Equipment FAQ

June 18, 2018

What is Equipment?
– The primary pieces of equipment are flag, rifle and sabre; however any hand-manipulated prop is also considered an adjunct of the equipment library.

What is Vocabulary?
– Vocabulary is the entirety of “what” the performer is asked to do. This includes the body as it partners with the equipment.

What constitutes range and variety of skills?
– Everything from a simple equipment skill done in a vertical position, to variations of that skill.
– Multi-dimensional carving
– Spatial pathways on turning, moving and changing bodies
– Equipment manipulated on the body without the use of hands
– Changes in pitch
– New release and catch points
– Hand to hand work and ambidexterity
– Alterations in balance
– A wide range of variations, blends and effort gradations.
– Each change to a given move expands the vocabulary consideration.
– The manner in which these skills are combined can lend greater depth to the choreographic moment.

Why is this important?
– Because of the nature of competition, we measure and compare the development of the equipment/body skills among/between the competitors to determine ranking in that caption. The depth of the vocabulary and the technical/expressive achievement becomes the benchmark against which our standards grow and evolve.
– It brings greater diversity and interest to the programs contributing to both the effect and compositional value.
– The goal of each class is to maximize the potential of the performers, and help them to take the appropriate learning steps from Class A through Open Class to World Class level. This comparison process sets the standard for achievement.

What are “essential” efforts?
These efforts exist in every move. It is the GRADATIONS within these efforts that increase dynamic qualities (see below). Efforts include:
– SPACE: Changes in the quality of spatial focus or attention either direct or indirect.
– TIME: Changes in the quality of time in equipment skills rely on becoming either sustained or slow through fast or quick.
– WEIGHT: Changes in the quality of the equipment weight. It moves from light/soft through forceful/strong. This is influenced through changes in the muscles of the forearm, tension of the grip and flexibility of the wrist.
– FLOW: Use of breath impacts the flow of energy significantly and impacts changes in the quality of the flow of tension; Equipment moves from free and open to bound (controlled by the degree of, or release of, tension in the arms and upper body.) The “going with the flow” of equipment movement we call free; the restriction of the equipment flow we call bound.
– RHYTHM (the combination of weight and time) is an important expressive quality because it is the pulse or beat of motion and is paramount in creating dynamics. Motion may occur as a direct response to a recurrent beat or rhythmic pattern in music. The chief purpose of motion is the translation of rhythms and dynamics into physical action.

What are dynamics and dynamic range?
– All Movement (equipment included) can be qualified in terms of the essential EFFORTS of space, time, weight and flow of energy (see above). Inherent in these is the control of breath.
– Through the gradation of these efforts, DYNAMICS are created within each phrase. The degree of variation in each of these efforts, considered in totality, comprise the DYNAMIC RANGE. This learned skill is credited in both vocabulary and excellence and manifests on the upstairs sheets through enhanced musicality.

What constitutes depth and range of impact between body and equipment?
– When body and equipment combine, balance, centering and manipulation of the equipment takes on a whole new responsibility as the “partnering” of body & equipment evolves.
– There are points when the equipment will be delivered on a stable vertical body, and times when the equipment will be manipulated on a body that will shape, turn and travel simultaneously. At times the body and equipment will function in an equal and inseparable display of motion (you may hear a judge use the word synergy or synergistic). All of these variations and HOW they are combined contribute to the depth and range of the impact between body & equipment.
– Instructors should always write to showcase the performers’ skills. Greater depth of vocabulary requires greater depth of training.

What is Excellence?
– The ACHIEVEMENT of all the qualities in the vocabulary reflects the performers’ depth of training. This achievement can only be recognized through the choreographic display of equipment and movement. In that regard, the choreographed vocabulary becomes the showcase in which the performers demonstrate their skills. The measure for excellence is always based upon the fundamentals, principles and effort qualities demonstrated within each move.

What are equipment fundamentals?
– Fundamentals are the basic techniques within the training process.
– They are the foundation of all training.
– Fundamentals develop muscles, flexibility and expand the range of rotation in the wrist and shoulder socket thus preparing the performer for expanded responsibilities in equipment manipulation.

What are equipment principles?
– Position Sense
– Timing
– Spatial Pathways
– Balance
– Moving through Space
– Articulation
These principles are the basis on which consistency and correctness of technique are measured.

What is meant by development of breath?
– BREATH is crucial to motion not only to bring more oxygen to the body but also to give equipment motion fluency and harmony.
– Breath will impact on the quality of motion. A phrase of motion “with breath” has a controlled extension in time, a clear beginning and end no matter how fast or how slow it is. It moves with freedom and harmony.
– A phrase “without breath” looks stiff and mechanical (no breathing space).
– Students often have a tendency to “hold their breath” and thereby conversely impact on the quality of the equipment achievement. Proper breathing must be taught, practiced and applied.

What is development of muscle, tension, flexion and rotation?
– This is a training process designed to heighten the strength and control of the muscles, and develop greater flexibility and rotation range within the joints of the wrist and shoulder.

What does it mean when referring to training to support the vocabulary?
– The vocabulary is the showcase to display training and skills.
– Performers require the proper training in order to fully achieve the skills within the vocabulary.
– Emulating a skill without the proper technique or muscular development can prove dangerous to the performer and does not earn scoring credit.

What is the difference between training and rehearsing?
– Training conditions and develops the body to a heightened level that allows the performer to accomplish challenging skills.
– Training establishes the exact technique behind each equipment skill that will be utilized in the vocabulary.
– Rehearsing is a repetition of the work and most often builds improved timing and confidence but MUST NOT BE CONFUSED as a means to establish the specific techniques involved in good training.

What is the difference between training and warm-ups?
– As stated above, Training develops a heightened physical level and establishes proper technique.
– Warm-ups condition the performer and prepare the mind and body to achieve the challenges within the show. They should contain a reinforcement of the techniques established within the training program.

Why are we looking at difficulty and risk in the Independent World Class?
– This is intended to better assess depth of vocabulary and its achievement in the Independent World Class. We’ve noticed over the recent years that with the physical differences that come with more mature performers come greater abilities and more extreme skillsets. It was felt that these super-advanced skills have not always been recognized prompting the separation of the Scholastic and Independent World Class sheets. Once this separation occurred, it allowed for class-specific bullets in the comparative questions. Adding the bullet was meant to acknowledge what was already happening in this class. It is a reaction to choreographic patterns that have been established over recent years in the Independent World Class. This is NOT intended to shift or drive current choreographic trends, but to make sure that reward is fully available to the efforts we are already seeing in this class. Demand has always been inherent to both sub-captions. This bullet heightens our awareness to these aspects of depth.

We immediately think of “dangerous” skills combining strength and agility as “risk”. However, be reminded that there is a range within “risk” that includes other considerations of depth (i.e. proximity, endurance, speed and so on)

Does the Judge ignore implements other than rifle, sabre, and flag?
– The Judge considers any hand-held prop that is manipulated by the performer. The Judge considers the physical properties of the implement as he/she considers the challenge and the achievement presented by the use of the prop. Be clear that it is the skill in response to the prop that is considered, not the prop itself.