Love Things French....

Here is a routine with a certain "je-ne-sais-quoi" that I have watched with a melting heart:

Actually, I think I know quite clearly which two things move me in this exercise and one is, obviously, the level of technical mastery. Strong work: look the first pirrouette, and look at the risky catches.

Unsurprisingly, what I enjoy even more is the artistic aspect, not fully developped, yet, showing through in a subtle way. In other words, the gymnast is not fully "living" the music, not in every movement, but the parts where she does put more expression are touching and beautiful. I think the opening could use some more "flare," for lack a of a better word.

French music demands a very strong personality, though coupled with an unimposing gracefulness. Many gymnasts, including groups, have excelled at interpreting it, but it takes work, and I also think it takes time for the emotions to weave into the routine smoothly. You can look detached, you can look less dynamic, and you can look, not unelegant, but somehow not harmonious, if you don't really get deeply into it emotionally. Clearly, this gymnast is on her way to "filling" and also "feeling" the music, a marvelous task. Once she does, it should feel both dramatic and bittersweet.

Another routine to watch with French music and a vocal is Sara Staykova's ribbon where, eventually, the goal may become to "flirt" with the audience:

I wonder how Ganna Rizatdinova would flourish in a similar musical choice. She might make a better French lady than she makes a Carmen. A less loud,yet absolutely gripping charm.


Another Bulgarian in the Finals: A Swan in Any Color

You know I love it when Bulgarian gymnasts perform well and the young Radina Filpova, who just placed 8th with hoop at the World Cup event in Lisbon is another example. Here is her final-worthy routine:

I really enjoyed the throws of the hoop, especially the catch in a backscale that she does. Her pirouettes may need some work on the shape of the leg and height of the releve, but she performed them especially cleanly in this event.

A couple of years ago, I watched videos of Radina, where she had to perform the same routine twice, once with a black leotard and once with a white one because of a problem with the music or some other issue. I remember thinking that she looked equally beautiful as a white swan and as a black swan! But at the time she had not become part of the national team.

I don't know if these are videos from the same event, but here she is, definitely doing the same routine with different leotards.  She has improved her expression a lot since 2011, but her distinguishingly long arms and legs were always beautiful to watch.

Black swan:

White swan:

Radina is less established in the national team than Mateva, Vladinova and Staykova, but I hope she will get the chance to show her best quality work at other competitions soon. She moves with grace in any color and many fans find her simply beautiful to watch, but I think as she adds more difficulty to her routines, she can become completely spell-bounding.


Neviana Vladinova Leaps Ahead of the Competition

Another short post about Neviana with very expressive photos by Dimo Dimov!

Neviana makes me very proud because she dares to dream and to go beyond what people can expect. Her recent finals with hoop and ribbon have really shown that she deserves to become part of the world elite. What distinguishes her is the risk, the artistic presence on the carpet, and the excellent choice of music that really brings out her personal style and character.

Good luck, Neviana! Stay strong!