Creative Movement
What Is Creative Movement?
Precise technique is an absolute necessity in free skating. Without it fine skill execution is impossible and artistic impact is greatly diminished. But quality is difficult to achieve and coaches often find themselves dictating rational instructions which are certainly a part of learning to move with finesse but alone discount the influence of the intuitive thinking necessary to execute them. To combat this solely cognitive approach Creative Movement can help skaters achieve a synthesis of intuitive and rational knowing. It provides situations in the form of improvisations which fuse creation with execution and where learning results from experience.

Creative Movement classes provide skaters with an opportunity to explore the artistic elements of skating spontaneously through their own personal investigations. It is not a free-for-all; it is highly structured to lead skaters to discover particular physical and emotional truths through their involvement with movement.

Free skating includes a feeling component. The ability to feel and express music is present in all good performances. Although feeling may not be highly trainable it is possible to provide situations in which the skater may experience the components of feeling in isolation. These situations are called improvisations and are usually based on imagery. Imagery is one tool that can facilitate the linking of intellectual understanding with the kinaesthetic (bodily felt) sense by acting metaphorically for technical corrections. One result of this approach is that skaters acquire tacit knowledge- knowing something without being able to explain what it is or how they know it; like the feel of the wind- they know it because they have experienced it.

All teaching should use both methods so that explicit knowledge rests on tacit knowledge and theoretical and practical knowing can augment and enrich one another. A Creative Movement experience helps skaters to integrate the technical and aesthetic components of their sport and in so doing invigorate their skating.

What Happens In A Creative Movement Class?
There is more to skating than jumping, spinning and connecting steps. These are just elements. Truly wonderful skaters effectively manipulate elements to make a statement. This skill begins with understanding the craft of movement. Creative Movement facilitates movement understanding by reaching the part of the skater that is the composer not the performer. It is an activity in which physical movement is used non-functionally and as personal expression. It is fulfilling to skaters because it engages the mind, body and spirit. When a skater is involved in it his concentration is fixed on the act of moving.

Good Creative Movement classes present opportunities for experimentation and growth. Skaters should feel free to experiment without worrying about the end product. But freedom should not be confused with creativity; freedom alone does not promote creativity. Freedom within structure does.

Creative Movement classes focus on particular movement elements. An element is introduced verbally and then improvisations are provided to lead skaters to make their own discoveries. There is no right or wrong in Creative Movement- skaters are successful if they experience involvement in the activity and growth in their ability to understand and use movement. Music may be used from time to time but the main goal of Creative Movement is to learn the language of movement. Extemporaneous expression using music is a very sophisticated skill that need not be explored until skaters have developed a clear understanding of movement. A parallel course in music appreciation and improvisation exploring the components of music can help skaters to understand and better use their music.

The Benefits of Creative Movement
Creative Movement is a tool that can:

* Help skaters to explore unique & unusual movement in a supportive environment. Because there is no
   right or wrong in improvisation, there is less risk in exploring new movement. Movement is not judged on
   a  'good' or 'bad' basis.
* Improve skaters' ability to use imagery. This ability is highly transferable to the choreographic setting.
* Increase fluency in the use of metaphor as a technical correction.
* Allow skaters to participate in a creative activity.
* Increase artistic self-efficacy. Confidence in one's ability to use movement to communicate is enhanced
   as the skater's understanding of artistic elements grows.
* Provide performance experience without the focus on technical elements and the need to skate
   choreographed programmes 'correctly'.
* Extend skaters' movement repertoire.
* Allow skaters to use movement non-functionally and as personal expression.
* Develop an awareness and control of movement. This heightened perception is highly transferable to all
   branches of skating.
* Help skaters tap the joy of skating and enrich the skating experience overall.
* Contribute to a positive environment in the club. Skaters work together in a group format in a totally
   process-oriented activity.
* Develop a perception of other arts.
* Provide a cool-down that allows skaters to leave the day's training on a positive note.

When Can Children Start Creative Movement Classes?
Because Creative Movement draws on the inner resources of the skater anyone can do it- no special talent is necessary. But of course skaters do need to have a certain level of physical skill. There's no point exploring the movement potential of a skater who can barely stand up! And they need to be mature enough to concentrate, understand instructions and co-operate in a group.

Generally speaking, skaters who are ready to pass their Preliminary Free Skate Test and/or who are 9 years of age and older and who skate a minimum of 3 times a week can benefit from Creative Movement classes.