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Sunday, June 15, 2014

That's entertainment: the definitive Chaplin

As noted in the first "that's entertainment" post, neither a skater nor a program need be perfect in order to be entertaining or memorable. In past installments, I focused on skaters who achieved just that even if they didn't end up on the podium. Here, I'd like to make an exception, because Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze's City Lights program is just the thing to deal with off-season boredom.

While the program is referred to as City Lights, the music is taken from a different Chaplin film - Limelight. According to The Second Mark, Tamara Moskvina recognized that her skaters were getting bored and tired of training, and the program (credited to Igor Bobrin) was meant to provide them with an artistic challenge, for Sikharulidze especially.

Berezhnaya had this to say about City Lights: this program never skates the same way twice... it's impossible to skate such a thing according to a plan. You live the program each time, and as your soul flies, that's the way you skate it, according to your feeling at each moment (from The Second Mark).

The judges never showed enough appreciation for this delightful program, deeming it too showy, and Sale/Pelletier ended up defeating Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze at 2001 Worlds. Moskvina drew the appropriate conclusions and decided to give the judges what they want - what Berezhnaya termed "love carrots" in The Second Mark (I am guessing that this has some meaning in Russian). I recognize the difficulty and intricacy of Meditation from Thaïs, a.k.a. the love carrots, but like the skaters themselves, I prefer Chaplin.

Chaplin programs often do skaters good; see Nobunari Oda and Péchalat/Bourzat for more recent examples.

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