Who danced it better? Dark Eyes

Rebecca Bross

There’s no doubt that Rebecca was one of the absolute best gymnasts of her time, but it’s hard not to admit that she never was a great dancer. She never had the grace, the rhythm and the musicality we see from other gymnasts and her music and choreography here do not help her case. This was an excellent routine from her, it was great to see her performing so well after a disappointing fall on balance beam and her tumbling, her leaps and her turns are brilliantly executed. There are plenty of things I love about this routine, but her dance is not one of them.

Bogusia Rossen

This is such a promising performance. Bogusia is still very young, so this routine does not have the drama and the maturity we’ve seen from others but it’s still beautifully choreographed. The low to the floor part is absolutely brilliant and she works very well with her music, while trying to show elegance and personality. She still has a long way to go but I’m very excited to see what she can do on floor once she’s older.

Maria Kharenkova

Masha is a beautiful gymnast, with lovely lines and this choreography shows off her elegance and her flexibility but it’s not really the kind of routine that someone would want to watch over and over again. Her quality of movement is lovely, but her choreography is not something special and she doesn’t perform her routine to the crowd as well as she could, so I find this routine rather indifferent, especially compared to this masterpiece she had as a junior.

Maddie Gardiner

I absolutely adore this routine from Maddie. The choreography is absolutely beautiful, there are so many little details in the routine and every single movement is perfectly synchronized with the music. I love the one-armed walkover into this lovely low to the floor choreography, and even though I wish Maddie was a tiny bit more expressive, I always enjoy this performance and I still go back to watch it four years later.

Nastia Liukin

When you listen to “Dark Eyes” Nastia’s routine is the one that will most likely come to mind. This performance is iconic and it certainly is the most famous interpretation of this song. I do think that her choreography is overrated and that it’s certainly not the masterpiece NBC made it to be, but it still is quite beautiful to watch. It’s true that most of her choreography is comprised by poses but there are still lots of great qualities in this performance. I absolutely love her lines and flexibility, her low to the floor choreography, her leaps and her ending pose and that bitch face is absolutely perfect for this music. We also need to remember that this routine was performed under a code that didn’t exactly encourage artistry and even though it could have been better, it was still much more artistic than most of the performances we saw during that quad.

Kathy Johnson

What a beauty! Kathy is such a graceful gymnast and this lovely, balletic routine really highlights her strengths. Her carriage, her musicality and her quality of movement are lovely, her choreography is beautiful and she moves with incredible fluidity. This is just magical to watch.

Daniela Silivas

Only a small part of Daniela’s floor music is “Dark Eyes” but I love this routine so much that it was impossible for me not to include it. She was such a special gymnast, who combined power and elegance in a way that very few do. She was innovative, she was graceful, she was charismatic and she knew how to put up a great performance. She has excellent choreography, she has a smile that lights up the entire arena and the crowd absolutely adores her.

Svetlana Lebedinskaya

This routine is just poetry in motion, but would you expect anything less from a Soviet gymnast? If you ignore the slightly weird commentary and focus on the way she dances, you will immediately fall in love with her work. She’s just gorgeous. She moves with such grace and fluidity, she feels her music, she puts her heart and soul into her dance and it’s simply stunning. Her choreography is beautiful, her toe point is to die for and she shows incredible elegance and flexibility. You can see all the hours she has spent on the ballet bar and all the effort that went into making this routine. For me, this is the best interpretation of this song.

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 gif credit: nastiasliukin

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