Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet is probably the best music Ashley Wagner could have picked this season. That's why I'm so sad the program is dull and rather shapeless, aside from the opening and the ending. Even more than that, it simply does not showcase a lot of Ashley's best qualities. "Dance of the Knights" is a perfect musical piece for Ashley - it is aggressive and staccato, which are her natural body rhythms. And yet, that piece of music from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet is not found in Ashley's program (in any significant way). This is a HUGE mistake! Here is that selection of music, for those who do not know - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdXXk6xtFuU&t=1m10s
This post will detail all of the changes I would be making to Ashley's program, were I her coach and choreographer. I will reference her current program via this link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga7wIlljXMM
Before I even get into all of the proposed musical and choreographic changes of the program, I need to state that Ashley does not have a "real" Triple-Triple combination. She cheats the jump by pre-rotating on her toepick during the takeoff and all 5 of her attempts at it in competition this season have been underrotated, by my standard. The actual technical panels have ratified it 3/5 times, which is a pretty good amount, but if it becomes well known and agreed upon amongst the tech specialists that she is cheating this jump, then she will be micro-analyzed on it and likely not receive full credit at the Olympics. This technical issue is very unlikely to be something Ashley can fix in time for the Olympics, especially since Arutunian is letting her get away with it still. This is the guy who fixed Mao Asada's toeloop technique so that she stopped pre-rotating on the takeoffs, don't forget. If he couldn't fix Ashley's by now, it's not happening in time for the Olympics.
As such, my plan for Ashley's Long Program will not include the Triple-Triple. She needs to do it in the Short Program - both to show the judges "look, see, I can do it if I want to" and also because an underrotated Triple is still worth a little more than Double - but in the Long Program it very likely will not help her. Even IF she gets full credit for the Triple-Triple in the Long Program, it probably won't even boost her technical score as compared to other program layouts, as I previously explained here - http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/sho...l=1#post792455
Okay, so now you understand where I'm coming from. Let's get into the details of the program. The current opening she has is very good and should be kept, everything up through the spread eagle and brief spiral position, seen at 1:02 through 1:09 (remember to refer to her current program as I talk about it - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga7wIlljXMM). The only change here is that her 3Flip+3Toe attempt should become a 3Flip+2Loop+2Loop. She did that combination in the past and it should be brought back. +2Loop+2Loop combinations are key in building up technical scores; it is worth an entire point more than +2Toe+2Toe combinations, which is part of why the Triple-Triple attempt is not worth including in the LP for Ashley - it tires her out and forces her to only be able to tack on +2Toe+2Toe later in the program. Ashley should also be able to do the 3Flip+2Loop+2Loop at the start here with a bit more transitional movement than the 3Flip+3Toe, since it doesn't require quite as much unwavering focus.
Now then, after her spread eagle and brief spiral position I just referenced, this is where the real changes to the program will start. She will immediately go into a combination spin with change of foot at center rink. The spin will start with a forward camel, go down into broken leg sit, change foot with a jump into a back tuck sit spin, and then pull up into an upright cross-leg spin (with as expressive of free arm positions as she can accomplish for this music). The spin will end by 1:25 and we will hear a new music edit at 1:28, with "Dance of the Knights" making its first appearance. Ashley will build up speed for a 3Sal as she does in the current program and her footwork sequence will come directly afterward, obviously with modified choreography for this different piece of music. Having "Dance of the Knights" throughout her whole foot sequence will provide a much more solid base for her and allow the program to actually present a complete idea here. I'm sorry, but that current footwork sequence has too much going on and gets a bit lost in the woods.
At 2:18 the music will change back to her current cut. The loop turn at that point of the footwork sequence can be kept; it's a great way to squeeze in a requirement for the sequence while working with softer music. Right after that movement Wagner will go into her flying corkscrew sit spin just as she does currently, but instead of doing more sit spin positions she will change foot to a forward camel spin, then change to a sideways layback, and then to a haircutter layback. We are giving her the highest base value spins possible in this program, using the least amount of time possible and the cleanest positions possible. There's no reason why she should still be doing flying sit spin and layback spin on their own in her Long Program; it's an unnecessary loss of base value and she isn't getting any special choreographic value or GOE scores from those spins. She is perfectly capable of doing higher base value spins, I've seen her do so many different variations throughout her career and that ability is not being utilized.
As we move into the second half of Ashley's program, this slow section will not change too drastically from the current program. At 2:49 she will still do the spiral position, but instead of a spread eagle into a 3Loop, she will instead do turning three's here. This jump will also not be in combination. Instead, after the landing, I want her to build speed and perform gently explosive upward arm movements at 3:02 with the crescendo of the music. She will then go into her Lutz, as in the current program. Afterwards will come a spread eagle into 3Loop+2Axel sequence. Moving that element to here will provide a much more impressive contrast for the sudden music change at 3:21. We will keep that brief piece of music heard in the current program, but afterwards will be a new music edit, where the program will return to "Dance of the Knights".
This new musical selection will provide a much stronger buildup for Ashley's next two elements (both jumps), creating a contrast to the slower section we were just in and reestablishing the theme introduced earlier in the program. This is where Ashley can throw everything she's got into the arena, utilizing sharp and relentless arm movements and stroking across the ice. She'll go into a 3Flip at 3:38 and then have a short section of choreography in a semi-circular pattern before building up speed again and going down the other end of the rink. At 5:53 the music will return to what she has in the current program, shortly after which she will perform a 3Toe+2Axel sequence. After coming out of it she will do a split jump and quickly build up speed for a forward change of edge spiral, which will start at 4:07 with the swell of the music. Expect very dramatic arm movements.
After the spiral, starting at 4:14, the program will resume with the current choreography. The split jump into forward lunge is brilliant and obviously must be kept. Her final spin of the program will be slightly modified. She will do a backwards camel entrance into upside down position, just as she currently does, but then she'll change foot to a forward inside camel, and then change after a couple rotations to an outside edge camel with an upward catch-foot position. These are the exact features she used in her combination spin last year, but now it's a Level 4 change of foot Camel spin, which gives her the highest base value possible for her spins in this program (because, remember, her two spins earlier were Level 4 change of foot Combination spins, and one spin in the program can not be a combination spin). She will end the program as she currently does, with a self-stab and double-armed neck clasp. But this time people will be uncontrollably clapping before it ends.
Base value = 61.14
Projected GOE for perfect performance = 10.7
Projected PCS for perfect performance = 70+