Building Rail Tracks in Siberia

I’ve been watching and rewatching Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s new Carmen Free Dance, which was presented last week at Skate Canada, and it’s bloody gorgeous. The performance was flawed, as often happens in these early appointments of the season, but I hadn’t seen such an impressive Carmen since the days of Victor Petrenko’s SP in 1990-1991. Many people doubted that such a nice Anglo-Saxon couple could interpret a truly passionate Carmen against Mediterranean Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, but let alone their technical superiority, Virtue and Moir really showed us something fresh, something that could even be seminal, choreography-wise. Cappellini and Lanotte’s Carmen is reassuringly enjoyable, romantic, while Virtue and Moir’s is captivating and sinister, well it’s about love and death.

While I completely fell for Virtue and Moir’s new routine, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with Savchenko and Szolkovy, who were at Skate Canada as well. After the amazing FS they presented last year, Pina (meaning Bausch), which I totally loved, I find their new Bolero pretty unremarkable. Of course this opinion of mine must be contextualized and put into perspective. Savchenko/Szolkovy is the most accomplished couple we have in competitions and we are treated each year to new amazing routines so of course we are spoiled, or at least I am very spoiled indeed. Maybe I don’t really get the flamenco/bolero arrangement, maybe they’ll improve dramatically during the season, but so far I am tepid. Anyway, still a good opportunity to go back and watch the immortal Bolero Torvill and Dean skated back in Sarajevo.

As for the ladies, we saw a couple of repertoire routines at the Cup of China this weekend. Mao Asada skated Swan Lake while Julia Lipnitskaia performed The Nutcracker. Nice free skatings. Asada won, while a bitterly disappointed Lipnitskaia came second. These young Russian ladies, I am thinking of Lipnitskaia, Tuktamysheva, Sotnikova and so on, working hard for Sochi 2014, really are extremely focused, but at the same time they are so very young and frail-looking. They’re so different from the old Mishin stereotype.

Russian women are not very good for figure skating. They are good for building rail tracks in Siberia, for example. They are just too strong and big.

Anyway, I am so very sorry about Nan Son, who got run over by Adam Rippon during warm up and had to withdraw from the Cup of China just before the free skating. I wish him well.

Next week: Moscow
(in a Cabin Pressure voice)

Johnny Weir is already there, if you follow him on Twitter you can see photos.