Let’s start with the ladies! It took me some time to think back over the season considering all the Grand Prixs, Senior Bs, and national competitions that come before we get to the big international competitions of Europeans, Four Continents, the Olympics and Worlds. So much skating. But I really wanted to focus on the program: the creativity, cohesion and clarity of it. There are programs that you enjoy because they are executed so well in the moment, but I didn’t want to just focus on the execution (although, it does play a role) because there are those programs that even if it wasn’t skated cleanly the idea and choreography of it are still enough to capture the viewer. So, here are my top short and free programs for the ladies this past season. Read More »
I’ve been away for a little bit but I’ve decided it’s time for more lists. However, I have just realized how ambitious my title is. I may have to break this down by discipline. I’m finding this difficult to narrow down. Or maybe I’ll go by colour…
So final decision – dresses that I like, arranged by colour. (I have certainly noticed I have a fondness for red dresses… )
Lilah Fear FD – I really like this little team (literally I think they are pretty tiny) and I think this is a great dress for West Side Story. I love the velvet detail on the bodice and the drapey shoulders. I guess it’s nothing groundbreaking but I think she looks great. That’s enough for me.
Tessa Virtue FD – I gushed about her red dresses here. They are all fabulous but I think the final one takes the cake. Bam. Everything you need to know and it looks good too!
Marie-Jade Lauriault FD – I think this dress so suited the music and vibe of the program. I liked her second dress but I prefer this one. Maybe it was hard to skate in? Why did you change? I want to know.
Now that we have identified the Warhorses of the day, let’s move on to the other music is still heavily, and I might added over, used in figure skating. I have only tracked music choices over the past 6 years, so while there may be an argument for several of these as warhorses, I’ve just gone by those numbers. So really, for our purposes here, the major difference is that warhorses are used A LOT, and these pieces of music are used a lot. It’s a subtle distinction. Maybe I should just call them wannabe/borderline warhorses; music in “the danger zone.” So, to summarize, these pieces have all been used multiple times in skating, although slightly less than the warhorses, and have either become familiar because of their use or are familiar to begin with because of their culturally prevalence. I will absolutely acknowledge that a lot of this music is good music (My Fair Lady!). I’m sorry you can’t use it, but there is a limit for everything.
I have been keeping track of the music skaters use over the past several years. I try to include skaters that will be at international competitions, in front of international judging panels in my lists, including Grand Prix Assignments and big international competitions like Worlds. What always surprises me the most is the total lack of originality among so many skaters who one would suppose to have some artistic sensibility since figure skating is an artistic sport.
Perhaps some skaters don’t have a lot of musical knowledge and depend on others to guide them. Or perhaps skaters don’t pay attention to what other skaters use or really follow skating broadly and so are unaware of how well used their selection may be. Or it could be the reverse – a skater loved another skater’s music so much they want to emulate them. Maybe they are just athletes with no artistic soul. Whatever the case, I am here, in that time of year when new programs are being contemplated, to encourage skaters and coaches to educate themselves. Before you make that final decision, check how often that music has been used. If it has been used before, put it aside because there is a LOT of music out there, more than what the skating world would suggest. And – and this is the crucial bit – because skating is a small world, the music selections can get very repetitive and boring, I’m assuming for the judges (who can be in the sport for a long time and I’m sure have long memories) as well as the audience.
What I am going to do is deal with the heavily used, recognizable music that is used in skating in a two parts: what you often hear called “warhorses” (I), and then a category of “well used music – to be avoided” that includes moderately used but recognizable music to heavily used music (II).
I. Let’s talk about the warhorses.
Since I started my little personal Virtue/Moir celebration with a top ten of Tessa and Scott’s outfits, now I’m going to look at programs. Really, I have enjoyed pretty much all of their programs, particularly the short (or original) dances. Frequently these have been my personal favourites, even if their free dances have often been the most memorable; what people think of when they hear “Virtue/Moir.” But whether original, short or free, their programs celebrate pure dance. They fully express the music, whatever the style. They embrace it and seem to exude the love and joy of music in their movement. So, here we go! Taking into consideration the music, choreography, execution and performance of their senior ice dance programs, and trying to keep a equal representation of short and free, in chronological order, here are my top ten:
Dark Eyes OD 2007-2008
This short dance where Scott gets to be his expressive best. I love his hand gestures in the final lift of the program. The program is fiery and intricate, really capturing the audience, and it builds to a really satisfying conclusion. I also like that their is a real feeling of underlying tension, simmering beneath the surface. This was just at their second World Championships! It’s quite ambitious – I think the curve lift is very cool – but there is also something about it that is very youthful and vivacious. You can feel they are young and hungry and daring. I just feel like it was a program perfectly suited to that point of their career.