Karen Chen Didn't Just Nail Her Short Program — She Choreographed It Too

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In an online interview with Entertainment Tonight, American figure skater (and avid dance fan) Karen Chen said that she choreographs her own Olympic routines. Chen loves dancing so much that she conceptualizes, plans, and executes her very own ideas for figure skating. The 18-year-old figure skater is currently competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, alongside other American figure skaters like Bradie Tennell and Mirai Nagasu at the women's figure skating event.

In the February interview, Chen told ET that her love for dance knows no bounds and it's something she feels a deep affinity for. "It's something that I truly love. The music choices are something that I feel very attached to, especially the short. It's very sentimental and I have a lot of emotions attached to it," Chen said.

The young skater also said that she was pretty optimistic about impressing her viewers with her moves. "I think putting that out there, skating at the Olympics with that kind of mindset and embracing my own choreography, knowing how much effort I have put into this, is really going to come through," she said. In a rendezvous with People magazine, Chen said she picks powerful music to dance to and impress her viewers with. In her own words,

To me, it’s both the music and the choreography that bring out that intensity that I really want to showcase The music is very strong and intense, and hopefully my skating will showcase that.

So, how does Chen get herself prepared for some intense choreography? The figure skater, who told ET she is "not a morning person," trains by going to Pilates or dance classes and already designed her own dance moves when she was given the title of United States Champion in the 2016-2017 season. The jitterbug is in her family, too, as Chen's brother, Jeffrey Chen is an ice dancer. She's no stranger to gettin' down. Just take a look at her photos.

The figure skater is right; designing your own dance moves is "intense" indeed. Choreography is no joke. For figure skaters, it's a proper commitment that requires a good sense of one's own physical strength, an impressive taste in music, and a firm grasp on one's own body movement. Figure skaters have to select a track that is between one and a half minute to two minutes long. The track has to have certain audio elements like a noticeable crescendo or climax for reasons the average viewer may not realize. The skater will need a musical climax for physical purpose; this particular shift in the volume and mood of the music is something the skater can twirl or jump to.

It's not just music. In choreographing one's own routine, a figure skater will have to determine just how and where in the rink she will pivot from. Is it going to be a slow and calculated move or an intense and dramatic stride? Having a sense of space is importance as well. Figure skaters need to impress their judges by making use of the expansive surface area of the ice rink. Twirling in one spot may not really take the judges' breath away.

So, it makes sense that Chen has trained diligently to choreograph her own routine. Plus, the American figure skater is doing it for one special reason: Gold. Speaking of her aspirations, Chen told ET, "All my life, I've never wanted to think too far ahead, [but] once the thought of making the Olympic team had surfaced, I made that [dream a reality]. And now I can really start thinking about placing, and possibly [getting] gold." That's the spirit.