20 of the Best Skating Programs from the Fall of 2016

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US Adam Rippon competes in the senior Men Free program at the ISU Grand Prix of figure skating Final, on December 10, 2016 in Marseille, southern France. / AFP / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

From the difficult and stirring long program of the reigning men’s Olympic champion to a poetic junior free dance, the best pieces of choreography we’ve seen so far this season.

Figure skating is a sport, but it is also an art. The best programs, by the best skaters, are ones you marvel to see when they are first debuted. You look forward to watching them when those who skate them are in an upcoming competition. When those skaters take to the ice, you hope they skate clean, simply to do their programs justice. Once they appear on YouTube, you head there to watch them again, and again. Sometimes, years later, they get listed as classics of the sport.

Some say the Code of Points scoring system, now in use for over a decade, stifled the creativity of the sport, and doomed all competitive programs to be cookie-cutter imitations of each other. Perhaps there were indeed a few years where there weren’t very many memorable new programs. But the best choreographers and skaters could always work with it. Meanwhile, everyone now is long used to the system, most have learned how to be creative within it, and the rules themselves have undergone various changes to help.

Although not all the skaters we’ll see compete in the 2016-2017 season have made their debuts, most now have. We’ve gotten a chance to see and evaluate what they’ve put out there. Here are twenty programs that have stood out, grabbed attention, made good use of their choreography and their skaters, and are the ones we’ll rewatch when the season’s over.