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  1. #1
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    Skating Sondheim

    We've had a lot of threads recently that have been about certain programs/shows/movies/composers/etc., and I've been thinking about Sondheim programs. I've only ever seen "Send in the Clowns" done. But there's so much Sondheim that would be interesting! Anything I'm missing?

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    Off the top of my head, Kristi Yamaguchi skated to Barbra Streisand's interpretation of 'Being Alive' from Company at the World Professional Championships in December, 1993.

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    nm; essence_of_soy beat me to it.

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    A few American Men ( don't remember exactly who at this late hour) skated to "Sweeney Todd".
    But I agree completely; Sondheim is very underused. There is so much there. It is my dream somebody would use the Opening/ Closing Waltz from the "Little Night Music". Gorgeous.
    improving my ballad- like lines

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    Did Sondheim collaborate with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story? By that I mean, didn't he write the lyrics for the songs in it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by paskatefan View Post
    Did Sondheim collaborate with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story? By that I mean, didn't he write the lyrics for the songs in it?
    Yes, he did. I think the original plan was for Sondheim and Bernstein to write the lyrics together, but Sondheim ended up doing them alone.

    I love Sondheim musicals, but the lyrics are a big part of that, and since in competition I prefer skating to the rhythm and mood of a piece of music, rather than skating to lyrics (even when lyrics are allowed), I don't too often find myself thinking "someone should skate to that" where Sondheim's music is concerned. "Sooner or Later" is a playful/sexy number Sondheim wrote for the movie Dick Tracy. It might work for a dance team's exhibition.

    I think "Broadway Baby" (Company) and "Not a Day Goes By (Merrily We Roll Along) have been done.

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    The only skaters I can think of offhand to use "Sweeney Todd" are Stacey Kemp & David King! (Really, one might expect one or two more at least for the season after the movie came out)
    Barbara Underhill & Paul Martini skated to "Not a Day Goes By" at their final World Professionals in 1996, though they used a cover of the second act version that lacks the song's power-the famous song is the first act version where it's a song about a breakup.
    Rachael Flatt skated to "Broadway Baby" when she was three years old.
    Sondheim has actually been criticized for not writing hummable music; he even referred to that in Merrily We Roll Along, where a producer criticizes the main characters for the same thing. Ironically Merrily is one of his most hummable musicals, but it's also one of his more obscure ones. A lot of the commonly chosen pieces of music are chosen because to some extent they can carry themselves; Sondheim doesn't write that kind of music.

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    Sooner or Later would be amazing for an EX. I also think the overture to Follies would make decent skating music. As would Gypsy's (although Sondheim only did the lyrics for Gypsy, but still!).

    A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum also has some cuts that'd be interesting for a junior program (maybe pairs or dance).

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    Katia skated to "No One is Alone" from Into the Woods.

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    Also, I've said it before: Stavisky! It's a really nice score.

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    How I love Assassins. Doubt anyone could skate to that though. Why have few dance couples skated to some of his music. It's so much more intelligent musically than the dribble Andrew Lloyd did. I suppose I've just answered my own question. Intelligence in music choice is not something skaters/coaches are know for (he says after losing count of how many Carmen's he has seen).
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


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    I think it's intelligent of skaters/coaches not to plan competitive programs to Sondheim music. I cannot imagine skaters/audiences/judges trying to make sense of talky, complicated selections from Assassins, Sunday in the Park, etc. outside of the context of the shows they appear in. To me, remove most Sondheim songs from the story and they don't work as well, with notable exceptions like Broadway Baby, Send in the Clowns and, maybe, Not While I'm Around.
    Last edited by nylynnr; 03-25-2013 at 12:56 PM. Reason: typo

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    Sondheim's music is often complex, unhummable, dissonant, and emotionally ambiguous. It's not impossible to adapt some of it into a skating program, but it requires a level of intellectual sophistication and maturity to pull it off. It's too much work for coaches, choreographers, not to mention skaters who are too young to appreciate the very middle-aged content and theme of Sondheim's work. Skating programs are too short for layered, complex expressions and the target audience (most judges and viewers) is too artistically inexperienced to receive a Sondheim program well.

    Sweeney Todd has been used by quite a few skaters thanks to the movie. US skater Shawn Rogers had a free skate about 5 years ago.

    "Follies" contains pastiche of vaudeville music that can probably be used out of context.

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    I hope that, once lyrics are allowed, this opens the door for some interesting Musical Theater programs- Sondheim especially. I'd love to see a pair skate to Not Getting Married Today from Company. I do agree with the posts above that doing a Sondheim program could prove to be very difficult, but with the right skaters and choreographer, I think there is some total void potential there
    "You may know what you need, but to get what you want better see that you keep what you have." ~ Stephen Sondheim

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    Actually, I really DO NOT want to see standard competition programs that attempt to express the lyrics of the songs being skated to in any detail.

    For exhibition/show programs, or in the context of an artistic competition, then it would make sense for the lyrics to take center stage.

    In competition, I want to be able to ignore them. Knowing the general theme might be useful, but nothing beyond that.

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