I could have retired a long time ago if I received a nickel every time someone asked me what my favorite floor routine was. So when I wrote my first book, “Life is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance” I knew I had to address this topic. In it, I share the routines I believe pushed the artistic envelope and furthered the artistic quality of the sport.
Now that the book has been out a couple of months, several people have commented how they wished they could go online and see the routines that I highlight in the book. So, without regurgitating the details, below are the videos with just a brief description of what sets them apart. Also, I promise I wasn’t trying to imitate Don King with my early hairdos.
- Why: My all-time favorite beginning move of a floor routine. The music started and she wound up and executed a spot-on triple turn.
- Why: Kim’s 5’7″ and her long legs made it seem like she floated in the air forever. She does a simple roundoff layout step out, but it demonstrates the awesomeness of simplicity.
- Why: I love the decrescendo to just breathing at the end of the routine. One judge wasn’t so enamored and suggested we get rid of the “sex scene.”
Tanya Service (Chaplin)
- Why: Since she was so quick twitch she was able to move beautifully and effortlessly through intricate turning choreography.
- Why: Heidi would try anything–the crazier the better. Her routines were unique, fast twitch, and full of crazy dance.
- Why: Stella is inarguably one of the most artistic gymnasts ever. Her understanding of movement quality and musicality was unmatched.
- Why: Amy pulled off a satirical routine like an Academy Award–winning actress–something that’s easy to overdo and look contrived.
- Why: Her bold embrace of drama in telling to story of struggle and triumph.
- Why: Elyse is simply an amazing dancer. If that weren’t enough she would penetrate one’s soul with her piercing blue eyes.
- Why: Brittani was captivating. She excelled with powerful tumbling, dramatic dance, and the catwalk–literally walking around the floor for a full eight counts staring down the audience.
- Why: Ariana blended street genres of hip-hop and break-dancing; and she’s the only gymnast I know of who freestyled in breakdancing fashion the last 16 counts of her floor routine.
- Why: Hallie absolutely commanded the arena with a simple tilt of her head and the snap of her fingers.
- Why: Angi is probably the best actor/performer I’ve ever worked with. Angi understood how the subtlety of a facial expression could transcend choreography and bring a performance to life.
- Why: Her timing and ability to bring music to life through movement is remarkable and not easy to teach.
- Why: Felicia’s routines are playful and bit comedic, which is almost unheard of, and like Amy Thorne’s routines not easy to pull off.
- Why: Watching Katelyn perform is like watching the personification of joy. You can’t help but smile.
- Why: Danusia unapologetically uses her femininity (and flexibility) to seduce the audience while her charm and performance take out the competition in true Bond-girl fashion.
- Why: Sophina owned the cultural zeitgeist. She smiled, she whipped she nae nae’d, and she made you want to go dancing with her at the club.
BONUS: Christine “Peng-Peng” Lee
- While Peng was never able to perform on floor for UCLA because of previous injuries, on bars and beam, Peng was able to bring movement to life unlike any other gymnast on the planet.