Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline

Moulin Rouge on Ice?

It is customary for figure skating competitions to include a gala exhibition at the end, a chance for the top skaters to give an encore performance. And "performance" is the operative word; it is unscored and unjudged, so pretty much anything goes. Backflips? Sure! Dangerous lifts? Go for it! Music with lyrics? Not just for ice dance anymore!

They broadcasted (if that's grammatically correct) the gala from the US Championships on TV the week after the championships had finished, and I forgot it was going to be on and turned on the TV just in time to see the end credits. Shoot. Fortunately, I came across clips that some kind soul has posted on YouTube.

Even though he was not competing, Evan Lysacek gave a special exhibition performance at the gala to the music of "El Tango De Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge! (which has been a popular selection in competition this season as well). And wow. All my life I've heard people say that it takes two to tango, but now I know that that is not true. Not necessarily my favorite program that I've seen him do, but it was a brilliant and passionate execution and I think that he applied his Dancing with the Stars experience beautifully to the choreography.

As I was watching that, the thought crossed my mind that, "You know, as brilliant as this is, if I were going to skate to something from Moulin Rouge!, I would pick 'Your Song.'" Insofar as I have a favorite song from Moulin Rouge!, that is it; I even like it better than the original, and it also has other pleasant associations for me that I won't go into right now. Anyway, then I watched Rachael Flatt's gala performance and what do you know? she was skating to Your Song! As I've said elsewhere, Rachael Flatt is generally not a skater with whom I feel a connection. She doesn't quite have the instinctual grace of a Michelle Kwan or a Mirai Nagasu or an Alissa Czisny. Nevertheless, she has her moments, and this is a lovely performance. I probably would have liked it no matter what because I love this song so much.

And since I previously raved about Rachael Flatt's short program in the actual competition, I thought that I would post a link to it because there's only so much that words can express about such a visual art form, so here it is. The actual program starts at about a minute into the video, so unless you really want to hear about her debutante ball (people still have those? How quaint!) you might want to skip ahead. She has always been known for her jumping ability and her consistency, and I imagine that part of the reason she's been able to build and maintain that consistency is by keeping her emotions in check, but I think in this particular performance she allowed herself to get a little bit carried away by the music and allowed herself to convey some genuine emotion. I hope she keeps it up because I think it will only make her a better skater in the long run.

And as long as I'm posting links to awesome performances from Nationals, I'd like to share men's silver medalist Richard Dornbush's free skate. The music is the score from Sherlock Holmes, and every time I watch this program I like it more. Huge jumps, blinding speed, beautifully detailed choreography; he stays committed to the character throughout and interprets the music with what I can only describe as the exuberance and energy of youth. The program is obviously designed to clever and even a little bit campy, and you can hear audible chuckles from the audience as he milks the choreography for all it's worth. One tiny criticism though: at the beginning he mimes smoking a pipe, and then gestures with the same hand...what happened to the pipe? It disappeared! That's a minor detail though, and I'm so excited to see what he does at Worlds next month because I'm sure it will be awesome.

I have a couple more comments about the gala from Nationals: kudos to whoever was in charge of designing/running the lighting. Mirai Nagasu skated her exhibition to "Fireflies" by Owl City and at one point they kept turning the spotlights on and off to simulate fireflies. Also kudos to whoever designed her costume; she really looks like a firefly!. Also kudos to Mirai herself for generally being awesome, but particularly for doing an impressive variation of her Biellman spin in which she grabs her foot instead of the skate blade.
Tags: figure skating
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