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Feb 21, 2012

Hasta la vista, baby

The year is 2012. Turns out that certain doomsday-minded interpretations of the Mayans' Long Count calendar were indeed correct and the end of civilization as we know it is nigh at last in the form of some complicated galactic alignment...thingy...involving the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* and the hapless planet Earth. Yet all is not quite lost: you have in your hand one valid ticket for the last rocket out of Earth headed towards Saturn's icy moon Titan. The rocket is fuelled and ready, and you have ten minutes left to fill the remaining empty space of your external hard drive with ten figure skating videos. Choose carefully, for these ten videos are to be used to proselyte the gospel of figure skating to the goodly creatures of the brave new world of Titan. What ten videos would you pick?

My choices in no particular order:


  1. Hmmm interesting concept.. I dont know about ten but I know what my one and only pick would be: Poeta.. I am afraid I wont in all likelihood see anything on ice that will surpass Poeta.
    I think I also (most certainly) would take the superb Lady Caliph SP, G&G's Moonlight Sonata, Dai but his 2010 SP (Coba-Eye) and Yags with Winter.
    I am willing to take smth from Mao but Im shocked that you chose Liebestraum. Really, why? It is so pale in comparison to the rest of her stuff, if the light, soft Mao is the choice, I'd certainly would take the Chopin LP from 2008.
    I would also take Yuna's Tango de Roxanne SP, Anassina & Peizerat's Flamenco SD from 2002, Moir's flamenco SD from 2010. For the last spot, I guess I'd go with Plush and his 2004 LP tribute to Nijinsky. I cannot imagine going away from this planet with Yags but no Plush, the greatest rivalry in skating must be commemorated. :)
    Btw, I know I shall be crucified for this (as usual) but I cannot, simply cannot, get Kwan. I see great extension, posture etc but it simply doesnt do anything for me. In fact, I find myself drifting off most of the time while watching her. I wonder, had she not been an American, would she have been as cherished? Sometimes I think the Chen love proceeded Kwan and not vice versa.

    1. You don't worship at the Altar of Kwan?! How dare you not like the things I like!!1! Boo, hiss, etc ;)

      I am not American myself, but the power of Ms. Kwan's skating lies in her mastery of the blade, ability to capture the emotions of music (and play the audience like a fiddle), and for many of her programs, the sheer beauty and thoughtfulness behind choreography. The Dream of Desdemona SP I linked to above is perhaps one of the finest SPs I have ever seen, in terms of conceptualization and choreography alone. The amount of detail in the program--all in tune with the music--is staggering.

      But enough with the Kwan gushing. I chose Miss Asada's Liebestraum as I felt that the denizens of Titan should know how CoP has affected ladies figure skating (they need not know how CoP has strangled pairs skating). To me, the performance of Liebestraum I linked to (2010 Japanese Nationals, and arguably, no others before or since have matched it) was such a performance of pure, clear beauty and grace from start to finish that it beggars belief, particularly as I am quite cynical about Generic Female Ballad-type programs. Although I quite like Miss Asada's Fantasie-Impromptu (particularly her performance of it at the 2007 GPF), Miss Asada's feel for the music has grown substantially since then, as has the refinement of her skating. Also, I prefer the original choreography of Liebestraum over Fantasie-Impromptu. Too bad Miss Asada and Lori Nichol shuffled around the choreography of Liebestraum starting from 2011 4CC--it's pretty enough now, but not as striking as it once was.

      As for Yu-Na Kim's Tango de Roxanne, that would probably have been my eleventh choice. I think it is probably the greatest CoP ladies SP ever, but the slot for the dramatic ladies SP had already been occupied by Ms. Kwan....

      I really like Daisuke Takahashi's Eye by Coba SP (Miyamoto + Takahashi = delicious), but the playful insouciance of La Strada tugs at my heart.

      As for much as I loved the Yags-Plush rivalry, the wasted potential behind Nijinsky enrages me too much to give it a slot on my precious external hard drive! The concept and music could have been so good...but all the good bits were apparently stripped away by Mishin. We mustn't set a bad example for the aliens.

  2. The Last Emperor! Most people would pick Lulu's Rach 2 but I've always liked The Last Emperor best.

    I agree that the Yags-Plush rivalry must be commemorated. Is there room on the hard drive for a fluff? After all, fluffs are an important part of skating and should also be represented, and the uber-dramatic one NBC did for the 2002 Olympics is a classic.

    I would dump Mao's Lieberstraum - actually, I would dispense with Mao programs entirely - in favor of Janet Lynn's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, because Janet Lynn is awesome. I'm not a Kwan fan either, but Kwan is important so she can stay.

    I think another dance program is required. Mr. Takahashi will have to stay on earth in favor of either Torvill and Dean or one of A/P's FDs, or, if I'm allowed to pick favorites, Rahkamo and Kokko's Quickstep from 1995, because I love it to an unreasonable degree.

    1. I've always liked The Last Emperor best, too. Lu Chen's Piano Concerto No. 2 is of course effortlessly beautiful in its own way, but it was the odd faceted beauty of The Last Emperor that I've treasured above all.

      My choice of Mao Asada's Liebestraum appears to prove controversial! I suppose making a top-10 list such as this is by nature reflective of one's own (possibly irrational) prejudices--in my case, my unresolved feelings towards ice dance (hence the presence of merely one ice dance program) and my inability to engage with older pre-1990s figure skating programs with anything more than academic interest/appreciation (certain exceptions notwithstanding). Hence, the lack of pre-1990s programs on my original list, which, in retrospect, is probably a by-product of my age as much as my idiosyncratic personal preferences. In the case of Janet Lynn, I recognize her as an exceptional skater, but one that I admire as opposed to love--so I left her off my list, as it's going to be cold and lonely in space and I need programs that I actually love to keep me from waltzing out the airlock.

      As for Rahkamo/Kokko--they were awesome! I will definitely consider booting off Daisuke Takahashi in favor of them. R/K did an equally good La Strada too, after all....

  3. I know this is unrelated to this post but ... why don't you have any post about the recently concluded 2012 Winter Youth Olympics Figure Skating?

    1. Wasn't the figure skating portion of the Winter Youth Olympics held in mid-January? Unfortunately, I was very busy at the time and was only able to watch the competition a fair bit of time after mid-January. By then, I figured that nobody was interested in reading about the event anymore....

    2. ahhh... I was actually looking forward to reading your blog about it but fair enough... I'm happy and still reading :D

  4. Don't have time to look up links but should not be hard to find on youtube:

    John Curry's Don Quixote - Olympics
    Michelle Kwan: Tosca from Nationals
    Yagudin's Winter from the Olympics
    Ilia Kulik "Nutcracker" from some pro competition
    Elena Berezhnaya/Anton Sikharulidze – "The Kid" EX
    Torvil & Dean - SO many great programs but I guess I have to go with Bolero
    Takahashi - Mambo from last year
    Johnny Weir Dr. Zavago
    Oksana Baiul: Swan Lake
    Jeremy Abbot Life is Beautiful - he never skated it perfectly but I LOVE the program. Maybe NHK Trophy was his best performance?

  5. I would like to add the Olympic programs from Yuna Kim (Bond and Gershwin Piano Concerto) and Savchenko and Szolkowy's Out of Africa.