20 of the Best Skating Programs from the Fall of 2016

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8. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS): Short Program

Reactions to the World Champion’s free program this year have been mixed, to say the least. But the short program Ilia Averbuch choreographed for her is gem. They describe it as being about her, and her turning from a girl into a woman. It seems to be a good time in her life for that theme, or at least watching the program convinces you of that.

It starts with the music. Yiruma’s “River Flows in You” has suffered from being thought to be from Twilight, although it, in fact, is not. Here is it used far better, to portray youth and wonder, before giving way to the more melancholy “The Winter” by Balmorhea, for the sadder part of growing up. The program takes Medvedeva through the journey with grace and feeling. Perhaps the miming at the beginning is a little obvious, but when it grows more subtle afterward it works very well. Even when the personality here isn’t that loud, the choreography is rich with it. All the while, the program showcases the exceptional beauty of her pure skating and her elements.

When she skated this program to win the Grand Prix Finale, she also broke the world record for short program score for a lady, approaching 80. She passed that mark with it in front of home judges at Russian Nationals. If she skates it as good as she probably will at Worlds, she’ll likely pass it internationally as well.