So it seems the biggest news of the ISU Congress is after this next Olympics everyone, not just the ice dancers, will get to skate to music with vocals/lyrics if they want to. Fans everywhere are lamenting to death of true artistic skating, saying noone will learn to interpret music anymore, which I’m skeptical of in the first place, since most of the skaters that won’t will be those who were never very good at it in the first place. But with people wondering if the higher-ranked skaters will risk more popular music when the judges might not like it, I decided to take a look at what music in ice dance has won a world or Olympic title since vocals/lyrics was first allowed, and let’s review:
2000 Worlds: Carmina Burana. Latin vocals, which doesn’t seem to count; at least one singles skater has gotten away with them.
2001 Worlds: 1996 Romeo + Juliet score by Craig Armstrong. Romeo & Juliet’s always easy. O Verona really doesn’t count(more than one singles skater has used it), & spoken dialogue.
2002 Olympics: Liberte. Spoken dialogue.
2002 Worlds: A Time for Peace. Instrumental intro & conclusion, vocal middle piece.
2003 Worlds: Mostly Adagio of the 21st Century, which is mostly instrumental and what words there are aren’t really discernible. Short section of Sarah Brightman’s “Anytime, Anywhere,” with French lyrics.
2004 Worlds: Pink Panther, Austin Powers, & some other music, all instrumental.
2005 Worlds: Tosca. Instrumental.
2006 Olympics: Carmen Suite. Instrumental.
2006 Worlds: Adagio. Instrumental with voice briefly used purely as instrument.
2007 Worlds. Seven Deadly Sins. Single Latin words. Copious use of O Verona & Mozart’s Lachrymosa-possibly not something a singles skater could get away with(though they have with O Fortuna…), but about as respectable as you can get otherwise.
2008: The Piano. Instrumental.
2009: Spartacus ballet. Instrumental.
2010 Olympics/Worlds: Mahler’s Adagietto. Instrumental.
2011 Worlds: Tango medley. Instrumental.
2012 Worlds: Funny Face. Mostly vocal with instrumental middle section.
Suddenly Virtue & Moir’s free dance from last season looks a lot more groundbreaking: one of only 5 free dances to win Worlds and/or Olympics with words, 3 to do so with lyrics, the only one at all to do so without grounding itself in “high culture” trappings(even if in A Time for Peace, it’s just a harpsichord), and by far the one that uses it most extensively.
The ODs used lyrics a lot more, but there is often depended on the year’s rhythm; Latin years saw more lyrics. So far the SD seems to be following a similar pattern.
Don’t think the singles/pairs skaters & especially their coaches won’t notice this. There will be use of lyrics even at the top, of course, but it’ll be something done in moderation, vocal sections combined with instrumental sections perhaps.
The biggest difference will be at the lower ranks, where instead of hearing Malaguena 100 times, we may indeed hear the pop songs du jour, but at least those’ll change each year. I don’t think I can really complain about that!