Thursday, July 30, 2015

Off Season Fun 2014-2015: Favorite Short Programs

Off Season Fun continues! Time for my favorite Short Programs from last season...

5. Alena Leonova - "Charlie Chaplin"

I'm not usually a big fan of Alena's over-the-top campy style of skating, but this is one instance where it works very well with the theme of the program.  I enjoyed this one quite a bit, I must say.  I really liked all of the little "clumsy" moments in the choreography (which isn't easy to do and stay in control) as well as the way Alena stayed 100% in character throughout the program.  This performance was excellent: lots of speed and coverage on her 3T-3T and on the 3F, and I liked the difficult spread eagle into the 2A and the difficult back entry into her combo spin.  Very nicely done.

4. Zijun Li - "Waltz of the Flowers"

There's a lightness and grace to Zijun that I find so beautiful and this SP was the perfect vehicle for it.  We got the classical feel we're used to seeing from her, but the music also created this swell of energy that really worked well for Zijun and kept me engaged in the program.  I loved her speed and the steps into her 3L as well as the rocking edge Biellmann spiral transition into her 2A.  The footwork was beautifully choreographed to the music and really stood out for me.  To me, this was the strongest SP Zijun has had since becoming a senior.

3. Satoko Miyahara - "The Magic Flute"

Satoko has such well choreographed programs.  In terms of a skater who checks all the boxes but doesn't look as though they're trying to check the boxes, Satoko takes the cake.  Though I wasn't a big fan of her 90s throwback puffy sleeved dress, I really enjoyed this program.  Satoko presents herself with so much maturity and polish and when she backs it up with strong skating, she's just lovely to watch.  Lots of small moments in this one that I love but my favorite was the footwork as well as that gorgeous layback spin at the end (she's really an underrated spinner).  This was a lovely program and I enjoyed every second of it.

2. Elena Radionova - Flamenco/Latin Mix

So, as with all things Elena, there are those who hated this program and those who loved it.  Well, I loved it.  It was uniquely Elena which is why I totally dug it.  The JLo footwork section was a lot of fun and Elena really knew how to sell it.  Despite the difficult content, tough transitions and the fast pace of the program, she was able to deliver it with ease all while looking like she was having ball.  Her performance made it so much fun to watch.  I loved the steps into her Biellmann spin and all of the quick steps at the end that finish right on beat with the music.  This was definitely the most entertaining SP of the season for me.

1. Kanako Murakami - "Phantom of the Opera"

In a sea of Phantom of the Opera (seriously, can we ban that song now?), this was the only one I wanted to see last season.  Kanako has a particular style of skating that isn't appealing to everyone, but I love it...and I absolutely loved this program.  Overall, I'm not a fan of using lyrics in programs; however, this was one of the few exceptions of the season.  The version she used wasn't overly screechy and it was a cohesive edit that worked well in the time span.  There were so many lovely moments in the program where you could see Kanako connecting to the audience and really performing.  I loved the footwork and the layback spin at the end was perfect.  It was a beautifully done and wonderfully performed program.  She was absolutely goregous.

Rounding out my top 10...

6. Ashley Wagner - "Spartacus"
Ashley is just a wonderful performer and knows how to deliver her programs.  I loved the spread eagle timed with the big crescendo of the music as well as the Michelle Kwan "Spartacus" ending pose.

7. Julia Lipnitskaya - "Megalopolis"
I wasn't too crazy about this the first time I saw it (I took issue with the "little girl" look for consecutive seasons as well as the "Where's Waldo?" dress) but in the end this one grew on me.

8. Rika Hongo - "Le Corsaire"
I thought this was a solid program for Rika.  It got stronger from a performance standpoint as the season went on.  She started connecting with the audience and it really made the difference.

9. Mariah Bell - "Little Talks"
In terms of a delightful and fun program, this was the one.  Mariah brings so much light and energy to the ice when she skates.  This program is a perfect snapshot of who she is as a skater.  I loved it.

10. Karen Chen - "Requiem for a Tower"
I really liked this program for Karen.  This was a tough song to skate to but she pulled it off.  I loved her speed across the ice, the wonderful energy she brought to the footwork and those gorgeous spins.

Who had your favorite SP of the season?  Make sure to vote on the poll!  Up next, my favorite Free Skates.  Check back soon!

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