Mid-Season Favourites

The GPF is over and the slew of national competitions will begin either shortly or is already underway by the time this is posted. While all this is happening, I usually like to take this time in the mid-season to reflect upon the programs we’ve seen and talk about my favourites so far. Of course, the programs listed here are my opinion, and my preferences generally tend towards programs that either do well in marrying movement to music, or do well to demonstrate certain talents or skills of a specific skater. So, with that, let’s see what some of my favourite programs are this season.

Men

Short Program – Nathan Chen, Caravan

Hands down, some of the most interesting choreography of this season from Shae-Lynn Bourne. It’s playful, highlights Nathan’s musicality (which helps boost his PCS, which is invaluable when he faces Hanyu) and is an all-around joy to watch.

Long Program – Yuzuru Hanyu, Origin

I’m not sure if I need to say anything for Hanyu’s programs this year. Enjoy!

Ladies

Short Program – tie: Marin Honda, Seven Nation Army; Satoko Miyahara, Song for the Little Sparrow

I know one of my friends will scold me for putting in a tie (“A ‘favourite’ implicates singularity in the thing you’re referring to!” He was a philosophy major…) but I honestly can’t decide between them. One of them showcases a contrasting style to the skater’s usual programs to demonstrate a growth and evolution, while the other is a style and is tried and true and serves as a reminder that a fantastic skater from the previous Olympic cycle is ready to take her place at the top once more in the new cycle. Honda’s program marries sass, jazz and Marin’s buttery skating into something that is extremely memorable and fun to watch (kudos to Shae-Lynn Bourne again – I wasn’t sure how this was going to work when I saw the music choice at the beginning of the season). Satoko’s SP, on the other hand, feels like an Oscar-contender epic movie with gorgeous cinematography. Both are a delight to watch, so enjoy!

Long Program – Rika Kihira, Beautiful Storm

At the beginning of the season, I think I was too distracted by the 3As to really notice the small details and arm movements of this lovely program. By now, however, I find myself really enjoying the unique positions and movements with the attention to detail in the performance and choreography.

Pairs

Short Program – Minerva Fabienne Hase & Nolan Seegert, Say Something

This is an ambitious program for this team, with a lot of intricacies that they will need to refine throughout the season. I thought it was a pity that James & Cipres abandoned their “Say Something” program last year as this team further proves that the music is actually a pretty effective piece that can be infused with a lot of emotion (angst!!!), and is catchy and recognizable. Either way, I really enjoyed watching this program at Skate America and I look forward to watching this program grow and improve over the season.

Honourable Mention – Cheng Peng & Yang Jin, Ophelia

Admittedly, this program flew off my radar until the GPF. There’s a nice playfulness to this program that shows of this team’s youth but in a good way, reminding you of a carefree and happy time. It’s also a different style than the classical but technical programs we usually see from them so this is a breath of fresh air for this team.

Long Program – Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres, Wicked Game

Excellent work here by Charlie White. We all know that James & Cipres have an athletic, more contemporary style but Charlie’s choreography highlights this team’s beautiful lines and adds a slight balletic/contemporary dance elegance to all their movements while still keeping true to their strengths.

Ice Dance

Rhythm Dance – Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin, Malaguena, Tango Suite Part III, Carmen’s Story

I haven’t really taken to any of the RDs this year (it always takes a while) but I do like the twizzle sequence in this program and its use of the staccato beats in the music. A very dramatic take on the RD this year.

Free Dance – Sara Hurtado & Kirill Khaliavin, Great Gig in the Sky, Vladimir’s Blues, Sign of the Times

In all honesty, I’m not sure why I like this program. It’s a bit cheesy, and in terms of choreography, the most striking feature is well… I’m not erally sure. For the most part, what I do enjoy the drama and the attempt at cutting the music to create a story (one of them dies and tells the other to live their best life). I do wish that the purpose and meaning of the movements were a little more clear but overall, I think the program does well to showcase Sara’s acting talents and the team’s overall flair for the dramatic.

Honourable Mention – Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje, S.O.S. d’un terrien en détresse 

I got to see this FD live at a Stars on Ice performance and I quite enjoyed this program. It may have taken the top spot but I think there are a few moments of superfluous arms that are a bit of distracting. Either way, what a lovely program for this team. I look forward to seeing it at Nationals.

What were your favourite programs of the season?

~Rinkside Cafe

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