European Championships for Show and Precision – or – ZOO on SKATES...

Spotlight On
Spotlight On

After one month from the end of the European Championships for Show and Precision, I’ve asked Sandro Guerra (Artistic Roller Skating Choreographer) few comments about it. There were more than 1000 skaters in Reggio Emilia and the Sport Center was full all the three days of competitions. F...

After one month from the end of the European Championships for Show and Precision, I’ve asked Sandro Guerra (Artistic Roller Skating Choreographer) few comments about it.

There were more than 1000 skaters in Reggio Emilia and the Sport Center was full all the three days of competitions.

Following an interesting article by Sandro.

Nicola Genchi


Peacocks (and what peacocks!) birds, frogs, ducks, bees, goats, swans, ladybirds, hens, antelopes, ants, jellyfish, monkeys, sharks, beetles, scorpions, snakes, bulls, cats, crows, penguins, dragonfly, butterflies, bears...

Over the years, many show groups have taken their inspiration from the world of nature, and in particular, from animals:- flamingos, ostriches, kangaroos, koalas, pandas, walruses and whales, not to mention seals, (and the list could go on). Give us a couple of years and we shall have completely exhausted the long list of animals in our hypothetical “roller Zoo” and we shall be able to move on to other themes.

This is not to suggest that the choreographies presented during these years have not been interesting, or spectacular, with really significant creative effort and wonderful results; but perhaps the time has come for us to move on, to find new themes and different ideas, to search for further creative development both in form and in content.

Show groups are enjoying ever more success in terms both of public and media attention and is our responsibility, if we want to develop our sport and make it even more popular, to submit a product which is even more professional both technically and artistically. On the one hand, the quality of the athletes on the floor will need to be even higher, their technical ability will need to become more substantial, more consistent and more aesthetically refined.

At the organizational level, the product has to be as perfect as possible for the requirements of television. Programs presented must be of the highest quality. When considering Television there are still many details which need to be worked on and improved so that the show as seen on the screen gives the impression that the environment in which the competition is taking place is ordered and fully respectful of the performances in the rink. There should not be empty spaces in the public seating areas and, for example, when a group is performing on the rink, the audience should remain seated and should not move until the end of the performance.

Judges ought to have a monitor and should give their scores on electronic scoreboards, flip-boards are really obsolete now. Also, on TV it would be good to show the scores with a list of the Judges and their nationalities (as on ice).

I happened to see the Quartet competition put out by RAI the next day, while the Championships were still on. Although FROM THE ARTISTIC point of view, the general level of the show came across as pretty reasonable, one’s attention was constantly being distracted by background activities and the thought of the image which was being presented to outsiders.

I felt seriously embarrassed: we are very untidy. Sometimes we are lacking in regard for the athletes who happen to be performing at any given moment. The kids put on their make-up in the public seating areas; they wander back and forth. Many people stand up, walk about or chat to one another with their backs to the competing athletes.

Clearly, some of this is often caused by the fact that the rooms which should be reserved below as changing rooms and the spaces set aside for preparation, are often inadequate for the huge numbers of competitors.

In my opinion it is not good to see the youngsters dressed up and made up, sitting eating and drinking outside a Sports Centre in full view from the main public entrance. If we want to present a more artistic and thought-through (professional) image of ourselves, we shall need to start to pay more attention to these matters.

Of course, much of this depends on leadership from the clubs, the team managers and the coaches who would need to encourage their athletes into a more appropriate and level of public behavior in front of those who may well have come for the very first time to see ARTISTIC SKATING ( in this case a European Championship!)

I AM NOT saying that the organization of the championships was not excellent…Far from it. To control the flow of so many people both outside and inside the Sports Centre was no easy task for the staff of Skating Club Albinea, which I repeat, organized an excellent event. Of course it is very difficult indeed to organize a competition to fit in with television, not least because their availability is not made clear until the very last moment. Perhaps we could try to anticipate their schedules and requirements in advance so as to be able to present everything in the most effective way.

It might be a good idea to develop an agreed standard-format involving professionals from the field of communication to ensure a really exciting and even more spectacular product This I believe, would bring increased professionalism to every aspect of the public presentation of our sport and our art, to say nothing if the future interest of TV.

It really is extremely important to promote our sport to the Media and at the same time work to get rid of the old amateurish behavior, which to some extent still characterizes us all. It is not merely a matter of finance.

This, my humble set of reflections is intended simply and exclusively as an attempt to suggest ways in which we might further refine the image of ourselves which we present to the world, and is offered with the very best of intentions and with the utmost respect for the efforts of all those clubs which have had the courage to organize events such as this; also for all those technical coaches, choreographers, dance teachers and behind-the-scenes-workers, who have had the foresight to believe in Show Groups, the natural evolution of this wonderful sport.

In summary, this is a matter which concerns us all for the collective good of our art.

Sandro Guerra