Have you been watching the Sochi Olympics? I have to admit that the winter Olympics have always intrigued me more than the summer games — mostly because of figure skating, but even other sports. Somehow, it’s more thrilling to watch someone ski down a hill than run on a track.
But back to figure skating. Have you ever considered what a huge part of it is the music? Imagine a skater doing his or her jumps and spins — in silence. It just wouldn’t have the same feel or even look. I recently read a piece on how skaters choose their music. Some takeaways:
- Skaters with graceful, ballet-type styles usually choose a classical, flowing piece. More muscular, athletic type skaters might go with music that is contemporary or dramatic.
- Skaters may choose music with the performance venue in mind. US skater Gracie Gold chose music from “Sleeping Beauty” because “it’s Russian” and “traditional” — perfect for an Olympics set in Russia. Judges’ preferences must be considered as well. Gold’s coach rejected modern music for her short program, fearing that it would not be popular with the Sochi judges.
- The skater must relate to and “feel” the music, and as a musician I understand this. It’s obvious when watching skaters that some are more “on the beat” with the music than others. When a skater works with their music, it’s pretty magical.
My favorite recent figure skating moment? US men’s skater Jason Brown. Take a few minutes to watch his program, and see if it doesn’t brighten your day a little. Perfect blend of skill, choreography, and music.