Saturday, March 30, 2013

Look at the speed skater esque drive around the end of the rink at the end of this gif with the leg swing that kicks into the first cross-over. The turn around the end of the rink is, of course, preceeded by two hops. Hop hop hop. Once you see it, you can't stop seeing it. They constantly need to hop in order to keep up the speed or appearance of speed - they can't generate it with edges and stroking. And it's also obvious that instead of running a move out on an edge, they HOP.

For me, the most amusing non-skater part of this program is Charlie's smile. He's doing this cheese-eating angel smile with his arm expansively open to the crowd - and the smile is always aimed towards the crowd, not his partner.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Getting Started

I was going to do the waltz first, then Giselle, but I've decided to alternate. There are more Giselle gifs than waltz gifs, because VM sustain their moves and DW don't. In order to properly look at DW, the skate needs to be deconstructed, and their moves are shorter and busier - hence, more gifs.

As I type this the gifs aren't loaded yet, but the idea now is to do VM gif, then DW gif (or gifs) showing the comparable point in their program, and then VM, and back to DW.  And I may comment on some gifs as I go but most of the comments will be plugged in later.

I'm alternating because I see in the comments section that some DW fans claim Tessa's lines aren't THAT good. That's some uppity judgment from fans of the skating of Meryl Davis, I'll say that much.  However, as wonderful as Tessa's lines are, it's where her blade meets the ice that she buries both Meryl and Charlie, and as wonderful as that is her body in space is a thing of beauty - her control, her timing, her awareness, her stretch through her core and to the tips of her fingers, and her musicality.

Just watch the feet - not on the big moves but the in betweens.

Multiple unsupported pirhouettes perfectly tracking Scott's (one foot) glide into a running edge. Man, Tessa is so overrated. 

I'm not understanding the stuff before the twizzles. What is it? Is Meryl walking backwards in there? She's got both feet on the ice doing it. What is Charlie doing? At the end of the twizzles proper is where they pull their bodies UP instead of maintaining an edge out of the twizzles. I'll look at the hop later.

Everybody does a little toe pick scampering and two footing but these two are in a class by themselves.  After the full program gif comparison is uploaded, there will be smaller gifs of a number of intersticials in DW's program where it's like they just fucking forget to stay on one foot. They're the only ice dancers I've seen who actually randomly walk.

Continuing tomorrow.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rest Stop

I've named this post after the Davis White gif below.

I thought the Worlds 2013 short dance comparison would be more about questioning what Davis White did to earn 77 points and not so much that Virtue Moir should have kicked their ass.

But after cutting up Giselle into 20+ segments (that will become gifs)  because the program is just that choppy (and sloppy, especially at the end), and after breaking up Virtue and Moir's waltz into segments numbering in the teens, both are at issue. WTF with Giselle's 77 points and Virtue Moir, as skated, should have kicked their ass.

As an admirer of Virtue and Moir's skating, it's really an experience to cut the program up into easy viewing segments and therefore see what Tessa Virtue is doing out there. She can outskate Meryl Davis and Charlie White every day of the week and twice on Sunday - her blade run is stunning.

Even in a performance they felt was not their best, Virtue and Moir's feet and blades were obviously cleaner, their moves were sharper and better articulated, but most of all, the sustained edges and run of blade compared to Davis White puts them in a class apart. This should have been no contest - as skated.

When the short dance comparison is posted, I'll with start with Virtue and Moir's waltz so everyone can scrutinize that disappointing showing, and then it will be the turn of that 77 point wonder program, skated clean, so clearly Davis White partisans have nothing to bitch about. Surely Davis White's skating will prove itself to have clearly been the best.

For now in this pause post, I want to show a gif from Weaver & Poje's short program for future reference, especially when Davis White's program is gifed later. It's a nice piece of edge work and got a shout out from the Eurosport guys.

Here's Tessa with a throwaway move:

The more I watch Scott and Tessa, it's so obvious why Davis White are beating them in pcs. Tessa Virtue can't ever hope to master the clean lines and beautiful blade work and sustained edges Meryl puts down even when she's not skating her best. Let's not even address control of every inch of her body in space.

There is something Davis White's program had (and Weaver & Poje's program also had) that Virtue Moir's did not:

A big honking rest stop right in the middle of the program.

Tessa and Scott don't have one. Their program flows like a spool of thread unwinding.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The coup de gras

It took me a second to remember what this was. After the spin they go directly into the lift where Meryl ends on a knee slide - so she's on her knee at the start of this because she's exited the lift.

The feet - WTF?

We're in the home stretch. Still not sure how CoP categorizes this part.

This program was originally conceived to help them skate more interdependently and intricately, and by the end they appeared so spooked by the experiment that this program ends up putting more ice between them than their previous 3 seasons' worth of programs combined.

This program is ridiculous. And the skating is - what happened?
After the last tango gif below Meryl and Charlie repeat and end up with Meryl doing that weird step around turn where she's on both feet using her heel and flats, and I'm not sure what skating they're showing. That gif is two posts below.

Again, when I say "repeat" I mean another two seconds repeating the same footwork with the same quality and same out-of-dance-frame simultaneous turn followed by Charlie lunging to close the gap. If this is something anyone thinks elevates the quality of the program and shows Meryl and Charlie's superior quality, I'll gif it.

Oh, here's the 2 foot turn. I gifed it again because it leads to my favorite thing;

Again at the end - what IS that? (See gif two posts down for 'we were gonna do something big then didn't and just pretended we did').

Okay - what are they doing? What are they doing with their 'edges'? What are they doing with their free legs? What style dance is this? What's with the hot foot? Why are they kicking? Is there gum on their boots?

Somebody throw Charlie a $20.00.

The above leads to their twizzles. We know what they look like:

I'm sure the judges noticed they were more than 2 arm
lengths apart. But the matching lines - divine.

It was the brilliance of these two elements in a row that probably put them over the top.

Look at Charlie go. Lunge Charlie, lunge. Look at how neat the feet are, look at those edges, look at that tango quality.

Seriously, what the fuck are they doing in this part? It's like they're just desperately waving their feet in the direction of the ice or the air, and then Charlie hauls Meryl around, then it's time for a breather which = knee slide.

I don't know what this is. Charlie is on two feet a lot, he hoists Meryl off hers, there's a bunch of flinging and bam - another rest stop.

Out of the uber tango stationery posing, into the spin where Meryl does the first revolution on a flat. Charlie even helps her in by pulling her hips (as he always does).  These are the pirhouettes discussed before.

But you know what sets it apart? The details. When they 'step out' of their little pose prior to the spin, they're doing the same step except Meryl's bent knee lifts her skate off the ice and Charlie doesn't bother.

Concluded next post.

Sometimes even two can't tango

These two can. Below for comparison is Virtue and Moir's 'Assasination Tango' - their 2007 od.

At the bottom of this post are some twirl gifs from Valse Triste.

Then there's this:

Look at all that nothing. They surge towards each other and then -
no contact. There's a ton of posing, they're like oh the awesome
is about to start and then - 2 foot glide with Meryl propped on him.
But okay - they're just getting started. I'm sure things will improve.
 After this gif they stroke into the shotput lift nope, the drop the baby lift or whatever that hug-Charlie-dangle-from-trouser-leg lift is called.

If anyone thinks the stroking into the "got something on my shoe" lift is gold medal calibre, call me out and I'll gif it too. I'm aware this is all on youtube so it's not like I can use editing to fake like DW suck and keep it a secret.

And this is what they do after the shot put.trouser leg hang.
As we proceed, please note all the hard work Charlie devotes to not skating this program. He's on the street corner shaking it like the rent is due but he's not doing anything! He may as well be on some sort of dude pole in a club where women toss dollars at guys with great hair.

After Charlie swings Meryl onto his knee they stroke into the next lift  - you can see which one. Which leads into the next example of fantabulous edge work above.

This is some footwork after the previous glide move. Look at the 'speed', look at the size of the curves in the ice, look at the distance between the bodies and the feet and the body lines, and look at Charlie lunge back into frame after they do a simultaneous twirl.

Continuation of previous - at the end Charlie twirls again and has to lunge to close the gap, which, let's be real, you can already pretty much drive a truck through even when they're in hold.

Tango continued in next post. To close, here are baby Scott and Tessa in their first senior Worlds where they finished 6th.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ice Dance isn't just twizzles and spins

This is more of a placeholder. I went to Meryl and Charlie's tango when I started pulling material together for the lift post, because that's their first World Championship. As it happens, some of the tango content made me think of VM's 2007 Worlds performance of Valse Triste. Some of the moves seemed similar, although execution and "style" very different. So I went to Valse Triste, too.

I realize the best way to go on with this is to look at all the performances since VM and DW started going head-to-head, and just cut all of the components and elements up into gifs and stills. So it's time consuming, but mother of God, some of the stuff in the tango is like - SERIOUSLY? The "seriously"? moments occur so frequently they derail me off task.

The Maurizio Margaglio of 2001 would be challenged to compete in the areas of two foot skating and wide stance leg planting in DW's performance of their tango at Worlds, not to mention how can I skate with a partner while staying as far apart as I can. Some of the gifs are called wtf in my hard drive.

I want to organize them not just vis a vis Valse Triste, but vis a vis the program Virtue Moir did the same year. So as this post uses Valse Triste, consider this post a tangent.

And there's more tangent to come - the Tango and Valse Triste are going to have a twirl off.

You know, a team of dancers are footworking it down the ice, as you do, and let's have some twirls. In Scott and Tessa's case, they both twirl. Scott doesn't like Tessa to have to twirl alone. If she twirls, he twirls, and the best part is they stay within their dance frame. 

In the tango twirling, Charlie tends to twirl Meryl without twirling himself. Where they twirl simulaneously, it's not in dance frame - rather, they line themselves up a la twizzles or a la "let's run to our separate corners!" When done, Charlie makes a mighty lunge towards Meryl to get back into dance frame. Then generally they throw in another twirl where she does another one without him. It's all about doing a lot of stuff. But when you break it up and take the 'stuff' piece by piece, then mother fucker. Talk about the judges deciding to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts - even though CoP explicitly is supposed to be the sum of the parts.

So a Valse Triste v. Tango twirl-off will be another post, mostly because it just cracks me up how happily and easily and with what elan 2007 Scott just twirls his skates off in dance frame with Tessa, while the 2011 Charlie has to go to another rink if he's intending to twirl at the same time as Meryl. He also lifts her a lot so she can kick or do some type of stag pose. But very low to the ice, otherwise I think Charlie's wide legged leg stance would turn into the splits.

So much material, it's created tangents, and this is the first. But I will get back to contemporary VM versus contemporary DW.

First up for the tangent, a rotational lift gif from Davis and White's World Championship performance in 2011:
Wow - that's just fabulous figure skating. If Charlie's legs were planted any wider while rotating he'd be a weather vane. Dangling Meryl off an arm while he hauls her like a sack of laundry. And of course, set Meryl down on a freaking knee slide  (she's got a two-handed overhead grip on his hand, naturally) . We don't want to accidentally look as if we can control our skating at any point whatsoever during this move.
Scott's doing a curve lift into a rotational. Look at his feet, so neatly in a first position (heels closed) while rotating. Look at Tessa set down on an edge.

Plus - Tessa bends forward into the lift without putting her hands on Scott - she reaches behind her back for her skate WHILE she's rotating into position so she's already in position when the curve begins. They get into the lift using the propulsion from her entrance edge and the way she's rotating her body forward. He's not hauling her up and she's not grabbing onto him. Oh - look ma, no hands during the curve, while she's neatly folded against him, motionless in the catch foot.

Scott generates rotational momentum entirely off his own fucking edge curve while his partner is draped across him. He's not getting rotation off the launch, off the energy of his partner adding her impetus to his as she gets into the lift. It's off pure edge.

They were so young. Such a shame they haven't grown, unlike Charlie and Meryl.

I think the above is their curve lift. As usual it takes four arms to hoist Meryl into position, and Charlie's skate blade is rocking like the Oakland coliseum during an earthquake. It looks a little more blade flat than curved to me, but what they lack in 'curve' they make up for with aesthetically pleasing position, wouldn't you say? Let us note that Meryl as usual needs to lean on Charlie for ballast to steady herself after the set down.

Here are some stills from one of their famous lifts that they've been doing since Dubya was president.

The whole thing is more than a little bit "Sebastien Wolfe and Jessica Dube debut at Philadelphia's Liberty summer comp."

Imagine if Meryl weighed any more. Would Charlie have a hernia out there? Look at him.

Some bonus gifs.


Wide stance on two feet, dragging Meryl who is hanging on with both fucking hands. Why no bungee cords?

This up there is an example of the non-skating filler, clock-killing shit that permeates their choreoraphy.

What just happened here? Charlie's got his arms wide, making like he's gonna catch her or something else exciting is about to transpire, but she basically jumps and lands on her two feet while all his open his arms, fling them back, bend his knees went nowhere. It's very "oops, missed the last stair." What was this about?

Charlie lifts his arm so she can twirl or turn but she just steps around on both feet. Alrighty then.

When Tessa and Scott lost their World Championship title to this exemplary performance, the Moirs commenced bitching about which team were the better dancers. Seriously, maybe they should have wondered why the lesser SKATERS took the title.