20 of the Best Skating Programs from the Fall of 2016

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4. Dmitri Aliev (RUS): Short Program

Of the many young Russian men up and coming, Dmitri Aliev is the most artistic. He had turned a head or two last season when he won both his Junior Grand Prix events and took silver at the Finale. This year, he’s gone even further, winning the Finale too with an expressiveness and maturity worthy of senior ranks.

This short program, choreographed by Olga Glinka, helped with that. Astor Piazolla’s “Oblivion” is common enough a music choice in skating, and impressive programs have used it before. But this take on it is a hand in glove fit to the skater. The choreography in, out, and around the elements brings out Aliev’s grace and allure, allows him to enchant and hypnotize us, with not just his limbs, but even his whole body. There are many ways to interpret which emotions the music contains. This program, appropriately enough for a young man, gives off a sense of longing, of reaching out to the dark and wide world. Though there is still a touch of command to it, such as one would expect of a man dancing the tango.

After last year’s disappointment at Junior Worlds, Aliev will likely return to it with a good chance of winning. It’s certainly no given; there’ll be strong skaters there he’d need to beat. This program might just be what gives him the edge.