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Aug 20, 2017

Various Russian Ladies' LPs: Part II

This is the very belated second part of my post dedicated to reviewing the Russian ladies' long programs this in the 2015-2016 season.

Note: Freshly unearthed from the Morozombie private archives, I originally wrote this post around December 2015/January 2016 some time after the 2015-2016 Russian Championships, but inexplicably never published it for some reason. Better late than never, I guess?

Evgenia Medvedeva
Evgenia Medvedeva's LP to the music of the film W.E. is a nice program, with all the connotations associated with the word "nice." It has lots of nice transitions that bookend nearly all the jumps, which means the program will earn a lot of points. The jumps are difficult and mostly in the second half of the program, which will nicely earn even more points. The music is soft, pleasant, and nice to listen to, which nicely bodes well for the audience. The choreography and dress are nicely tasteful in a way that lends a sense of maturity to Ms. Medvedeva, which counters all those accusations of being "juniorish" that dog many younger skaters. However, this LP is also nice insofar as it pushes no boundaries, takes no risks, and consequently, leaves no impression upon repeated viewings.

I've watched Evgenia Medvedeva perform this program multiple times this season, but there's not one moment to savor that lingers in my mind. To refresh my memory, I watched this program not five minutes ago and I remember nothing of note in the choreography clearly. Nothing terribly bad, certainly. But nothing particularly good either.

But then again, this is the program that will probably make Evgenia Medvedeva a World Champion at the age of 16--and that is something.

Anna Pogorilaya
When a figure skater--particularly a female one--skates to Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade, we all know what to expect by now, after having watched countless reiterations of various Scheherezade programs with only minute variations. If female, the skater will most likely wear a glittery, vaguely "exotic/fantasy Arabian" dress with the midriff bared via illusion mesh. The same few music cuts will likely be used. The skater will also likely incorporate some "fantasy Eastern" arm movements similar to the anjali mudra at opportune times, as well as some seductive, vaguely harem girl-esque posing (if female). In short, Edward Said would definitely have had a field day with a good deal of Scheherezade programs if he were watching figure skating today.

Anna Pogorilaya's Scheherezade LP does not deviate far from the well-trodden formula of the typical Scheherezade figure skating program. Ms. Pogorilaya's glittery, vaguely "exotic/fantasy Arabian" blue dress that bares her midriff via illusion mesh is a relatively classier version of Carolina Kostner's unfortunate blue Scheherezade dress from the fall of 2013. Ms. Pogorilaya's music cuts are typical, and is her arm/posing choreography. Generic as it is, the dynamic music of Scheherezade works for Ms. Pogorilaya's style, and surprisingly, there are some very striking moments on the ice when Ms. Pogorilaya stares down the judges while doing that vaguely Orientalist arm/posing choreography (this can only help her PCS especially in contrast to her younger compatriots). Overall, I'm impressed at how much more polished Ms. Pogorilaya looks while skating to Scheherezade, even compared to as little as a year ago. In the past, there was definitely a level of untidiness in Ms. Pogorilaya's skating, with that awkward, coltish feeling of not knowing what to do with her newly-lengthened limbs. This Scheherezade program manages to hide a considerable amount of that untidiness with all that deliberate arm/posing choreography, and it is very effective vehicle in showing how far Ms. Pogorilaya has come in terms of her components.

Two caveats, however. Firstly, while Ms. Pogorilaya performed her Scheherezade very well at Russian Nationals, prior less-than-successful outings of the program have unearthed the old untidiness and lack of attention to detail in her skating. Put simply, Ms. Pogorilaya needs to sell this program even when the jumps are going south. Otherwise, the overall effect of the program just falls flat. Secondly, I wish Ms. Pogorilaya would hold her spiral positions longer in the choreographic sequence to match the grand, swelling music at that point in the program--right now, the spirals in the choreographic sequences look very perfunctory and spoils what could have been a Moment. But such is an issue with very many spirals after the abolishment of the spiral sequence.

Julia Lipnitskaya
Julia Lipnitskaya's program is clearly a singles long program choreographed by Marina Zzzzzzoueva. That is all I have to say about it.

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