Arthleticism is a word to describe both artistic and athletic skills within an art. It is based on two words: art and athleticism. Chiquita specifically coined this term in the context of figure skating; Other than being her signature word, it was also part of her master’s thesis research during her study at Brockport.
This combination of art and sport can be seen is in the need for choreographed movements in skating performances. Jumping and spinning are required in competitions, but they must be choreographed with music and movements, which is called a ‘program,’ and choreographers work closely with skaters to create them. This explains that though the competition is athletic; it requires elements of art, specifically dance.
Artistic impression makes figure skating a subject akin to dance. Also known as program components, artistic impression means movement, flow, musical, and expressive quality that blends together in a skating program. Technically, modern figure skating is dancing on ice. There are art layered elements with strong athletic qualities behind the performance. As a professional choreographer with a background in competitive skating, Chiquita believes art is an outlet for human expression, while sport is a physical activity to win a game or competition. If these two perspectives were put together in the context of figure skating, they would fit perfectly.
Chiquita created the term artheticism in purpose of educating the public about the necessity of performing within skating, especially in Indonesia. When she was still teaching as a choreographer in Indonesia, she always encountered a particular perception from the general public regarding the relationship between figure skating and classical ballet. This perception was that figure skating is ballet, and it most likely came from Indonesian people; including coaches and parents when they watched a well-trained skater performing his or her program. They have thought taking ballet class is the best practice for skaters. As the first person that started introducing dance choreography into the Indonesian skating community, Chiquita felt curious about this common perception, which is not examined by scholarly observation and research. The first thing Chiquita looked into was the body itself. She discovered an alternative yet efficient way to improve the performing aspect in skating that begins from the skater’s body. She was inspired through her learning process in modern dance practice at Brockport.
Back to the misconception between skating and ballet; in particular, skating gestures are more or less similar to classical ballet. They are so similar that classical ballet is one of the most popular kinds of off-ice training for skaters, and it is believed to improve a skater’s posture and arm movements on ice. However, one of the problems of this training is that classical ballet requires a turned out leg, while in skating the legs are parallel. Because of this difference, modern dance should arguably be considered as a supplemental training method for skaters, i.e. as an option other than ballet.
There are many ways modern dance can be useful as a training method for skaters. For example, in modern dance the feet are parallel for the most part, which is good for skaters. Also, modern dance values freedom and self-expression, and its exercises can be approached for many different personal needs making it a versatile training method. Another important aspect is that the groundedness and three-dimensional movement in modern dance can challenge the verticality in skating. The last but not least theory in modern dance is movement awareness that is supported by the practice of Laban Notation and Bartenieff Fundametals. On top of all these theories and practice, the key of movement practice is the utilization of spine.
The more detailed deliberation of this research can be found in Chiquita’s master thesis paper at http://digitalcommons.