Friday, March 03, 2006

WJF... taking creativity to the next level

People associate non-creativity with the WJF, and for good reason. However, I am going to propose a way to change that based on an insight I've recently had. Bear with me.

I've been to a couple women's gymnastics meets this year and have developed a greater appreciation for the sport. There are four events that the girls do during a competition.
  1. Balance Beam
  2. Vault
  3. Uneven Bars
  4. Floor Exercise

The most creative event that the girls compete in is the floor exercise. This is where they dance around a bit in between their attempts at difficult flips and such. The judges are not only looking for the competitors to execute technically difficult and perfect flips, they are also looking for the best presentation of the dancing around stuff they do.

In my novice opinion, the floor exercise seems to be the event that captures the audience most fully because the stage is large, generally in the middle of the arena's competition areas, and the competitors have high energy music blasting from the arena speakers during their performances.

It occured to me last night that the WJF could create an event with the same intent as the floor exercise for gymnastics. Then it occured to me that the WJF already has one such category... the diabolo.

This year's winner of the diabolo competition, William Wei-Liang Lin, demonstrated that highly technical and creative juggling that is choreographed to music can be combined in much the same way that the gymnasts combine creative dancing with technically difficult flips choreographed to music.

At WJF II, in a convention full of jugglers who came to see the most technically proficient jugglers compete for prizes in a technical juggling competition, the greatest applause... a standing ovation, went to the very creative, technically difficult, choreographed to music performance of William Wei-Liang Lin.

I propose that there be a category of competition based on creative and technical juggling in the spirit of the gymnastics floor exercise.

This comptetition could be held for each individual prop category: Clubs, Balls, Rings. Or it could be a single, open category where any of these props in any combination could be used for the competiton. I would be interested in seeing head bouncing included as well.

For instance, Toby Walker used three clubs, one bean bag, and one head bouncing ball for one trick during his exhibition. While bouncing the ball on his head, he spun a club over his head and under the bouncing ball and successfully kept the other clubs and the bean bag in the pattern.

The point is, creativity can be very difficult to pull off in a technical sense. To ignore this aspect of creativity is to leave out a compelling force in the evolution of juggling skills. If the WJF wanted, it could put a technical emphasis on creativity and make it possible for the world to witness the most amazing juggling feats ever.

Quote of the Day

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. ~Bruce Lee


At 11:24 AM, Blogger Scott Seltzer said...

The IJA competitions are based 60% on technique and 40% on performance (see Within technique, originality (creativity) is a key component. And the performance aspect covers many other things you mentioned (music, choreography, stage movement). I think that the WJF was trying to get away from this format.


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