Galas are often held at the end of a season and open to family, friends, and the local population. It's a sort of showcase of the local talent and gives skaters a great opportunity to perform for fun and let family members see them in action in a less stressful setting than a comp.
You'll usually be approached by the organisers if they want you to partake in the event. Whether you want to or not is entirely up to you and you should feel no pressure to do so. However, it's a nice way to make your club look good and get to know other members too.
Some skaters skate their regular routines at a gala event, but the general consensus is that a skater should spend a little time and effort concocting a more "exhibition-y" piece. The music can be more over the top (vocals are allowed, something that figure skaters don't have the luxury of in competition) and the costume can be something more theatrical that you wouldn't get away with in competition.
The choreography can be less technical and more dramatic. People come to gala skating events to be entertained, so go for it!! If you're a budding actress and have a passion for 1920's music, you should probably get your Charleston on!
You don't have to engage your coach or choreographer to do this piece for you if you don't want (or are trying to save some pennies). As long as you love the music you have chosen and have a passion for skating, you'll be able to make something fun up. Use your free time at the rink to fiddle about with moves and steps, and when you're ready stick on the music and potter about to it. You'll soon be flying!
Your theme can really be anything, and skaters usually go for something they love. There have been some whacky exhibition numbers at Europeans and Worlds, as I'm sure you know if you watch these events.
But what could I do, you ask? A few ideas for gala music;
- Broadway musical (Chicago, West Side Story, Chorus Line)
- Comical pieces of music (think Josée Chouinard's "The Sweater" programme - look it up on YouTube!)
- Floaty beautiful classical pieces (think Sasha Cohen's interpretation of Romeo & Juliet)
- Passionate latin numbers (Shae-Lynn Bourne's amazing "La Cumparsita" is well worth a look at)
- Something NOW (yes I'm thinking about Johnny Weir's GaGa programme!)
The list goes on. It really depends on personal preference, so just go for it!!
What's your recent gala piece, what are you planning on, what music are you just dying to skate to? Let us all know by leaving a comment!