jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Use your words


I’ve been really enjoying the inclusion of vocals in skating music these days. Once in a while it does get distracting, especially for someone like me who really listens to the lyrics. But in many cases it is so beautifully worked into the inspiration for the program that it adds an entirely new dimension to the performance.

Like this case, the free dance for Spanish ice dance team Sara Hurtado and Adrià Díaz, whose free dance this year includes excerpts from “Meditation,” a song in Cirque Du Soleil’s show Zumanity. Their program does a lovely job integrating difficult elements (love those extended-leg twizzles!) with some beautiful music.

The overall effect appears to be familiar: a romantic pas de deux celebrating the kind of conventional, heterosexual, monogamous (and so often overly-idealized) relationship that dictates so many ice dance programs.

But wait, there’s more. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, they include this stanza:

So what kind of love is this,
This love that dares not speak its name?
This love that hangs its head in shame?
Is this so-called love even worthy of its name?

Whoa, it’s Oscar Wilde time. “The love that dares not speak its name” references “Two Loves,” an 1894 poem by Lord Alfred Douglas, Wilde’s lover, whose father had Wilde jailed for “gross indecency.” Wilde spoke openly about his passionate relationship with Douglas at his first trial.

The Love that dare not speak its name” in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep, spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as the “Love that dare not speak its name,” and on account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an elder and a younger man, when the elder man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it.

The song “Meditation” declares that love is “beautiful, fierce, and strong” and also that it is “a sacred flame that can’t be drenched/By icy showers of sobriety/Or a society/Strangled by notions of propriety.”

This really opens up the definition of love: much more inclusive, much more open, much more (dare I say?) true to the way love (then and now) is actually experienced.

Kudos to Hurtado and Díaz for including this in their lyrical and powerful program. In the ice dance world, which remains bound by all kinds of rigid rules, this is a welcome statement.

When my kids were little, their daycare teachers would tell them “use your words” to express how they felt or what they wanted. Use your words: that’s the ticket!

True love doesn’t lie,
It doesn’t hide,
And it will never be denied
The right to sing its furious song
In the sad, empty streets from dusk ’til dawn.
Love laughs at fear
And cries out its name for all to hear.

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

4 thoughts on “Use your words

  1. My dramatic program is to Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” and I think the lyrics accurately express what I’m trying to portray. I think it will take skaters a little while to embrace the inclusion of lyrics in programs – especially using ones that enhance the movements rather than distract from the overall performance. Only time will tell!


  2. Oooh, I really like that song. Can’t wait to see the video!


  3. Lovely skating. Skate Guard also featured this pair’s performance at the European Championships. Here’s a second look:


  4. Thanks for the link! I like their short dance too (ooh, paso doble and flamenco!):


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