First: here's the ISU's Communication 1738: Ice Dance
ice dance scoring
Here's the extract on twizzles:
This Communication isn't the alpha and omega of twizzle scoring. It represents adjustments and clarifications to the scoring, I believe, and so should be understood in context, even if at the moment I'm not providing the context because I have to review the primary document first, not just this addendum.
Curious how they define simultaneous. "Roughly at the same time?" "Don't start without your partner?" and how they differentiate when one team is a bit more simultaneous than another.
But back to that one thing that jumps out:
"Set of twizzles reflect the character of the chosen dance"
Wow Meryl and Charlie. Your twizzles reflect the character of sultry rumbas, prancy, skippy, happy, effervescent classical ballets, Yankee Polkas, Bollywood pastiches, big exuberant waltzes, tragic, theatrical adagios, AND tangos.
I know when they jumped into their twizzles in 2011 I thought - now THAT is tango character! No wonder they won Worlds that year! Same with Giselle. What is more Giselle than THOSE twizzles? They have such ballet character!
These twizzles are as magical as Charlie's hair.
Fast rotation of twizzles is, I believe, the speed of rotation around the skater's axis.
Twizzles executed at great speed is, I believe, the speed with which they travel down the ice.
Unremarked is what if you swerve left and right while also traveling forward? What if there is very often more than two arm lengths between yourself and your partner?
Of course, one observes that there is wriggle room built into these rules. Such as the word "Generally". As long as you are "generally" less than two arm lengths apart, does it really matter, in a move that lasts barely seconds, that you spend "some of the time" more than two arm lengths apart? Does that really mean you shouldn't be scored better than or the same as a team that's twizzling about an arm and a half apart (and even closer) while in unison? You're still doing it pretty much!
Surely when we watch Meryl and Charlie (and Gilles & Poirier for that matter) it's easy to see they generally meet this standard. They're twizzling close enough to reach out and hold hands at any point (right? Length of two arms?). (sarcasm!)
I think Scott and Tessa crush it with "character of the dance". They fucking crush it.
I think the ISU is judging a negative with Meryl and Charlie - meaning, judging the absence of something: "Well, it's not NOT in the character of the dance."
I can see not getting penalized for their twizzles not being in the character of the dance, because as long as they are placed well, they'll work with the music.
However. To actually take on board an extra GOE because the ISU has decided that no matter what Davis White do, short dance or long, those two hop and reach, catch foot and behind the back twizzles are in the character of the dance they're doing - no matter what dance it is? Every assigned pattern dance to date, and all of their long programs?
Again - enough to boost GOE specifically for twizzling in the character of the dance. There's plenty of stuff that penalizes you if you fail to do something, and I don't see these twizzles requiring a penalty - but to reward Davis White GOE for this? Really?
Why do Scott and Tessa even bother? In figure skating, skaters are judged relative to each other. But the ISU doesn't give a shit that Scott and Tessa's twizzles superbly reflect the character of the dance? Really? There's no difference there?
About the fast rotation of twizzles - well, suppose you jump into them with your upper body pitched forward and your quadracep and skate blade angled away from your body. You reach back and grab that skate blade and pull it in, going out of synch with your partner for that instant, but then you straighten out and your magical hair is whirring like a helicopter's blades. Where's the hair score? As long as your hair is swirling, the position of your body, your unison with your partner, the stability of your traverse across the ice (relative to your main competition's) is all eh meh who cares?
What's a fast rate of speed? Compared to whose? The other skater's hair which might be gelled and therefore not whipping about as impressively as yours?
I see "exit with running edge maintained" is a + 1 with no reference as to quality and duration of running edge, so Scott and Tessa, you totally wasted your time with the Carmen twizzles.
In the primary document, I would like to see if aspects such as unison of body line and synchronization are addressed, and also if the ISU cares or not if a twizzle is executed on a bent knee, as is your partner's, but not the same degree of bending, so you're sort of out of unison body line wise even in your flaws. If it is a flaw. Perhaps the ISU says the working leg in a twizzle just needs to be "mostly" straight.
Just looking at this it seems to me that Davis White are getting +1 and +1 for rotating quickly around their individual axis and for traveling across the ice at a rate of speed, and the ISU is not really scoring them relative to Virtue and Moir's speed. We all KNOW Davis and White are fast! Why verify?
I will need to look at the document that THIS document supplements for the answer to these additional questions.
P.S. - some skating fans will remember Sandra Loosemore's figure skating website. That page was always good for some clarification when fans got too worked up. "Character of the music" has been a thing for years, and fans run with it a little too far - further than the ISU has ever cared to travel.
As an example, fans might declare that some fabulous Russian diva embodies the tango to where she has become tango itself, and scoff that some little white bread school girl is about as much a tango dancer as my pet poodle.
But, the ISU doesn't care about that sort of theatre shit, unless everything else is equal, which it almost never is, except if Virtue Moir and Davis White are competing against each other in an event.
The ISU was really lowest common denominating things there with "character of music". Possibly it's the same with "character of the dance". In a sport that includes I/K's "Ghost" program, and previously included Maxim Shabalin swinging Oksana around by the bungee cords, it's apparently something the ISU needs to spell out. So, it means this: If you are skating to Strauss waltzes, don't finish by killing your partner on the ice. If you've got Sade on your program cd, don't polka. That sort of thing. You know if the ISU didn't put this out people would do all that and more.
However, it's one thing to say "You must skate in the character of the music" (or dance) or risk a penalty, as in the hypotheticals above.
It's another to award a grade of execution point for doing it. This is a bonus. Davis and White are getting an extra point for twizzles that are in the character of the dance - by doing the same twizzles the same way in the same style for every single dance they perform. They are beating Virtue Moir in pcs.
So alrighty then. We can see that's legit as all get out.
P.S. - when a team of ice dancers such as Virtue and Moir come along and elevate what it means to twizzle "in the character of the dance", as they have, shouldn't the ISU recognize that the bar has been raised, just as they do when figure skating progresses from singles to doubles to triples to quads? When somebody started doing a quad salchow it got more points than a triple salchow. And when someone came along and did a triple salchow that was manifestly higher and covered more ice while airborne, that elevated the GOE of a triple salchow at least when the skater was competing against a less awesome salchow.
Or was the jumper wasting their time? Should Valosozhar's 3 twist REALLY get the highest GOE when you figure that other pairs do very nice, sharp split 3 twists - get on up there, the twist is tight, the catch is clean? Aren't V&T wasting their time getting WAY high in the air? Why shouldn't the pairs skaters who get pretty okay height get the same GOE? Figure skating is supposed to stagnate. I'm sure I will find that in the primary scoring manifesto somewhere.