Sunday, July 24, 2016

Off Season Fun 2015-2016: Favorite Short Programs

Off Season Fun continues onward!  Next up I'll take a look back a my favorite programs from the 2015-2016 season.  First up, the Short Program...

5. Anna Pogorilaya: "Bolero for Violin and Orchestra"

I've never been a big fan of Anna's skating until last season.  I could see the improvements she's made: much better control in her arms, finishing her movements, more finesse to her skating and projecting to the audience and judges.  I love to see progress and Anna definitely made it last year.  This program was great for her.  I loved the tension and intensity she brought to the performance especially in the step sequence. She flies around the ice so fast and she loses hardly any speed in her steps.  I totally dug this program.  It's the best SP she's had to date in my opinion.

4. Rika Hongo: "Incantation"

I think Akiko Suzuki and Rika Hongo are a good fit.  Akiko understands Rika's style and she's able to give her programs that complement her very well.  I loved the energy and power of the music and Rika did a great job of matching it during the performance.  Her style and presentation isn't typical in terms of line, grace, etc., but what she lacks in aesthetics she more than makes up for in enthusiasm and performance.  You can see how into the program Rika is from the first beat of the music to the last.  Loved this one!

3. Satoko Miyahara: "Firedance"

I adored this program for Satoko.  I think the reason I loved it so much is that it wasn't something I expected Satoko to pull off.  Her on ice persona is very quiet, reserved and almost a bit introverted at times...but she let the proverbial cat out of the bag in this program.  There's this fire, intensity and even a touch of sensuality/flirty quality she brought to this program that I really didn't think she had in her.  I love the way she stares the judges down at the beginning and in the middle of the program. Gorgeous choreography, wonderful footwork, beautiful spins and a pristine and captivating delivery.  Muy caliente!

2. Alaine Chartrand: "Pina"

Shae Lynn Bourne brought out a new side of Alaine with this fabulous SP.  It took Alaine a minute to really settle into the program and sell it, but once she did it was fabulous.  I love the music to this one and the choreography was a standout for me.  I loved the opening moves, the long inside edge on the note of the music before the layback, and then everything kicks up in tempo.  The movements illustrate the music so gorgeously.  It's a brilliantly choreographed program and Alaine did a good job of bringing it all to life.

1.  Ashley Wagner: "Hip Hip Chin Chin"

This program was by far the most fun and entertaining SP of the season for me.  Ashley and Shae Lynn have been a great combination over the past few seasons and I think this "Hip Hip Chin Chin" program is their best SP work to date.  Ashley is just a master when it comes to embodying the music and character of her programs.  She's a performer through and through and that complements Shae Lynn's choreography so amazingly.  You get this fun and amazing program that is brought to life by this fun and amazing skater.  Great choreography, way more transitions, that Diva Wagner flair and (by the end of the season) consistently strong skating.  Definitely my favorite SP of the season..."yeah baby!"

Rounding out my top 10...

6. Alisa Fedichkina - "Valse Sentimentale"
This program was so sweet and delightful.  Alisa is a lovely performer and this program totally made me fall in love with her. I can't wait to see more.

7. Mao Asada - "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen"
I like that this program was something different for Mao and she pulled it off very well.  As usual the step sequence was piddle inducing...loved it!

8. Adelina Sotnikova - "Historia de un Amor"
She struggled to have a really good performance of it but I loved this program for Adelina.  It was fun and upbeat and, as always, she sold every second of it.

9. Kanako Murakami - "Tango de Roxanne"
Kanako kills every tango she tackles.  I loved the way the drama builds in the step sequence and of course those five twizzles and the ending of the program were everything...

10. Evgenia Medvedeva - "Melodies of the White Nights"
Evgenia's programs don't really captivate me but she clearly reaches when she performs and you can see that she's into what she's doing. Great senior debut program for her.

Next up my favorite Free Skates!

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