Friday, August 12, 2011

Noteworthy Music Choices for the Top Figure Skaters in 2011-12

If, in springtime, a young person’s fancies turn to love (as the saying goes)… I think it’s safe to say that come late summer, a skating fan’s fancies turn to wondering what music their favorite athletes will be competing with come 2011-2012.

Thanks to the Internet, the ability to find this out in advance is easier than ever… IF the skater in question is willing to reveal their choice, that is. (One thought back to last summer’s alleged misstep in the aftermath of the Kim/Orser dissolution reminds us that some prefer to keep their choices to themselves as long as possible.)

You could scan the pages of posts covering this subject at
FS Universe…

Or the similar scenario over at
Golden Skate…

But if you’ve only got a minute or two to absorb the highlights here and there, read on… I can get you started!

What I did was round up the top 5 Worlds finishers from each discipline, and see what I could find out about their respective short/long picks. Admittedly I found less than 50% in the way of “official” announcements; of 40 possible programs, I only tracked down 18. And there could be plenty of unofficial announcements via the message boards that I haven’t included, so feel free to leave a comment about any notable omissions…

For these are HIGHLIGHTS that I’ve chosen to mention for various reasons listed below!

For the MEN—Takahiko Kozuka’s SP to Joe Henderson’s tenor sax-fueled "Inner Urge"…

… because anything would be an improvement over last season’s Soul Medley misstep. I know it served him just fine in that his stock just keeps rising… but (I’ll say it one more time, then shut up) it sounded like it came off a compilation CD of Funky Music for You to Skate to that couldn’t be bothered to pay for the rights to the originals. Anyway, "Inner Urge" is a jazz piece first released in 1964—and, at least to me, an exciting and original choice for a short program Considering that a previous Taka SP choice was Jimi Hendrix… I’m eager to see what gets cooked up here.

For the LADIES-- Alissa Czisny’s FS to Sibelius’ Valse Triste

… because, to me, it’s a fine follow-up to last season’s George Winston masterpiece. When I heard she would in fact continue to compete in 2011-12, I was a little nervous wondering what she’d use that could suit her any better—the Winston pieces used created such a lovely feeling of calm that she must have needed in the wake of her 2009-10 season. But she stays wisely grounded in relatively gentle classics that haven’t (yet) come close to warhorse territory for figure skating. (Valse Triste translates to “Sad Waltz,” and if you’d like to hear some or all of it, you can do so
here. )

For PAIRS—Volosohzar/Trankov’s FS to Black Swan

… because—and I know you didn’t hear it here first, but I’m just sayin’—Black Swan is going to be a popular choice this year, and Volo/Trank’s interpretation might turn out to be one of my favorites. Ashley Wagner chose it early on; meanwhile, Alena Leonova went on record early on to say she would NOT use it. By the way, it’s worth noting that using Black Swan is quite different from using Swan Lake, as the Black Swan soundtrack credits Tchaikovsky, composer Clint Mansell (the guy responsible for the now-infamous-in-skating score to Requiem for a Dream), and electronica duo The Chemical Brothers.

For DANCE—Davis/White’s SD (which includes recent Jennifer Lopez hit “On the Floor”)…

… just because I like that song, OK?? ;-)
I know they don’t get to choose the SD style year in-year out, but it seems like it’s been a while since D/W got to cut loose a little in competition, say, the way Virtue/Moir did with their free dance last year (which, incidentally, has now been shortened to become their SD music for 2011-12). So I look forward to seeing what the reigning world champs deliver… besides, I don’t think we’ve heard any J-Lo in competition since Belbin/Agosto brought out “Let’s Get Loud” in 2005-6 (as this Olympic
Clip of the Day will remind you).

And as an honorable (or dishonorable?) mention, I should also give you…

A) the RERUN ALERT of Top 5-ers programs used last season that will get an extension into this one… including Patrick Chan’s "Take Five" SP, Michal Brezina’s Japanese Kodo Drums SP, and the aforementioned SD of Virtue/Moir…

B) and the WARHORSE ALERT, which is (whew) pretty sparse right now, at least as for as Top 5-ers go… only one to note is that Russia’s Bazarova/Larionov are doing their FS to Tosca. But don’t worry; it’s early yet!

Got a particular group of skaters on which you’d like some specific program info? American ladies? European men? Ice dancers with the 5 lowest GP scores last year? I’m game… just leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kelli.
Here is Taka's SP on THE ICE in July 24.
If you will watch it, you might be impressed and will want to see in competition because show rink is too small for him.
I think this is 2nd time he did on the show, and many Japanese skate fans loves this, include me of course.
According to tweets of audiences of this show THE ICE, David Wilson had been looking for a skater who can skate this program, then he found Takahiko.

Kelli Lawrence said...

Oh wow... it's even more exciting than I thought it would be! So glad David Wilson gave it to him... he's definitely at a stage in his career where he can handle it, and skate it with the confidence it deserves.

Thanks so much for posting!

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