who do you think are the top 5 female skaters in terms of artistry? :)
Well, I don’t know enough after figure skating history to tell you who I think are the top five artistic skaters, because most will list Janet Lynn and other pre-1990s skaters among the greatest artists, but I honestly don’t know enough about their skating to say so.
Disclaimer: These are my personal preferences, so I understand that people may disagree with them. But I’d still like to point out that this is not a percursor to a twenty-page paper as to why skater A wiggles her eyebrows to the music better than skater B. You’ve got fan forums for that.
(Also, FOR NEWER FANS, please keep an open mind about some of these programs as they were performed under the 6.0 system. Maybe the technical contents of these ladies weren’t as “clean” or “superior” to those of current amateur skaters, but their artistry certainly is in my opinion.)
I actually don’t know much about Kristi Yamaguchi’s skating since she’s got many programs between her years on the amateur circuit and even more successful years on the pro circuit. But I can recall two programs that she’d done after turning professional. One was Madame Butterfly and the other one was O Mio Babbino Caro. You can see that she understands the music and moves really well with it—and those arms! Very graceful and gentle.
Lu Chen, another World Champion (1995), was also a very lovely artistic skater. To be honest, I liked her 1995-96 SP Spring Breezebetter than I liked Michelle’s SPfrom that year. Her arm movements in that program (especially in her spins) were absolutely wonderful—a few select current amateur skaters could really learn from her how to do that. Other programs worth mentioning are her Rachmaninoff program, The Last Emperor, Adios Nonino, and Butterfly Lovers.
Y’all must be outta your minds if you thought I was going to skip out on Michelle Kwan. Nuh uh, no siree! My all-time favorites include: Romanza, Salome, Dream of Desdemona, Lyra Angelica, and East of Eden. Spartacus from 2005 Nationals is also a favorite of mine, but too bad Morozov used recycled choreography on that program. I also actually liked her Bolero too (the one that the great Christopher Dean choreographed earlier in the season, NOT the monstrosity that Nikolai Morozov effed up for Nationals and Worlds).
It’s really too bad Sasha Cohen was never able to win a World title—she was deemed much too inconsistent under the 6.0 era to do so (but these ladies nowadays are arguably even more so). Her Malaguena short program is still one of my all-time favorite SPs and Dark Eyesis probably one of the few things that Nikolai Morozov has ever gotten right. David Wilson also choreographed a very beautiful Romeo and Juliet for Sasha that he could never do for Ashley Wagner.
If you ask the right people, they’ll tell you that Akiko Suzuki is the one that reminds them the most of Michelle Kwan. It’s not an assessment that I disagree with, because I think we see the same joy that accompanied Michelle’s skating with Akiko. Her partnership with Pasquale Camerlengo has produced three of my favorite free skating programs: Die Fledermaus, O from Cirque du Soleil, and The Phantom of the Opera.
Alissa Czisny was never known for her jumps or her consistency, but her spins have always been breathtakingly beautiful. There’s a kind of elegance that she has that most of her compatriots lack, and she’s got a way of mesmerizing the crowd (but some argue that it is because she doesn’t actually deviate from “puurtty music”). Programs to watch: The Swan, Moon River, and La vie en rose
If you would like to read a series of absolutely exhausting essays on why “Queen Yuna Kim’s programs are better than everyone else’s everrrr,” go to one of the forums. You’ll love the debates about “high class” and “these are things common people won’t understand.” Either way, she is one of my favorite skaters, and my picks for her best programs are: The Lark Ascending, Danse Macabre, Piano Concerto in F, Meditation de Thais, andHomage to Korea.