After two years of “aggressive” short programs set to tango music, Gracie Gold and her new coach, Marina Zoueva, wanted something a little more “touchable” for the Olympic season.
“The short programs are colder often because they’re so short. You’ve got to do everything in 2 [minutes], 50 [seconds],” Olympic team bronze medalist and two-time national champion Gold explained to NBCOlympics.com. “We hadn’t really done anything touchable with lyrics for a short that could relate to people as much.”
Canton, Michigan-based Zoueva – who coached the 2010 and 2014 ice dance Olympic champions – was open to everything. Zoueva wanted something anthemic, but not quite a particular anthem, according to Gold. They listened to Lorde’s new album (“It’s very mod. It’s fantastic, for the record, I totally love it.”) and anything and everything by Beyoncé, but nothing felt right until Zoueva pulled nine Barbara Streisand CDs from a folder.
“She has this giant folder of old school CDs that you can flip through. They just flip, flip, flip, flip out,” Gold said, motioning like an accordion.
“They started playing ‘People’ from Funny Girl and we just liked it,” Gold said, confirming her short program, saying that the way it’s cut together is “really nice.”
In Gold’s mind, an Olympic long program is similar to the dress a woman might wear on her wedding day: something iconic that will be immortalized forever in her own mind, in pictures, and online.
Zoueva had “La Bayadera” ready for Gold’s free skate. She handed Gold two CDs with four hours’ worth of ballet on them asked Gold for her thoughts. Gold was willing to do the homework, which lasted every night for about a week, maybe longer.
“I’m better at saying yes or no. I’m not good at finding the music. I would say that’s not my strength. I said, Marina, listen, I’ll watch the ballet. I’ll do that for you. But as far as the music is concerned, how is that gonna sound all put together in only four minutes? I need help with that. I can tell you that all the songs are really good.”
Gold described “La Bayadera” as a mashup between “Sleeping Beauty” (her Olympic long program from Sochi) and “Scheherazade” (Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s gold medal-winning free dance from Sochi).
Gold had a tumultuous 2016-17 season, which culminated in a sixth-place finish at Nationals and a split from Frank Carroll, her coach of four seasons. Gold hopes that her music selections for the Olympic season will bring her back to top form, where she can be a leader in the field of U.S. ladies figure skating.
“There’s a lot of power behind it so I want [audiences] to feel the power, and speed, and flow of ‘the old Gracie’ or whatever people want to say. There’s a lot of choreography going into it, a lot of arm movements. It’s a different style. This is something different, that they won’t be expecting.”