Dorothy Hamill is an example of a fuller-figured skater who had balletic grace.
I do think it's possible for Irina to do "her own" version of Swan Lake. Something like Dai's Cyberswan, for instance. But it'll be extremely difficult for her to do a traditional version of Swan Lake. I can't say for sure how good her best attempt would be, but I'll venture a guess that someone like Yuna can do a better Swan Lake with half the effort. So, I think it's fair to say that perhaps Swan Lake is not worth the effort for Irina, and it is a program more suited for Kwan/Kim/Caro/ect. I don't think it's wrong to recognize that. I dunno why y'all (in honour of Irina's 2002 EX) are jumping on Alba for.
Of course, there will be a few people who will prefer Irina's Swan Lake over Yuna's. So, to that degree, I can say it's "subjective." But for most of the population--whether it's innate or learned as some of you suggest--Irina's Swan Lake will not be as pleasing to the eye, and it's not because she didn't try hard enough.
Maybe Irina's a bad example, since she did try very hard and improved (as Alba recognized). What about Harding attempting one of Baiul's programs? Stojko attempting Urmanov's? (Btw, as a side note, I don't think Urmanov attempting Stojko's programs will work either--so it goes both ways.)
I dunno what Alba meant in her original post, but I suspect she was talking about a traditional Swan Lake. But we'll have to wait for her to get back to us on the topic.
LOL, I wouldn't mind Harding-on-campy-Baiul-esque-exhibition, but that's the thing: it must be played ironically. She (Harding) can't expect to do a serious, heartfelt version of Baiul's programs without it looking laughable (or people mistaking it for a campy exhibition even if she didn't intend it that way). Therefore, I have to conclude that body type does matter in terms of what programs you can do well.
Of course, movement and performance skills are even more important--Irina can do a better Swan Lake than a random person on the street who has the right body lines but absolutely no ballet training. But the random person isn't her competitor--that's someone like Kwan, who does have an edge in these areas.
Oh, I do agree it's not just body type. I think Irina and Harding (especially the latter) also, for instance, lacked Kwan's attention to detail, which would hinder their potential Swan Lakes every bit as much as their body type. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's completely impossible for someone with Irina's body type to do Swan Lake (tastes change, people have varying talents, ect. ect.) but it will be much harder. And, all else being equal (musicality, dancing ability, ect.), someone with Michelle's body type will do better than someone with Irina's. I'm not quite sure if I like the idea either, but it's probably true.