In the Le Cafe folder, we've been trying to think up thread topics to fill in the time between now and Euros and Worlds. This is one of them.
My choices for ballets that would make good competitive skating programs and why--talking mainly singles and pairs, though some would suit ice dance as well are the following:
"La Bayadere": Robin Wagner used this for Sarah's LP last season and because there was so much focus on what Sarah was going to do--stay eligible, go to school, etc.--the choreography kind of got lost in the shuffle, I thought. But aside from "cover the boobs" arm position, I thought the music worked very well for skating and that Wagner created a very successful LP.
"In the Upper Room": This is a modern ballet by Twyla Tharp to a score by Phillip Glass. Glass composed the music accodring to Tharp's specifications and as such I don't think the actual score would be available for use by a figure skater because of copyright laws. However, Glass has composed a number of film scores--"The Thin Blue Line," "The Hours," and the current "The Fog of War"--which skaters could use. I think one could use "In the Upper Room" as inspiration (It literally blew me back into me seat) and as a way of combining speed and fluidity. There's no story, just an exploration of the concept of death, rebirth, and transcendance. I think for a skater such as Plushenko, Sasha Cohen, Klimkin, Yoshie Onda, Miki Ondo or Joubert, or pair teams such as Shen and Zhao, it would be a real standout in a sea of traditional classical music, sort of the way Joubert's SP to Pink Floyd and Plush's "St. Petersburg 300" worked.
"Suite Saint Saens": Seeing the Joffrey Ballet do this work by Gerald Arpino in the Altman film "The Company" reminded me of how thrilling it was to see this piece back in the late '70s. It is almost the definition of bravura dancing. Dance critic Deborah Jowitt describeed the effect "Like dancers shot out of cannons." Saint Sains has written some stunning violin concertos that have not been explored. Again, "Suite Saint Saens" would serve mainly as inspiration. Like "In the Upper Room" it is an abstract storyless ballet, but it's not without theme.
"Coppelia": Like "Swan Lake" this ballet has a lot of beautiful music where the skater would not have to be the doll Coppelia, but it could inspire a lot of insteresting movement.
"The Red Shoes Ballet": In the movie "The Red Shoes" a ballet is created about a woman who puts ona pair of red dancing shoes. She cannot stop dancing and eventually dances herself to death. Again I think a skater could use the major themes of the ballet without trying to be the character. The music is also gorgeous.
The "Uncle Tom's Cabin" ballet from "The King and I": Without doing all the specifics, I've always wanted to see a skater use this music and this piece and inspiration. It even has a section with ice
The ballet dream sequence from "Oklahoma!" [EDIT: Just realized Berthes Ghost had this in another post. Sorry Berthe, didn't mean to steal]: Could be great as a pairs program, but a singles lady could do a version of Laurie as well. I think there's a lot that could be done with the music without getting too much into the characters.
The ballet sequence from "Carousel": Pretty much for the same reasons as above.
"Le Sylphide," "Serenade": These ballets are similar in that they are the epitome of the white tulle, lyrical sylph ballet. On the right skater--say Yukina Ota--a program using the music from either one could be gorgeous.
"Jewels": This is one of George Balanchine's most popular ballets and consists of couples dancing as rubies, emeralds,, and diamonds. If a skater or pair team chose one "jewel" I think it would make a beautiful program.
"The Nutcracker": Ilia Kulik did a program to "Waltz of the Flowers," which most people would never think of for a male skater. I just interpreted the music--no flowers in his hair, lol--and I thought it was stunning. There is a lot of music in "The Nutrcracker" which might not be the greatest music for music sake, but for dance or skating, I think I could be very effective. The "Arabian" dance from Act III could make a great SP, and "Snow" from Act II could work for pairs or singles, male or female. Pairs have used the pas de deux from Act III, but I think there is a lot in "The Nutcracker" that would be interesting.
Here's a question: Why do you think skaters keep skating to the same music from the same ballets over and over--"Carmen" and "Swan Lake," "Carmen" and "Swan Lake." I know a lot people want to use something that's been successful, but the warhorses usually end up just being compared to the previous 50 tims other skaters have used them. Remember how stunning Angela was when she first used "Giselle"? I'd like to see more of that.