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Oct 3, 2011

Japan Open 2011

New programs, new season, new post! I am excite!

Am I finally on the Chan crack? That shit is potent yo. I have to admit--I actually quite enjoyed Patrick Chan's Concerto de Aranjuez. Yes, it's a Lori Nichol hand-me-down (via Takeshi Honda and Joannie Rochette) but it's a much more palatable offering than last year's Phantom of the Opera. No, Mr. Chan does not quite have the soulful maturity needed to fully wring all the subtle angst out of this particular piece of music, but he does look more mature, the way he holds himself has improved and the program does showcase his mastery of skating skills very well. At this point, however, Takeshi Honda's Aranjuez is still superior, but the season is still young and there's plenty more Chan crack to smoke.

What the hell? Who is this skater and what has he done to Daisuke Takahashi? Where is the glitter, the ostentatious collars, the flashy patterns? Not a single sequin in sight. Based on all the inky cloak'd male skaters at this event, is this the future of men's figure skating?  Let us have a moment of silence to ruminate upon this sad development.

Anyway, I'm not exactly the most fervent fan of Blues for Klook as a piece of music, but the confidence and surety Mr. Takahashi has in selling the program has convinced me otherwise (at least for the moment). Blues for Klook is a fairly major departure in terms of style for Mr. Takahashi--being a bit more mellow than his more flamboyant programs from the past--but it looks very promising. The fact that Mr. Takahashi does not rest on his laurels and does not steadfastly stick to the same styles and choreographers makes me love him even more--it's always gratifying to see a skater experiment and better themselves. What is worrying, however, are Mr. Takahashi's jumps. It may indeed be very early in the season, but almost every jump looked like a struggle here.

Joe Hisaishi's music is lovely, Takahiko Kozuka skated fairly well...but the choreography and performance is so bland. Disappointing.

Gorgeous and with a 3A to boot. The rest of the jumps weren't quite there, but in terms of quality of movement and artistic maturity, like fine wine, Jeffrey Buttle just gets better with age.

Yes, Alissa Czisny's skating is so, so pretty. Valse Triste is a very pretty piece of music. Two prettys make a right, no? Technically yes, but this very nice, quiet, delicate program looks like the distillation of many other pretty Alissa Czisny programs from the past: pleasant but rather boring after having seen the same program about 675 times before. Miss Czisny does this style better than anybody, but it would've been far more interesting for her to branch out a bit, show some fire and spirit beneath the squeaky-clean exterior. Moreover, the ennui experienced after watching this performance is further compounded by the fact that this program is conspicuously empty, being composed of not much more than Miss Czisny's looooong jump set-ups and stroking around to arrive at the aforementioned jump set-ups.

 However, Miss Czisny is to be commended for actually following up on her announcements to up the technical ante. How many times do we always have the listen to a skater who has been landing all those lovely and rotated 3-3s in practice, but never actually see it in anything resembling a competitive environment? Miss Czisny's 3Lz-3T was not ratified here, but it was great to see her go for it, as well as her attempt at the 3S. I wonder why Miss Czisny is going for the 3Lz-3T, though--surely it would be more realistic (especially given her relatively advanced age) to go for an easier 3T-3T?

Akiko Suzuki may not ever be the biggest jumper or the best spinner or have the most superb skating skills, but one is constantly reminded that assuming that the whole is simply the sum of its parts is in fact a logical fallacy when watching Miss Suzuki. The jaunty presto music of Die Fledermaus is a wonderful vehicle for Miss Suzuki's spark and commitment to choreography. Love the joy and exuberance of Miss Suzuki's footwork, love the beautiful 2A-3T, praying to Jesus/Satan/Allah/Beelzebub/Flying Spaghetti Monster that the judges will finally fully appreciate the quality of Miss Suzuki's skating this season and send her to worlds.

I don't know whether I should be horrified or amused. If I were Alena Leonova,  I would sue Nikolai Morozov for his utterly shameless recycling of programs. Much like how Ms. Leonova's short program this season is a sad re-tread of Javier Fernandez's Pirates long program, her Adagio/Requiem for a Dream mashup is highly reminiscent of Miki Ando's Requiem short program from 2009-2010, from the color scheme and cross on the costume to the dreary and bleak nature of the program (in more ways than one).


  1. But what are your thoughts on Florent Amodio?

  2. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a video of Florent Amodio's performance.

    (Something tells me that this is not necessarily a bad thing...)

  3. Do any of these links work?

  4. Dear anon,

    Thank you for the links. Now I need to get some water to soothe my burning retinas....