Sunday, August 6, 2017

Off Season Fun 2016-2017: Favorite Short Programs

Off Season Fun continues.  Now it's time to revisit my favorite programs from the 2016-2017 season.  Up first, my favorite short programs!

5. Mariah Bell: "Chicago"

This is definitely my favorite "Chicago" program (of which there are a zillion) in a very long time.  Major props to Rohene Ward for the fabulous choreography.  So many of movements are right on the beat of the music and props to Mariah for staying in time with it so well.  A lot of the time a skater will get behind or ahead of the music; Mariah stayed with it the whole time which really highlighted the choreography and made the program that much better.  Tons of energy and personality throughout...this is my favorite Mariah program to date!

4. Satoko Miyahara: "Musetta's Waltz Song"

Oh, be still my skating purist heart!  This programs is elegant beauty at its best.  Satoko is just perfection to me and I don't care what anyone says.  Her grace, elegance, control, line, extension, edges...perfection.  Even better she's really improved her projection and engagement of the audience over the past two years.  She used to be very stoic and reserved when she skated; now there's this warmth in her face and her movement that radiates from her as she performs.  The choreography was so nuanced and thought out (as always) and Satoko's delivery was everything.  Loved this one!

3. Elena Radionova: "Porgy & Bess"

Shae Lynn Bourne did a wonderful job bringing out Elena's fun and jazzy side. The music was great and I think Elena was able to get into the character of the program and really bring it to life.  The step sequence was my favorite part.  I loved the little hip shakes with the music and backward and forward skid moves with the music as well as the energy and personality Elena brought to that part of the program.  It was great to see the joy and fun back in Elena's skating.  More programs like this in the future please!

2. Mao Asada: "Ritual Fire Dance"

Mao has been around for a very long time and the fact that she continued to surprise me when it came to her programs was a testament to her abilities as an artist.  This Lori Nichol program was amazing.  It had this intensity and power to it that I absolutely loved, yet it was still graceful which is not easy to do.  I hadn't ever seen that side of Mao before and I loved it!  The nuances in the choreography were great especially the little toe pick hops throughout which illustrated the music so perfectly.  The step sequence was a thing of piddle-inducing beauty (as always).  The steps were intricate and to the music and delivered with speed and ease in a way that only Mao can.  I love the way the program ends as well.  I'm so sad that Mao's career has come to an end but I can honestly say with this program, she went out with a bang.

1. Kaetlyn Osmond: "Sous le ciel de Paris"

I have to give it to Kaetlyn.  This was my hands down favorite program of the season.  I can't tell you how many times I've watched this.  It is amazing!  Even though I have no idea what Edith Pilaf is saying I love this song.  It's very Parisian and makes me want to put on a beret and carry a baguette in a basket...don't ask me why, I just want to.  Kaetlyn totally brought this program to life.  She's always been a great performer (remember her "Mambo No. 8" program?) but now she has sophistication and maturity and those qualities shined through in the choreography.  I totally had this image of a debutante strolling down a street in Paris while watching her.  The choreography was detailed and so perfect for the music, but it was Kaetlyn's overall delivery that puts this one at the top for me.  She skates with SO much speed and power!  She covered the ice end to end, her jumps were massively huge, the spins were great and I loved the "shhh!" moment in the step sequence as well as that great ending. Absolutely fabulous program and my favorite of the season! C'est bien!

Rounding out my top 10...

6. Carolina Kostner - "God of Thunder"
It was so great to have Carolina back.  She always brings something amazing to the ice and I really loved this program.  The music was so different from what we usually see from skaters but, in true Carolina fashion, she owned it and made it fabulous.

7.  Anastasiia Gubanova - "The Swan"
I am such a fan of this young lady.  Unlike many of the junior jumping beans coming out of Russia, Anastasiia's skating has a lot of substance.  There's choreography, attention to detail, elegance and grace.  She is gorgeous to watch and this program was a beauty. Can't wait to see more from her!

8. Karen Chen - "On Golden Pond"
I was very impressed to learn that Karen choreographed this program herself.  I think she has a future as a choreographer if she wants one. This was a lovely program with lots of really beautiful moments.  I hope to see more Karen Chen programs in the future.

9. Marin Honda - "Smile"
I just love Marin.  Her skating is so beautiful and so was this program. I loved the deep edges she gets and the ease of her skating.  This music has been used before on so many occasions but Marin's delivery (and her gorgeous skating) made this one stand out for me.

10.  Anna Pogorilaya - "Scent of a Woman"
Anna's got that sultry Russian supermodel look, so why not add a bit of sexy fire and kick it up a notch?  I thought this program was a great fit for her and she performed it well.  My favorite part was that smoldering look at the end. Caliente!

Which SP was your favorite?  Make sure to vote on the poll!  Next up my favorite free skates of the season. Check back soon!

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