Last season was an absolute goldmine for me in terms of discovering new appealing skaters, or recalibrating my opinion of hitherto unappealing skaters. Specifically, last season, I fell hard for the skating of Alena Kostornaia, Emmy Ma, Wakaba Higuchi, Apollinariia Panfilova/Dmitri Rylov, Dmitri Aliev, Eun-soo Lim, and Anastasia Tarakanova, among others. Although some of these skaters have stumbled this season, their skating still speaks to me and I would readily start a flame war defending them on Twitter, or whatever.
This present season has not yielded quite the embarrassment of riches when it comes to new discoveries. Perhaps it's because the 2018-2019 season is a post-Olympics season, which tends to be a rebuilding year. Or perhaps it's because skaters and choreographers are still adjusting to the flood of new rules this season. Nonetheless, all is not lost in this valley of tears, for there are still skaters who have newly caught my eye this season: Read more »
One of my favourite online columns is The Cut's I Think About This A Lot, a column "dedicated to private memes: images, videos, and other random trivia we are doomed to play forever on loop in our minds." Finally, I have found kindred spirits who are also willing to disclose the random detritus that stubbornly clings--unwanted, or at least unbidden--to the otherwise hollowed-out recesses of the mind.
If I were a contributor to the august entries of I Think About This A Lot, my first entry would undoubtedly be dedicated to Ilia Averbukh's choreography for Evgenia Medvedeva. In a world where choreographers are content to have their charges skate to the 391391419th iteration of Bizet's Carmen or the same hackneyed versions of Romeo and Juliet, Mr. Averbukh--to his credit--tends to select unique choices of music for Ms. Medvedeva and kit them out with grandiose themes: clinical death, the suffering of the deaf, the ephemeral nature of life in the chaotic times of terrorism. The presence of such sweeping program concepts of Deep Seriousness in the rather frothy milieu of figure skating, however, brings to mind Vladimir Nabokov's knowing remark that only a single letter separates the comic and the cosmic.
But it's not necessarily the wildly ambitious themes of Ms. Medvedeva's Averbukhian programs that are seared into my mind--no, it's the choreography that serves as the chassis for such themes. To be more specific, it's certain moments of choreography that go so far into the ludicrous, it circles all the way back around to . . . being entertaining? You know what I'm talking about: