Monday, May 12, 2008

The Most Overdone Figure Skating Music.

Choosing the right music is always a challenge for skaters and their coaches and choreographers. What suits one skater or pair or dance team may not suit another. It's a constant challenge figure skaters have -- picking music that fits their style, however also selecting something that the judges will like as well. Another challenge that exists in choosing a piece of music is that it fits the time constraints of a program and that technical elements can be performed to it. Figure skating music needs to incorporate quick beats, slow parts and some breathing time. The new judging system, with its intricate scoring, makes it even more difficult to fit skating to the music.

How often do you hear the first beats of music to a skating program and groan? Not "Carmen" again or, no more "Swan Lake. There should be a rule, that once a skater earns a title with a piece of music, that it shouldn't be played again for at least a couple of seasons. With that rule in place, we would not be subjected to hearing "Swan Lake" or "Carmen" or “Romeo and Juliet ever again; or at least for a while. New music can be exiting, but skaters, might find it to be a bit of a risk. It is understood if a skater doesn't want to take that risk, however skaters Should then go all out in their exhibitions and do something exciting.

There should be some middle ground between choosing an overdone piece of music and something totally unheard. I don't think skaters have to necessarily summarily dismiss music that has been used in the past, I just think they should think carefully before taking up something that's done over and over by multiple skaters unless they have a totally fresh idea for it.
Here is a list of music that should not be played anytime soon in a skating rink near you.
• "Carmen"
This is a classic skating piece because it naturally gets the crowd involved.
• "Bolero"
Kwan did a great number with that one. She is talented, it is expected.
• "Swan Lake"
It's been so overdone that Rudy Galindo performed both his short and long programs to this piece in 1996 Others have used it as well including: Baiul in 1994, Nancy Kerrigan, Shizuka Arakawa 2004, and Sasha Cohen even tried her hand with this one.
• "Romeo and Juliet"
Who hasn't tried this music? In the 2006 Olympics a commentator said that the difference between Sasha and other skaters is that they skate to Romeo and Juliet and Sasha becomes Juliet.
• "West Side Story"
Great music, however, absolutely everything, from "Maria" to "America," has been played one too many times.
• "Malaguena"
This is a great Spanish guitar piece, but should not be used unless the skater can truly keep up with the tempo and offer absolutely great footwork.
• "Nessun Dorma"
Again, beautiful music, from Puccini's "Turandot," but nonetheless, overdone by everyone from Sarah Hughes to Brian Boitano. It did not bode well with Meissner this season (2007/2008) This piece should be put to rest.
Some others:
The Feeling Begins
On the Waterfront
Swan Lake
Rachmaninov 2
Paint It Black
Moonlight Sonata
Zorba the Greek
Concerta for Coloratura.

And, there are pieces of music which have been overused at one time but are no longer overused--or used at all. The bell suite and love theme from Ice Castles was too popular in 1979-80, but might be a nostalgic piece now. There is also the option to use a lesser used bit of the score, as Kwan did with Carmen. The Rondo from the Moonlight Sonata isn't overused however. Look beyond the easily overused classics and the currently popular theme.

The Moonlight Sonata , Swanlake, and, any Tchaikovsky piece should take a back seat. Choose something different. The point is, people need to get original with their music. Debby Thomas of USA and Katarina Witt of Germany both skated to Carmen. They were known as the “Battle of the Carmen from the 1988 Winter Games. Carmen, swan lake, anything Beethoven, and Pirates of the Carribean are totally overused! The objective should be, to always look for more fun music. I think the judges would appreciate newly, exciting music.

There's some risk in choosing a classical piece of music. It will still have that edge of familiarity that will make the judges comfortable. But in choosing a classical piece that hasn't been used by numerous skaters before, you leave yourself more open to originality. There are pieces that aren't used as frequently in the skating world that would in no way be new to most of the judges.


paul said...

Great post. It is very difficult to choose original music every time. I think coaches want a "safe" choice. Carmen should not feel like a safe choice -- skaters, coaches, audiences and especially judges are rolling their eyes and gritting their teeth with boredom when they hear the first strains. I would like to add that ANY Piazolla tango now feels tired, and that free skaters should never have used them anyway.

Sardonyx Jade said...

Your post helped me select my program music. I am skating to Bram Stoker's Dracula Score. I chose the music to step outside of the romantic traditional safe realm. I hope the judges and the audience respond well to my performance.

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