Japan’s ladies show how to live performances

Mao Asada, Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami at 2013 Four Continents Championships

By Vladislav Luchianov

At the 2013 Four Continents Championships in Osaka Japanese ladies Mao Asada, Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami deeply impressed the audience with their short programs today.

At the moment the entire podium belongs to Japan and it is well deserved.

When Mao Asada perfectly performed her famous triple axel, the arena in Osaka has exploded with enthusiastic shouts from the audience. But that was only the beginning. Throughout Mao’s program to I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin, which is choreographed by Lori Nichol, I have absolutely no extraneous thoughts in my head. You know, when you look some usual skater’s program, you often have thoughts like “Well, now she’s going to do this (or that) jump… ok, and now she’s going to do a cascade….” And so on.

Mao Asada performs SP at Four Continents Championships

Today, Mao did not let go of her program even for one second. Yes, she really got the rhythm. It was not just a rhythm – it was a life on the ice. As well as her teammates, Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami, she didn’t skated or just performed – she lived the performance! To skate and to live a performance are very different things. Today’s performances of all three Japanese ladies were of the major league level.

The major league level is when you’re not thinking about the elements and components of the program. They are so well prepared and trained that your level of skating is very different from the others. These skaters glide over the ice so easily that your attention is completely absorbed by the image they convey to you. All you want to do is just enjoy their performances.

Akiko Suzuki was just amazing today in her Kill Bill short program choreographed by Anjelika Krylova. When you look at this figure skater, it becomes a bit sad that the next season will be her last one in the competitive figure skating. She is in such an excellent sporting shape that fans just do not want to let her go.

Akiko Suzuki performs SP at 2013 Four Continents Championships

Her new short program is revealed to us another Akiko, very passionate and thus, even more beautiful. Flawless execution of all necessary elements also looked very natural and clean.

Kanako Murakami also impressed the audience by her soulful program of Prayer for Taylor. Everything looked very clean, harmonious and with a deep meaning. I repeat, this high level of performance can be achieved when you begin to live your program. Not just to skate, not just to execute and not just to perform – to live the performance with all its images, senses and meanings.

Kanako Murakami performs SP at Four Continents Championships

Very close to this understanding came American Christina Gao, who always had a very good sense of music. Her technique has grown significantly over the past year and I think that Christina will develop all the confidence she felt during today’s short program.

Another American skater Gracie Gold, Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond, China’s Kexin Zhang and many others are certainly very talented. But they still had a lot to learn and this is absolutely normal. With the right approach their talent will greatly expand in the coming years. I guess it’s very good that they compete on the same ice with renowned giants. Japanese trio can teach a lot of things. The most important of them is how to stop just skating and start living your performances.

Photo: Zimbio, @tokitama_fs, @toramomo_tweet

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