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Sep 10, 2017

2017 Russian Test Skates: Day One (Ladies and Men)

Some snap observations / reactions to Day One of the Russian men's and ladies' test skates this season, i.e., the first look at many of the Russian skaters' new programs this season . . . please insert usual caveats about how the performances at the test skates are often rough drafts of what the skaters' programs will look like during the actual season, how skaters are not quite in fighting shape at this point of the year, etc., etc.

Sep 4, 2017

Moulin Rouge Fest

Is the music of Moulin Rouge this season's Carmen? With big names such as Virtue/Moir, Karen Chen, Vincent Zhou, and supposedly Ashley Wagner all slated to skate to the music of Baz Luhrmann's maximalist melodrama, it certainly looks like it.

One of the upsides of skating to Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge is that one has a lot of music selections to potentially choose from--in addition to the background music, the film features a good deal of musical numbers, most--if not all--of them opulent covers of well-known songs done at a manic pitch. Despite the dizzying variety of songs to choose from, however, the majority of skaters skating to the music of Moulin Rouge somehow all end up skating to El Tango de Roxanne, Moulin Rouge's cover of The Police's Roxanne with generous dollops of melodrama, sex, and operatic excess added in.  Coincidence? Or creative bankruptcy? Take your pick.

Anyway, in honor of Moulin Rouge seemingly being the musical flavor of the season, let's take a stroll down memory lane and re-watch some Moulin Rouge programs of years past . . .

Sep 1, 2017

Adieu, adieu

As you are probably aware, Julia Lipnitskaya announced her retirement from competitive earlier this week after receiving treatment for anorexia. It's been a sad week learning about the Sisyphean weight of all Ms. Lipnitskaya's struggles, but there's also relief mixed in there too, knowing that finally, Ms. Lipnitskaya may finally be able to find peace away from the perpetual glare of public scrutiny.

Aug 27, 2017

Smooth Moves

One aspect of skating that has particularly received a great deal of attention (disproportionate attention, some would say!) in the IJS era is transitions--particularly transitions before jump elements.  With pre-jump transitions being doubly rewarded in both the Program Components Scores as well as in the grade of execution scores, it behooves skaters to cram in something before a jump so that the judges can accordingly reach for the upper registers on their scoresheets. Unfortunately, this tendency towards rewarding transitions before jumping passes has often resulted in careless, split-second moves in the field elements or sloppy steps wedged in before jumps that fail to reflect the music or overall choreography . . . but that is a subject for another day.  Instead, today we will reflect on the pre-jump transitions that thrill and excite, and/or memorably serve some higher interpretative purpose.  In that vein, the following list includes some of my favorite pre-jump transitions from both the 6.0 and IJS eras: