Ingredients For a Successful Floor Routine



Like the recipe for a main dish, floor routines also have a list of “ingredients and spices” that need to be added in order for it to look (taste) good!

At the JO Optional levels, each level has a unique set of requirements for Floor that lists skills, types of skills, or value parts needed to make the routine complete.  This is comparable to the meat and veggies needed for a specific type of dish.

Svetlana Khorkina
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In order to make that dish or floor routine stand out, you need to add some spice!

The spice on floor is called Artistry and it has three parts; Originality and creativity of choreography in elements & connections, Quality of gymnast’s movement to reflect her personal style, and Quality of expression.

Missing any one part of Artistry can change the look of a routine and will incur a deduction of up to 0.10 for a maximum deduction of up to 0.30 for Artistry.

But what is Originality and creativity of choreography in elements & connections, Quality of gymnast’s movement to reflect her personal style, and Quality of expression?

Originality and Creativity of Choreography in Elements & Connections

Lets first define originality as it relates to choreography; new & different movement that is good in an appealing way.  This can include the combination of dance and/or acro elements in unique connections.

Chelle Stack-Marcella, Brevet Judge, states, “Excellent routines must show a great amount of different types of movement in many directions, avoiding repetition of the same types of movements.”

She goes onto to state that creative choreography should include movement of the entire body in varied directions, not just the arms and legs.  This movement should include variations in levels; in the air and on the floor.

Here is an example of a floor routine that shows originality and creativity in choreography in elements and connections:

Quality of Gymnast’s Movement to Reflect her Personal Style

This is simple, according to Chelle, the gymnast should invoke an emotional state or reaction from the judge and audience through her charisma, personality, and body language.

On a side note… In order for the gymnasts movement to reflect her personal style, the music should match the athlete’s personality.  Without this match, the choreographer may have a hard time getting the athlete to perform the routine, which will result in the athlete having difficulty in getting a response from the fans and judges.

An example of a floor routine that demonstrates quality of gymnast’s movement to reflect her personal style:

Quality of Expression

The choreographer and gymnast should demonstrate through choreography and/or movement the theme of the music.

For example, “Malaguena” is a Spanish song that should include Spanish dance movements and stylizations.  It should not include Irish or Hip Hop dance movements or stylizations.

The gymnast and choreography should interpret the music through movement.

According to Chelle this can also be accomplished by projecting energy through the body, through facial expressions, eye contact, and strong & soft movements based on the music style.

Other spices to consider when choreographing a floor routine include;

Compositional Deductions (Levels 8 – 10):

  • Lack of variety in dance elements
    • Overuse of dance elements with the same shape
      • More than two elements with a wolf or tuck position with or without turn – 0.10
      • More than two straddle jumps, with or without turn – 0.10
    • More than one leap/jump/hop to prone position – 0.10 ea.
  • Lack of balance between acro and dance Value Part elements – Up to 0.20
  • Insufficient distribution of the Value Parts – Up to 0.10
  • Insufficient use of the Floor Exercise area
    • Spatially (floor pattern) – Up to 0.10
    • Directionally (movement/choreography fwd., bwd., swd.) – Up to 0.10

Execution Deductions:

  • Lack of precision in Dance Value Parts – Each up to 0.10
  • Poor relationship of music and movement throughout – Up to 0.20
  • Relaxed/incorrect footwork on non-value parts throughout the exercise – Up to 0.20
  • Relaxed/incorrect leg position/body posture & insufficient flexibility in non-value parts throughout the exercise – Up to 0.30
  • Missing synchronization of movement with musical beat throughout the exercise – Up to 0.30
    • Each time – 0.05
    • At the end of the exercise – 0.10
  • Absence of music or music with words/song – 1.00 (CJ deductions from average score)
    • Whistles, animal or human sounds are allowed

For more detailed descriptions of floor deductions and/or additional floor deductions, refer to the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Code of Points.

*Some of the information in this article came from a lecture presented at a Florida State Clinic by Chelle Stack-Marcella.

Sources: USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Code of Points 2013-2017, Chelle Stack-Marcella


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