Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This Year's vs.Last Year's Model: Programs at Cup of China 2012

Three weeks into the GP and I'm still finding plenty of Free Skate/Free Dance debuts to compare & contrast to those used last season. I'll likely have to move to SPs/SDs soon, but till then, here's a then'n'now comparison for Cup of China's Men and Ice Dance: 

Tatsuki Machida (won gold; now qualified for GP Final): Quick, what did Machida use for his FS last season?  It was Don Quixote, and I had zero memory of it—probably because he was only in two major international events, and came in 7th both times (Cup of China 2011 and 4CC 2012). Therein lies the difference a year can make, and why I’ve no choice but to prefer this year’s Firebird.

Daisuke Takahashi (won silver): Wow...such a difference between Pagliacci (this year) vs. Blues For Klook (last year). Do I choose the apple or the orange? In this case, I’m picking last year’s model FOR NOW... because Dice-K owned that sucker. I know he wasn’t the first to use it—distinctive, outside-the-box choice that it is—but his interpretation is will stick with me for seasons to come. However, as great a skater as he is, I’ll allow for the possibility that Pagliacci will earn a spot among Dice-K’s greatest hits by the time the season is over.

Adam Rippon (finished 4th): Speaking of apples and oranges! Here we have the Don Draper-inspired Incredibles (this year) vs. Bach’s “Air & Toccata & Fugue” (last year). So, what’d you think? I think I missed his hair... sigh... oh crap, I forgot what we were talking about. (This year’s model vs. last year’s... focus, Kelli, focus)

I will go ahead and pick The Incredible Don Draper, even though I don’t watch Mad Men and have no clue if he’s getting the characterization right. All I know is the new FS is not floaty, or dreamy, or portraying Rippon as angelic in any way, shape or form... so... SOLD! Even though, ironically, the program seems to drag/meander a bit between 2:36 and 3:27 (mostly a footwork sequence).

Incidentally, my husband IS a Mad Men fan, and when I asked if he’d be able to discern any Don Draper-esque moves in a skating program, he winced a little and said “I don’t know... is there anything in there to indicate womanizing?” (I’m getting back to him on that one.)

Pechalat/Bourzat (won gold): Hmmm—last year’s Skate Like an Egyptian (a.k.a. Mummy & Pharoah) vs. this year’s Stones Medley. No contest—Stones by a landslide, and I’m not even a Stones fan. But I seem to be even less of a fan of heavy-handed theme programs, particularly in ice dance, and the Pech/Bour FD catalog of the past 5 seasons is a case in point: circus theme in 2008-09, TIME theme in 2009-10... Chaplin in 2010-11, MUMMY in 2011-12. Stones for this season... which means something heavier is probably in store for Sochi. SIGH. Well, I’ll enjoy them twizzling their rock-n-roll hearts out while I can...

Bobrova/Soloviev (won silver): Faust (last season) vs. Once Upon a Time in the West/Tosca (this season). The piece they use from Once Upon a Time is called “Man with a Harmonica,” by Morricone, and it’s wistful and dramatic and haunting in a manner similar to the song “Calling You” (from Baghdad Café). So despite the dash of Tosca they add to the mix near the dance’s end that nearly ruins the whole thing, I’m choosing this season over the overwrought Faust.

Weaver/Poje (won bronze): Je Suis Malade (last season) vs. Humanity in Motion (this season). Let me begin by saying I’m very fond of W/P—great chemistry there, and I’ve enjoyed their relatively rapid rise through the ranks in the past few years. BUT (hiding behind my chair now for when you start to throw tomatoes my way)—I’m not loving this new FD so far. As I sit here thinking about it, maybe the problem I have with the so-called “heavy-handed themes” is that one or both of the skaters is often cast as something that starts out as distant, unapproachable, and less than human. Pharaohs and mummies? Check. The Hands of Time (Pech/Bour 2010)? Check. And now we have Weaver as something statuesque—Lady Liberty? Is that confirmed or just a guess?—and it just doesn’t seem to move me. I’m not sure what the solution is, since doing a relationship piece such as a gut-wrenching French ballad (in a slipdress slipping off your shoulder) wears out its welcome too. I’ve read that W/P are, understandably, disappointed with their pair of GP bronze medals and are rarin’ to improve on the program for future events. We'll see what happens...maybe some improved tech scores will make the difference. 

Anyone else out there feel like I do about this program? I'd love to know I wasn't alone on this. OR, if you're crazy about Humanity in Motion, please speak up... I'm all ears!

1 comment:

sara.raju said...

I think maybe they are acting out Pygmalion? I think she's just kind of a generic statue. Anyway I love both of their programs!(But I agree, Je Suis Malade probably wore out quickly if you didn't love it. The slipdress got old for sure)