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Thread: What is the difference between Choreography and Interpretation?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    What is the difference between Choreography and Interpretation?

    This thread was inspired by SeaniBu’s observations/questions on the “French” thread. Under the new judging system, how exactly are the judges supposed to evaluate these two program components?

    Let’s say a skater goes to Lori Nichol for a program. Nichol says, OK, we’ll do Beethoven’s Fifth. On the four beat of pum-pum-pum-PUM, you do a triple Lutz in the far corner. Then you do a figure eight pattern back to the center into a layback combo, be sure to skate from the center of your body outward and don’t forget to point your toe.

    The judges say, wow, Lori totally nailed old Ludwig Van on that one. Lori’s “original arrangement of all movements according to the principles of proportion, unity, space, pattern, structure, and phrasing” was awesome (quote is from the ISU document, “Components with Explanations”).

    I’ll give the skater an 8.75 for “Choreography/Construction.”

    Now we turn to the program component “Interpretation.”

    How well did the skater interpret Lori Nichol’s interpretation of Beethoven’s interpretation of whatever inspired him to compose this piece in the first place? Did the skater “(maintain) the character and style of the music throughout the entire program by use of body and skating techniques to depict a mood, style, shape, or thematic idea as motivated by the structure of the music: melody, harmony, rhythm, color, texture, and form?”

    Well, maybe so on the set-up to her triple Flip, but I wasn’t really feeling Beethoven on her flying camel. I’ll say a 7.50.

    Is this the intention of these two program component scores?

    Can you think of examples of recent programs that had good choreography but bad interpretation, or vice versa?

    Here is the relevant ISU document, with point by point explanations (pages four and five).

    http://www.isu.org/vsite/vfile/page/...-0-file,00.pdf

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    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    Now if I think about it in terms of "choreography" being a mark of the choreographer and not so much the skater...there is a team involved. I could understand that - not sure on whether I like it though???? Does the coach get their own set of marks too, or is that reflected in the overall score....???

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    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Can you think of examples of recent programs that had good choreography but bad interpretation, or vice versa?
    Not off hand...well...thinking.....


    .........no I can't.

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    [Oops, Mathman already posted a link to the ISU explanatory document from 2004.]

    Can anyone think of/point to cases when the Choreography and Interpretation PCS marks differed by more than a 1.0 point average?
    Last edited by Sylvia; 07-07-2007 at 09:18 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    Can anyone think of/point to cases when the Choreography and Interpretation PCS marks differed by more than a 1.0 point average?
    Nope. I was wondering if someone might mention Mao Asada's Czados LP. At the beginning of the season many people thought that the choreography was brilliant but too hard for the skater to keep up with. One would suppose that this might result in higher scores for Choreography than for Interpretation.

    Looking at Worlds protocols, though, it was the opposite. Of the five program component scores, Mao's Interpretation marks were the highest, even higher than Skating Skills (well, she did double foot the triple Axel -- but then, that is supposed to be accounted for in GOE on the tech side).

    The difference between Mao's Interpretation and Choreography scores was 0.39. No other lady had a difference greater than 0.25.

    Leaving out Mao, the average difference between the Choreography score and the Interpretation score at worlds (ladies) was 0.095.

    For men, the average difference was 0.077.

    It sure looks like the judges, too, are having a hard time in differentiating the two.

    For example, what was wrong with Joubert's LP at worlds? Ineffective choregraphy? Pedestrian interpretation? Lackluster execution? All three?

    (Interestingly, Joubert's Choreography and Interpretation scores at Worlds were only a tiny bit lower than at Cup orf Russian where he brought the house down with three quads. I would have expected the stronger tech showing and greater excitement to spill over into the PCSs.)

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    Rabbit Tycoon dutchherder's Avatar
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    I think this is a good example of good choreography, but lackluster interpretation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmr3BgmD04c

    Imagine what this program would look like if Kwan, Cohen, or Czisny did it.

    Here's another example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M21RsCxeiPY

    Carriere's a promising young skater, but I think the choreography and music are too sophisticated for him to interpret well. This program would be amazing if Kurt Browning had done it...
    Last edited by dutchherder; 07-08-2007 at 09:46 AM. Reason: Add another link

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutchherder View Post
    I think this is a good example of good choreography, but lackluster interpretation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmr3BgmD04c

    Imagine what this program would look like if Kwan, Cohen, or Czisny did it.

    Here's another example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M21RsCxeiPY

    Carriere's a promising young skater, but I think the choreography and music are too sophisticated for him to interpret well. This program would be amazing if Kurt Browning had done it...
    agree with you example of kimmie. To be Chreogrpahy does not only mean the arm movments and such but te steps, and thier intracasy, the unique way that te skater gets from point A to point B. where the elements are placed and how they fit with the music. Interpritation is how well the skaters sells the chreogprhay through facial expressions and bodily movements that relate to the music and teh theme of the porgram. Kimmie was given good chreogphy, but she could still could not Interpret the music.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Choreography is a creative art form like Da Vinci' work, Rossini work Shakespear's work, etc.

    Interpretation is a performance art form like Beverly Sills, Ana Pavolva, Lawrence Olivier, etc.

    Joe

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    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    I've been trying to think of a great answer to your question "what is the difference between choreography and Interpretation?" The only thing I can think of is that skaters always get marked for how difficult their program is (choreography) and how they interpret the music (interpretation). Of course, the harder the choreography and detail the higher the marks. How the skater interprets the music is a whole different story. It really comes down to the indvidual skaters ability to feel the music. Skaters like Kurt Browning and Jeff Buttle have no problems with this aspect of their skating. They are a choreographers dream skater. If a skater is given too difficult a program this can of course effect their ability to not only handle the choreography but also interpret the music. One takes away from the other if they don't match. Many a skater has had the challenge to learn a complicated set of steps in a program and to keep up with the music. Sometimes it can be like learning to pat your stomach and rub your head at the same time!!!

    This is a good question. I never thought of it in such black and white terms, but the judges have to look at the choreography and the skaters interpretation as separate components. It's not always an easy mark to give but takes much knowledge and understanding of figure skating on the judges part.

    I hope this in some part answers your question.

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    Here are a couple of examples where I feel that the choreography is pretty average in terms of originality and patterning and use of skating moves (not just upper body) but the skaters' use of the whole body to fill that choreography and relate to the music is well above average:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKv3NJhtm3I
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WznYZoUH-OU

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    Skating Freak Barbie
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    I would say Plushenko in recent years. It seems his level of creative choreography has dropped some. But he has such an electricity to him, and personal power and drama, he can really sell a weakly designed program. (Speaking as someone not fan, but who respects that talent)

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Nope. I was wondering if someone might mention Mao Asada's Czados LP. At the beginning of the season many people thought that the choreography was brilliant but too hard for the skater to keep up with. One would suppose that this might result in higher scores for Choreography than for Interpretation.
    I was going to- but hen you beat me to it

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    Moving up the testing structure Kypma's Avatar
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    Difference between Choreography and Interpretation

    For me, choreography is the placement of jumps, spins, step and spiral sequences in the physical spaces - good choreography would be using the entire surface, and not placing all jumps in the corners, for example, nor all the spins in the center.
    Interpretation would be how the skater relates to the music, such as Yu-Na Kim's Short Program to tango de Roxanne (at Worlds, I didn't follow the rest), Sasha Cohen's Malaguena, Virtue & Moir's Assasination/Association Tango (OD), etc.
    Basically, choreography would be the pattern followed by the skater(s) during the program, while interpretation would be whether the skater(s) makes you believe in the theme of the program, or how they are selling it.

    Kypma

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Choreography is a creative art form like Da Vinci' work, Rossini work Shakespear's work, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kypma View Post
    For me, choreography is the placement of jumps, spins, step and spiral sequences in the physical spaces - good choreography would be using the entire surface, and not placing all jumps in the corners, for example, nor all the spins in the center.
    I agree with these distinctions.

    But then, to me, that raises the question of whether the skater should be rewarded (with high marks in choreography) for someone else's work. The skater is not Shakespeare, he is the actor who reads the words that Shakespeare wrote. Yes, he deserves credit under Interpretation for what he does with Shakespear's words, but does he also deserve extra credit (choeography) for the words that were put in his mouth?

    Same with utilization of space, etc. This is the choreographer's work, not the skater's.

    Unless we think that the skater deserves extra points for spinning where the choreographer told him to spin. But to me, that is covered under Performance/Execution.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kypma View Post
    Basically, choreography would be the pattern followed by the skater(s) during the program, while interpretation would be whether the skater(s) makes you believe in the theme of the program, or how they are selling it. Kypma
    Exactly and kudos to you for seeing the obvious.

    I don't believe it should be rated at the skater's expense. If it's poor choreography, blame it on the choreographer. duh.

    Some skater's do contribute to the choreography like I have to tweak that because it hurts my back. Other skaters work with the choreographer but the entire outline is the choreographer's. A few skaters, like Kurt Browning are able to choreograph their own programs and also skates to them with musical ease.

    In the case of Mao and most junior skaters they do everything the choreographer tells them.

    Joe

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