Being Dynamic Through Your Range!

Welcome back to week 4 of our Choose to Grow Blog!  This week we will focus on some of the terminology you might hear regarding Dynamic Range, Variety, Depth, and what constitutes these terms.  Hopefully you will be able to walk away with something tangible to take back to your team to start thinking “differently” about your show and where you can add or train more for these terms to grow within your group.

When thinking about a judge’s job their first role is to rank the groups (1st, 2nd 3rd, etc.) and then assign a score within the boxes on the score sheet.  When doing this the judge has to compare the groups that are within the show’s dynamic.  One way is by comparing the dynamic range that each group offers. So, what exactly is a Dynamic Range?

When you look up Dynamic Range one way of thinking about it is the ratio between the Brightest and Darkest parts of an image, from pure black to the brightest of white.  The range between these two colors of an image allows for many hues in between and are a new look to what you provide artistically.  This is the same for what we want to put on the floor through design, effects, and movement/equipment.  An experience that isn’t the same and continuously evolves and changes through the show.

Dynamics and Dynamic Range is all movement and equipment efforts of space, time, weight, and flow of energy.  Dynamics are created within each phrase written and are comprised of these gradations.  The amount of variation that you use comprises your entire dynamic range.  Through the excellence and vocabulary of the movement/equipment it will then increase the upstairs scores through the enhanced musicality which is written.

Many of these words will be brought up on your tapes and it is important to understand the differences and how they work together.

  • Range- is the variations in vocabulary within each category- from basic to more complex.
  • Variety- considers the exploration of many, most, and all of the above categories and others not listed (i.e. inversions, skills of agility/strength and so on.)
  • Depth- considers all the external factors, beyond cumulative individual skills, that impact the total of the range and variety, such as how skills are connected and with what frequency, proximity, risk, difficulty, endurance, dynamic range, and so on.

So how can your students show a dynamic range of efforts?

–        Have performers showcase gradations of space, time, weight, and flow at both a body and an equipment level.

Anything you can do with equipment is considered range and a variety of skills if you do it just a little differently each time.  It’s sometimes helpful to think of your show as a “check list.” If you’ve already checked it off, how can you do it differently or offer something new.  If you have a soloist toss a triple in the corner of the floor you will get credit for that but if another soloist does the same triple in the other corner, you haven’t earned more credit because you have already showcased this skill.  By changing up the triple to having a member catch it straight up and down or layering a different lower body you have now increased the skills by adding a range and variety to what you are providing the judges to compare you to other teams.  Here is a list of items you can think about (there are tons more) which can constitute a range and variety of skills to improve your overall dynamic range.

  • Everything from a simple equipment skill done in a vertical position, to variations of that skill.
  • The way skills are combined can lend greater depth to the choreographic moment.
  • Spatial pathways on turning, moving, and changing bodies
  • Equipment manipulated on the body without the use of hands
  • Exploration of toss qualities of plane and speed
  • Exploration of release and catch points
  • Hand to hand work and ambidexterity
  • Equipment efforts that require agility
  • Alterations in balance
  • A wide range of variations, blends, and effort gradations.
  • Each change to a given move expands the vocabulary consideration.
  • Multi-dimensional carving

What constitutes the depth and range of impact between body and equipment?

  • When body and equipment combine, balance, centering and manipulation of the equipment take on a whole new responsibility as the “partnering” of body & equipment evolve.
  • The range and depth begin simply as spinning while traveling and/or while reshaping the body in postural or gestural moments. The depth and range evolve when the equipment is manipulated on a body that shapes, turns, and travels simultaneously.
  • At times the body and equipment will function in an equal and inseparable display of motion (you may hear a judge use the word synergy or synergistic).

What is dynamic range of efforts?

These efforts exist in every move. It is the GRADATIONS within these efforts, and the combinations of these efforts that increase dynamic qualities and range.

Efforts include:

  • SPACE: Changes in the quality of spatial focus or attention either direct or indirect. There are six spatial tendencies: up, down, high, middle, low, in place.
  • TIME: Changes in the quality of time in movement rely on ranging from sustained or slow through fast or quick. The quality of prolonging time is termed sustained. The quality of urgency or quickening in time is termed speed.
  • WEIGHT: Changes in the quality of the body weight ranging from light or soft through heavy or strong.
  • FLOW: Use of breath impacts the flow of energy significantly and impacts changes in the quality of the flow of tension. Movement ranges from free and open to bound (controlled by the degree of, or release of, tension in the arms and upper body.) The “going with the flow” of movement we call free; the restriction of the movement flow we call bound.
  • RHYTHM (the combination of weight and time) is an important expressive quality because it is the pulse or beat of motion and is paramount in creating dynamics. Motion may occur as a direct response to a recurrent beat or rhythmic pattern in music. The chief purpose of motion is the translation of rhythms and dynamics into physical action.

The most important thing to remember is:  Instructors should always write to showcase the performers’ skills. A greater depth of vocabulary requires greater depth of training.

I hope this helped in understanding some of the terms you will hear many times on tape and in critique and give you a better way to advocate, write, and train your students to include more comparison points to your competitors when your students are ready to move on!  As always if you have any questions please reach out to and for more information feel free to visit WGI FAQ sheet for caption and scoring information as I referenced from here to give you current 2023 information on how the judges view these terms in regards to scoring:

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