How figure skaters choose their music, explained with Adam Rippon

How figure skaters choose their music, explained with Adam Rippon

The 1932 Olympics was the first time
figure skating was set to music. It was live music. The skaters didn’t get to
choose the songs, the orchestra just played the same one over and over. Fast
forward to today, music is very much the heart of figure skating and custom-made
for each performance. Oh, but It wouldn’t be a
figure skating competition if there was no Swan Lake, if there was no Don Quixote,
if there was no Carmen. This is Adam Rippon. He’s the 2016 national champion and
2018 Olympian. he has ever competed in,
he says there was at least one skate set to Carmen. I mean we love our Carmen what
can I say? And he’s right. There was the infamous battle of the Carmens in the
1988 Olympics. German skater Katarina Witt and an
American skater Debi Thomas both performed their long program to Carmen. It’s time to compare Carmens. I’ve skated to Carmen so I mean like I’m guilty of
my own charge. So, what makes Carmen Carmen is an
opera written by a french composer Georges Bizet about a gypsy girl named
Carmen. So it’s not just one song called Carmen, it’s actually dozens of songs and
the most recognizable is probably… But you probably have heard of this one… this one… and this one. You get the point. This is… Carmen is often sassy and flirty and as
you can see, lots of skaters take advantage of that. But her story ends
tragically when she’s stabbed to death by her rejected lover. With Carmen, Hugo and other music designers
can explore a full range of emotions. This structure allows skaters to start strong
with jumps, grabbing people’s attention. In the slower section, skaters can
show more of a vulnerable side and also save energy for the big finale For my short program I wanted to do
something that was a really upbeat that would get the crowd like on their feet,
everybody clapping. And then in the free skate I wanted to
show like a softer side, I wanted to show off my lyrical skating style. That’s why operas are so popular
in figure skating. It’s divided into acts with a clear story line. We’re
gluttons for punishment, because you know we’ll roll our eyes at
somebody skating to Carmen and then on the complete flipside of that, every year
we’ll go to our choreographer and we’ll be like what do you think of this? It’s Carmen. But this long era of Carmen might be coming to an end. In 2014 the International Skating Union changed the music rules to allow skaters
to skate to music with lyrics. It was an attempt to appeal to a younger audience,
so skaters like Jimmy Ma have traded in Bizet for… Lil’ John. When we were given
the option to skate to music with lyrics, it opened it up to any piece of music
you could ever want to skate to. Now with more freedom and access to all kinds of
music, they’re looking for their new Carmen. Will it be Lil’ Jon? You never
know. I found throughout my whole entire
career that if you see somebody doing something that they really love to do, that really translates so much, that even if you’re not a big fan of the music you
just enjoy that person enjoying what they’re doing. And maybe this rule change
will spur a new era in skating, like 1932 Olympics when the sport was still new. And the official report quotes,

100 thoughts on “How figure skaters choose their music, explained with Adam Rippon

  1. I skated to Carmen as one of the last programs of my figure skating career. No regrets. Such a beautiful song that allows you to interpret a character and move with flow on the ice. Was definitely my favorite program.

  2. Debi "Sour Grapes" Thomas …"I didn't want to win anyway … I need to focus on my medical training … so, so glad I lost!"

  3. Well.. as someone who genuinely loves opera music, the explanation of why Carmen specifically is chosen isn't too convincing for me. Carmen is one of the "ABC's of opera," meaning it's one of the most popularly performed and recognizable operas (the other two being Aida and La boheme, which–fun fact–the Broadway musical RENT is based off). Yes, Carmen is a strong, fun, and coquettish character, but Carmen is also a good opera to choose when introducing newcomers to opera music. Considering the fact that most ice skaters who are competing on the world stage are in their mid-teens to early 20s, and considering the fact that music with lyrics is only newly allowed to be used, it's not a surprise to me that these young athletes were/are choosing such recognizable classical music, especially since that age group is typically when one starts diving into these kinds of genres in greater depth. (That, and I'm sure the fact that Carmen is a character who unapologetically goes after what she wants surely must connect to the competing skaters.) Additionally, although Carmen ends tragically (as do Aida and La boheme), Carmen is definitely the ABC of opera with the most upbeat music, and since you wanna keep the crowd invested in your skate, again, it makes sense to choose the fun and flirtatious pieces from Carmen, which I think are much more.. distinguishable from the rest of opera arias as a whole than in Aida and La boheme, which must make breaking down the story of the opera more clear and memorable for the skater in creating and learning about a character for new routines. Every modern (instrumental) song has an arc, just like many or most pieces of classical music have movements. And when it comes to Tchaikovsky… I once heard in an opera podcast that Tchaikovsky incorporated Western musical stylings into his works. And considering that Russian has d o m i n a t e d this sport for decades, and historically spent centuries, I believe, trying to "modernize" itself as a country by following Western European example (especially French example; Carmen is a French opera, btw, for those unfamiliar with it), again, it's no surprise to me that skaters often choose Swan Lake. Just my two sense ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  4. Ha ha I always just choose my music however I like and try to push the limits of music at my level (I tried to get my mom to let me skate to EDM once… it didn't work)

  5. the new carmen is exogenesis symphony by muse. everyone wants to skate to it but can't because too many iconic skaters have used it

  6. You can tell that many of these skaters don't do much research when it comes to music…There are so many other great pieces..

  7. Check out the drag queens in this video including a few RuGirls like Bianca Del Rio –

  8. I am turned off by the raucus music that some skaters have picked. It spoils there program for me because the music, if you can call it that, is soo bad that I just want to leave.. The reason that Carmen, along with some other music is so popular is because it is GOOD music to skate too and does not offend the ears.

  9. As much as I like classics music, I’m thrilled the horizons have been expanded. I feel like the average performance will be more intense for more viewers and it could help prop up aspects of artistry that are kind of under fire.

  10. The new Carmen is the greatest showman.
    Literally everyone is skating to this is me, a million dreams or rewrite the stars.

  11. Did anyone else find it a bit cringey that they felt the need to explain that Carmen wasn't just one song but a whole opera made of lots of songs?

  12. I would love to see figure skaters taking on ATB's songs. They are so emotional and I rarely see people figure skating to Vocal Trance music, very very very rare…

    And Vocal Trance is SUPPOSED to be the "modern classical music".

  13. I see a lot of comments saying the new Carmen is Moulin Rouge. But in my opinion the new Carmen is La La Land. If it’s not the La La Land theme, it’s a soundtrack from La La Land. I swear, 3 skaters in my rink have a La La Land based program.

    And I don’t have a problem with La La Land but I’m just saying, I hear La La Land more than Moulin Rouge in at least the rinks I go to skate.

  14. fire the narrator, she's HORRIBLE!!! i had to speed up the video every time she spoke because she spoke so annoying and slow

  15. someone really needs to dance to Lana Del Rey songs like…
    Swan song
    High By The Beach
    Body Electric

  16. For a music-specific show to not understand that the Carmen aria is the same speed the whole time🤦‍♀️


  18. Nathan Chen's like casually "quad here, wuad there, quad evrywhereeeeeeee" in the background 😂

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