Oct 6, 2012
A Smorgasbord of New Programs (so far)
Mao Asada's new long program this season is to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, choreographed by the venerable Tatiana Tarasova. A rather predictable choice, for obvious reasons (e.g. Ms. Asada's balletic style) as well as the fact that Ms. Tarasova seems to enjoy giving Mao Asada and Adelina Sotnikova the same music. But...what of the program itself? If Ms. Tarasova did indeed choreograph this, it's probably one of the strongest programs she's done for Ms. Asada. It's not a schlocky muzak version of Swan Lake, there's no weird face-slapping choreography or awkward music cuts, and even the costume looks very pretty! I especially like the choreographic sequence, the use of spread eagles, the selection of music cuts, and the joy in the steps. With a bit more speed and power, Swan Lake should score very well and receive a favorable reception from both audiences and judges alike.
I haven't looked at the protocols yet, but Ms. Asada's technical elements score is rather low--there were undoubtedly some < and e calls in there somewhere (e.g. the 3F-2Lo-2Lo looked obviously UR'd), and some of the jumping passes will undoubtedly be upgraded throughout the course of the season (e.g. 2A-2T --> 2A-3T). But overall, it's the best first outing for Ms. Asada in a long time, and is a very promising start this season.
A very interesting new style for Akiko Suzuki, definitely a departure from the jaunty presto tunes she's known for. The music is intriguing, though I need to be enlightened on the exact theme (Ethereal peacock? Avian delights? IDK). Beautifully choreographed step sequence. The jumps in the second half were an utter mess but they should improve when Ms. Suzuki is more fully trained later in the season. I look forward to seeing how this program develops over the course of the season.
Light-hearted, character-driven programs are definitely Javier Fernandez's strength.
Like a dream--elegant, refined, with an ebb and flow as easy and natural as breathing. La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin is both a clever and beautifully appropriate choice for Ms. Korpi, and will probably remain one of the best ladies program this season.
This is highly embarrassing, but I somehow found myself enjoying Julia Lipnitskaya's new short program despite its random point-grubbing flexi-spiral transitions, the blatant front-loading, and the whole frenetic sloppy style of the whole thing. Maybe it's because I like Khachaturian. Or perhaps it's because it's not boring. Whatever it is, it's working.
UGH...Daisuke Takahashi returns to Nikolai Morozov, and promptly wears a costume that looks like a horrendous combination of Sergei Voronov's and Adam Rippon's sartorially dubious costumes from THEIR Morozov-choreographed Pagliacci programs. Bleh. The program itself is ok. Just ok. It's not hideous as the costume, but it barely triggered a reaction from me beyond "I hope David Wilson and/or Pasquale Camerlengo and/or Kenji Miyamoto choreographs for Mr. Takahashi next season." I know Shae-Lynn Bourne supposedly choreographed this long program, but it certainly felt like Mr. Morozov had his hands all over it. Hopefully, the program will be tweaked and developed throughout the season--possible improvements include more content and detail in the first minute or so of the program, less overdone angsty hand movements, as well as better music cuts that would make the program seem more cohesive. However, I can't help but think that the music would be better suited for a short program. Disappointing.
Like blancmange--smooth, bland, makes little impression beyond the first bite. Same weaknesses as Nausicaa, except that Nausicaa is the better program.
Maybe my expectations were too high, but I felt highly disappointed by Yuzuru Hanyu's Notre Dame long program. After last season's Romeo and Juliet set the bar by stunning and awing upon the first viewing, Notre Dame definitely feels like a letdown. I can see how Notre Dame ticks the appropriate PCS and TES boxes, but the sum of the parts is infinitely less than the whole. Also, Mr. Hanyu needs to find a way to deal with his asthma/conditioning problem. Watching him slowly plod through his step sequences as if grinding through concrete and his body flop from exhaustion after his jumping passes really doesn't make a good impression or speak to the ideal of effortlessness in skating.
Derivative. Good to see him back, though.