The Secret Language of Ballet Judges
you ever wonder what Ballet Judges talk about when they huddle after
you've flown? Mostly they talk about you - well, about your performance.
What did you do? What didn't you do? Did they like it?
understand it? Did they enjoy it? One thing that's interesting is the
language some of us use during these discussions. Explanations of some
of these terms illustrates what judges are thinking about and may just
help make better ballets.
"What did you see?" a more experienced judged asked a
somewhat newer one. That's a good question to ask yourself as you watch
yourself fly. What do you see? Do you see a lot of the same things? Do
you see "easy" things only? Are there some harder maneuvers?
Could you explain in words what happened during the performance? If you
as flier can't describe what went on, it's likely going to be hard for
the judges, too.
"Missed opportunity" is something that the judges didn't
see where they hoped to see something. Was there a long held note in the
music, but no comparable long held maneuver? Was there a loud
"boom" where nothing happened? Did the music suddenly get
slow, but the kite continued to move fast? Listen to your music and pick
out the key points (contrasts in speed/loudness, complete stops, etc)
and be sure you find something to do for the major ones.
"Hit me over the head," is something I like to say. Remember
that judges are standing out there in the heat or cold or rain, trying
very hard to concentrate on what you are doing. Make your choreography
easy to follow; make it obvious. Make it big! Choreography should not be
a big secret. Instead, you want to do everything possible for the judges
(and audience) to "get it."
"Washing the car" is a phrase I first heard from Joel
Brown, but someone mentioned that original credit is due Terry Murray.
The idea here is that you are outside on a Saturday morning washing the
car with the radio on. The car washing and the radio playing have
nothing to do with one another. In ballet this means that your flying is
not keyed into the music; the two have nothing to do with each other.
Another way to identify washing the car is to ask the question: If other
music were playing, would it matter? Save washing the car for your
driveway, not the ballet field.
"Poor choice" can refer to poor music choice (a piece that
doesn't allow the flier to show off his or her skills) or poor kite
choice (too heavy or light a kite). Music choice is a kiteflier's
homework. You as flier know best what you can do, and what you like.
Spend the time to find music that works for you. Poor kite choice is
tougher. Some of us just don't have that many kites to choose from! One
hint: have several line options, and some tamers to change the way the
kite flies. This is a not-so-expensive way to make your kite work in
many different circumstances. However, even if you pick the right kite
as your ballet starts, there is no telling if the wind will pick up or
die during the routine. This is part luck and part experience.
Judging is about seeing and understanding. While you choreograph and
practice your routine you are a judge, too. The next time you go out to
practice, consider if you are indeed "washing the car." Or
made a "poor choice." Or "missed an opportunity."
Then, fix it so the judges won't need to use those terms in discussing
Adena is a true "rising star" in AKA sport
kite competitions. She is playing a major role in developing programs to
introduce new fliers to the sport. We welcome Adena to the ranks of