It’s a Matter of Taste
With the “new” point system in play, choreography takes on a critical role in figure skating. It’s more important than ever that the music, costume and theme weave together for a cohesive performance. We were treated to some standout examples of this at Worlds last week. Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan brought the vulnerability, innocence and desperation of a young Romeo to life in a free program that had the audience enthralled, even in tears. Now, that’s some choreography! You can watch that program here. American champion Ashley Wagner’s “Black Swan” program was another standout, each beat and movement had a purpose in moving the program and story forward.
Of course, what moves you is a matter of taste.
There were a handful of programs that didn’t do it for me, but that the European audience loved. Italian Samuel Contesti scored a season’s best with a Charlie Chaplin inspired performance, backed by a lovely rendition of La Vie en Rose. For me, this mime piece was too simplistic to be moving, but the French audience was on its feet. American pair team Caydee Denney and John Coughlin put down a strong free program with solid technical elements, but the team’s costuming, music and styling was more appropriate for junior competition than for a senior team vying for a top five finish. In this case, the judges and audience seemed to agree.
I thoroughly enjoyed Carolina Kostner’s avant-garde free program, complete with bedazzled unitard. For me, the costume articulated the tension between classical music and choreography–the elegant, balletic top–and the modern dance elements in the choreography that made its point with a bold break in typical skating attire. Though I thought the unitard was a hit, a pair of spectators behind me disapproved.
I suppose the artistic impact of figure skating has always been a matter of preference, but it seems that as skaters and coaches focus on the full performance package, it’s more important than ever to tap into a universal notion of good taste.
Side note: While we’re on the topic of good taste, being able to enjoy a glass of bubbly at the arena to celebrate a skater’s victory was a lovely European addition to the event!