Thursday, July 25, 2013

What I Think About Russian "Choreography"

As some of you guys may know I'm not trying to be a professional writer or gymnastics blog. I'm not a good writer so my thoughts and ideas aren't written out well. This post/rambling is regarding the current "Russian choreography".

I feel lately that the Russians are being heavily criticized for their artistry and people are having a field day with it. I'm at least pleased that people do acknowledge that great upper body carriage and arm waves do equal pretty and makes a difference when performing. It makes the Russians overall performances look polish and even accomplished. But my main problem is when people seems to think it's not a form of artistry or choreography. I admit that I was one of those fans who heavily criticized Afanasyeva's new routine and I added to the negative criticisms. It's not bad to criticize or point things out but sometimes it becomes too much and negative. I'll just say I've watched some of Afan's main competitors and most of their routines just don't do it for me. Yes artistry is subjective but when you see a polish performance in a gymnast's movements it makes a big difference. I feel people just want more and sometimes that more is too much and adds nothing to a routine. For example when some people talk about so called actual choreography they mean what the actual gymnasts are doing. Like Afan's cool 2012 synchronizing leg choreo. Some say waving your arms is nothing. It may seem like a relevant point but in my opinion it means nothing. I feel some people just say that to downplay the Russians for their lack of "choreography".

These video links might bore you but it proves that it takes dedication and hard work to make arm waves and hand movements look artistic. It might not be for everyone but some people enjoy these styles.
The Dying Swan  
The Dying Swan Brazil 
Khmer Dance 

I can see where some of the genuine fans are coming from. I did criticize Afan's new routine by saying there was nothing really in her routine but arm waves. I feel some people and I included want something more. I guess the good part is that genuine fans really do want something cool in the Russians routines but that truly only comes once in a while. I'd rather be subjected to the Russian arm waves than awkward shimmy shaking routines that has a lot going on but actually leads to nothing.

Maybe we should blame the CoP? It's no secret that it's all about who can do the most difficulty. Juniors always seem to have great choreography but it always seems to fade off when they become seniors. I can appreciate a very difficult routine for the tumbles but the gymnasts also has to know how to move their body in a way that it looks like they spent hours in dance training but yet it looks effortless. The hours at the ballet barre should be rewarded too. I guess at the end of the day artistry really is subjective and you will like what you like. I don't talk much outside of the big four because they don't really win much but there are a few gymnasts that can rival the Russians. I feel I add to the never ending fight between USA VS Russia artistry. I admit I am bias. I'm not American or Russian but I prefer the Russians. I can appreciate the American style of gymnastics for their difficulty but they rarely put out their artistic gymnasts on the world stage. And I know it's negative to nag about American artistry but I just have to say it. After all gymnastics is a competitive sport and the fans are competitive too. I don't mind the USA wining but when I watch the Russian perform I feel their performances but when I see the Americans I don't get that feeling. But also at the end of the day who ever hits and executes the best will win. It's rare for artistry to prevail in this new code.

What style do you guys prefer? VS This time juniors


  1. Good post. The junior vs was a very good example. Laurie Hernandez's style is just abysmal compared to Anastasia's. They both seem to have the same style but Anastasia prevails over Laurie because Anastasia is aware of what she is doing, she is well trained. Laurie needs help and I can't believe the choreographer or coaches would showcase that.

    Simone and Ksenia have different styles. I actually like Simone's and Ksenia's so I'm actually stuck on those ones. I think people would tend to go towards Ksenia's routine. It really shows how hard she works on her lines. I know how hard it's like to work in dance. Ksenia is accomplished.

  2. I never thought of the Jr vs Sr difference. Afan's routine doesn't pull me in like her previous ones (10, 11, 12)it doesn't have that spark or personality. Suprisingly I like Simone Biles routine. I find the majority of the USA girls floor routines to be "choppy" & "count the beats" (a la cheerleaders). Quite often they remind me of when I was coaching & choreographing the younger girls floor routines. Their choreography was always to a count, i.e. 4 steps of this movement then 2 of another etc.

  3. Afan can just stand around and basically do nothing and still have more artistry compared to many Americans. She doesn't need to do this so called actual choreography. By the way sometimes less is more. The Russians know how to do that.

  4. Do all the American girls have broken wrists? Those flexed wrists that they all use is so distracting to the line.