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Aug 13, 2011

Stephane Lambiel, Spanish Caravan

Stephane Lambiel, Spanish Caravan SP (2005 World Championships)
**** - Joy 

At first glance, Stephane Lambiel's Spanish Caravan short program appears to be nothing special. This program,  performed relatively early in Mr. Lambiel's senior career, is so easily eclipsed by the cavalcade of widely-acclaimed masterpieces that followed soon after: Dralion, Four Seasons, Carne Cruda, Poeta. After all, Spanish Caravan was a program set to twinkly piano music like so many others. It did not use any stunningly original choreography or set forth a novel new theme. The program had a fairly standard chassis of mostly jumping passes in the first half and footwork and spins in its second half. It harbored no lofty ambitions in regards to its intent, which was simply to have Mr. Lambiel dance to twinkly piano music.

And yet Spanish Caravan unmistakably possesses that magical quality characteristic of truly superb skating  programs--that is, of being much more than the sum of its parts.

How does Spanish Caravan accomplish this? It's difficult to say: it can't be the music, it's not the choreography or the concept of the program as a whole. So when the impossible is eliminated, whatever remains must be the truth--in this case, Mr. Lambiel's skating itself. This is one of those wonderful instances when a performance transcends the choreography, giving the uncanny effect of Mr. Lambiel seemingly composing the program in his head as he skates. There is such a purity of spirit suffused through Mr. Lambiel's movements--particularly in the step sequences--that is so confident, so crisp, so insouciant that it could only stem from the absolute joy and abandon of a carefree youth, unburdened by the crushing weight of crippling injuries or high expectations that age and fame inevitably brings. In short, Spanish Caravan is a program of pure effervescent joy, achieving a salubrious radiance that forever captures a particular moment in time: that of 9 in the morning of a skating career full of promise.

Be prepared to salivate at:

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