas will pop up. With a classical or lesser known piece you have a lot more freedom in choosing a design, however there are always a few things to keep in mind regardless of the costume you are making.
1) The costume should match the music. If you are skating to ethnic music, your costume should be ethnic. When you first visit the dress maker take a copy of your music with you. After they listen to the song your dressmaker will have a better idea of what to do with the costume design and color.
2) It might take several sketches before you are able to find the right design. It’s important to let the seamstress try as many options as possible, as they are trying to find the most flattering look for each body.
3) No one’s body is perfect. We all have parts of our body that we need to work with. Some people have one leg shorter than the other, or one hip higher. Some people are built boxy, or curvaceous, small chested…..the list goes on and on. Just knowing your body type allows you to nix certain unflattering designs right away. Enhance the best parts of your body while designing the costume. Pick a color that flatters your skin tone. Again these are all decisions that your seamstress can help you make.
4) Embellishments are always great. Just try not to overdo it. The costume should not outshine the skater or be too overdone for a particular level. Use moderation when stoning or adding sparkles to a dress. Sometimes less is more.
5) Finally, please, please get a head start on making the costume! This is more for the seamstress’ benefit than the skater. Remember that most skaters are competing at the same competitions during the same season. That means they are all going to need dresses at the same time! Beat the rush by starting early. If you already have a design in your head take it to the dressmaker. That way there will be time to make any necessary adjustments before the season gets into full swing.
So spend some time thinking about the creative side before you head back to the rink to conquer that new element!!!