Figure skating music, explained.
During the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Adam Rippon skated to Ida Corr’s “Let Me Think About It” for his short program. It was fun, powerful, and most of all, different. This is the first Olympic Games at which figure skaters have infinite creative freedom with their music, as they now can skate to music with lyrics.
Figure skating was not always woven in with music and artistry — it was very much a technical sport. The skaters had to literally carve figures into ice. As figure skating evolved, it leaned more toward performance. For decades, figure skaters skated to the classics like “Swan Lake” and “Carmen.” They chose these pieces not only because it’s great music but because of the clear storyline and the quality of the characters in them. With operas, in particular, it is easy to take the audience on an emotional journey.
Hugo Chouinard, a music designer who mainly works with figure skaters, says, “The most important is that the skaters like the music. Because if they don’t like the music, they don’t feel the music; there’s no emotion to convey to the public.”
And that is what Adam Rippon did for his musical choices for the Olympics. During the interview, he said:
I like to have two different moods for the programs, just so that I can show that I can skate to anything ... that I can interpret whatever piece of music. So for [a] short program, I want to do something that is really upbeat, that would get the crowd on their feet — everybody clapping. Short programs are only two minutes and 50 seconds, so you have not a lot of time to make a big impression.
And then in free skate, I wanted to show the softer side and I want to show off my lyrical skating style ... something with long, sweeping edges and something that really made it seem like I was flying around the rink. I’m 28 and I’m going to my first Olympics; I’m going to skate to something that I really want to do. I wanted to really represent who I was. And I’m a fun-loving guy, so I just wanted to bring that to the competition.
To learn more about how figure skaters choose their music, make sure to watch the video above.
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