Friday, April 19, 2013

Derek Hough choreographs Davis White's Olympic short dance

Just bursting in to comment on this.

I love Derek Hough, but hands down he's the expert on helping his celebrity partners fake it. He's the most brilliant choreographer in two dimensions in the Dancing with the Stars universe. 

I say two dimensions because he finds lines and shapes, and then his choreography tends to be transitioning his partners between different "pictures".  He often links elements with athletic (not dance) maneuvers. He's a showman and shrewd. He's a good dancer and very musical in his own right, but this is how he's worked on the show, and to great effect.

I've only watched this season sporadically, and so far have been frustrated that he choreographs for Kellie Pickler exactly as he choreographs for past celebrity partners who weren't the best movers but could hit good lines and had athletic ability. He is still about going from shape to shape, and much less about the feet and the floor.

I'm curious if the short dance cleans up Davis White's slop, because however else I'd critique Hough, he favors very clear shapes, and no filler.


  1. My guess is that whatever Hough gives them, Marina will ultimately have to re-work it extensively to cover the slop. Hough will be choreography in name only, just another PR talking point.

    1. No - what I'm saying about Hough is he's slop free. He likes very clean, extremely specific shapes, and he likes them to match or be in very logical, relational counterpoint to each other.

      He will of course from the start be working WITH Marina as he's not an ice dancer, doesn't know anything about required elements, and doens't know what the blade is supposed to be doing on the ice. He doesn't know the time limits for elements, nor what a good or bad one looks like.

      It might not be the greatest match. He puts together great routines that are very mechanical - as I said, a lot of two dimensional movement and hitting a LINE. That might seem like a natural fit since he's good at making his partners, and the two of them as a dance team, appear better than they are. What more do DW need?

      But his methods rely on a key component - Derek Hough. He's got a great sense of his body in space, great timing, and could wrestle godzilla into an approximation of a finished shape out there. He's a lot of - your job is to do this, then get from here to there and I'll do the rest.

      He's the opposite of Charlie White. Davis White are so bizarre. Charlie can't connect, relate or partner to save his life, not really, not as a dancer or a skating partner. He can rehearse with, practice with and work with another person in order to execute movement as a team, but there's no mutual dependancy, no adjustments, no slight variations on phrasing or timing depending on the energy of the day.

      Hough can fake dancing when he's got a partner who can't. DW have been faking skating. I don't know if Hough's style of fake matches up well with DWs.

  2. Such a shame because Derek's work is brilliant when he works with other professionals. He could have done amazing things with Virtue Moir, who can actually dance.

    Do we even know if he's legit doing the choreography, or if he'll just show up to tweet a few photos like Alex Wong, so DW can present their usual slop and earn bonus PCS for being so ballroom? It's awfully suspicious that this was announced a week after VM were announced to be working with a choreographer from SYTYCD.

    Derek has quite the fanbase of his own, who will surely now "discover" ice dance, which will be great for the USFS. Shudder to think their first experience with it will be Meryl and Charlie. A new group of passionate fans who know nothing about what makes for good dancing on the ice and thinks judging is all about posturing, popularity, and style preferences.

  3. Tessa and Scott work with Jean-Marc Genereux 2 weeks ago ... ;)

  4. D/W are now up to three celebrity choreographers for next season.

    Elena Grinenko mentioned working with them as well for next season on twitter:

    As did Alex Wong:

    Just how many celebrity choreographers does one team need in a season?

    1. Well in the end what counts is whether D/W can translate the choreography onto the ice. So far it hasn't been successful. I've stated earlier if D/W were contestants on either Dancing with the Stars or So You think you can dance - their weakness' would be evident. So again it's the PR machine....they need to keep their name out there to counteract the publicity that V/M is getting from Stars on Ice - but really it's a bit much...

    2. I wish that was what counted in the end with translating the choreography onto the ice. They won't translate a damned thing, yet they'll get credit for it.

    3. @7:30

      Ikr. I guess we should also be waiting for the DW PR machine to include articles with these choreographers wherein they hyperventilate about DW's "awesome lines" or some such descriptions. And if we're really lucky, these choreographers will also contrast DW with VM and give their expert opinions on all the dance qualities VM lack and DW have in abundance.

      Just wait....

      And what will the VM PR machine do? Nothing. First of all because one of those things does not exist. Second, VM are focused on other things, PR-wise.

    4. WTH. This just looks stupid. 3 celebrities, 2 programs, and none of them are making it sound like they were collaborating on the same program.

    5. RME

      also lmao at the bitch on fsu calling tessa bland at least she doesnt do bland programs. m/c have 3 celebs working on their programs and i bet all my money they will probably be as white bread as their notredame fd.

    6. Think you have the wrong link, 8:15. That post was from one of Tessa's fans.

    7. opps does this work?

  5. meryl is really milking that story about her grandma being canadian - "#tbt visiting the church in which my grandparents were married #wc2013 #london" like honestly no one cares about your grandma or where you're from people watch worlds to see skaters compete not skaters using dirty pr tricks to their advantage.

    1. She wants to post a pic of the church, God bless, but tagging it with #wc2013 is tacky.

  6. "I wish that was what counted in the end with translating the choreography onto the ice. They won't translate a damned thing, yet they'll get credit for it."

    Is it only the top teams who seem to benefit from publicizing an association with a well-known ballroom dancer/choreographer? I'm wondering if a team like the Reeds, for example, tweeted and made a big deal of this kind of thing, is that supposed to bring in higher points? It seems the skaters think it helps to go as public as possible with these training sessions.

    It's just one more charge to bring against the judging. It's not supposed to matter where the skaters went to get the choreography. It's about what they're doing out there on the ice at that particular moment. Is it not? If the choreography is fabulous it also depends on how well it's executed. Coach-choreographer aren't an element in adding points in CoP.

    I HATE these ridiculous pr games, even as I realize they're part of the established system in ice-dance.

  7. It's here! The annual Spring proclamation that they're just platonic!

    Just like clockwork.

    My personal favorite line is about not expecting wedding bells in the future. Well, duh. That's because they rang going on 4 years ago.

  8. @ 4:21

    You are right. Just like clockwork.

    Also just like clockwork announcing a beach vacation. Not together. Photos to come soon of the very private Mr. Moir, who heaven forbid should have a social media account to let the public see anything "real," frolicking on beach in a set of very public photos to showcase his romantic very private and exclusive relationship.


    Oh yes, these guys are so believable. Like always.

  9. I want to cry. I told myself they wouldn't change their PR approach, but I guess I still harbored hopes that they would. It's nice to know that losing upset the fans more than it did them.

  10. The gauntlet has been thrown. V/M just did a photo shoot for a bridal magazine. Oh, dear. *Please* say you'll do a post.

  11. I don't get the impression that they're not upset about losing Worlds. They just don't have the temerity to pull the old "many people came up to us and thought we should have won."

    How exactly does Scott intend to be asleep in the grass and shutting the doors when he skates at the same rink with D&W?

    1. I'm 5:43, ^your example is only one specific approach, and not the one I wish them to take. But continuing these ridiculous relationship games instead of getting serious skating-centric PR, to me it shows they value, for whatever reason, this pettiness ahead of winning. A change in PR wouldn't guarantee anything for next season, but there is no doubt the lack of it did damage this past one.

    2. I know - I read their current historical rewriting about Vancouver. They had a steamroller, Skate Canada and Ilerton designed and executed pr campaign rolling as early as 2008 and now they're all twee about how they were practically unknowns back then - surprise Olympic champions.

      "Oh, nobody expected us to come out on top." Really? Who did people expect to come out on top in Vancouver if not you? Davis White were wearing "Maid of Honor" t-shirts as soon as the season started and wore them proudly. They knew they weren't winning gold and so did the USFSA.

      The only worry was that the ISU would pull a Staples Center and give Linachuk's teams the top two spots. That fear was put to rest when Belbin & Agosto started getting dumped from their very first competition (they got a 95 and Tanith thought there might be deductions, but there weren't) and lost their national title to DW, and when Domnina & Shabalin limped into the season late crab crawling along in their programs wearing underbrush and bungee cords.

      I know they like the bubble they live in but IMO they ought to poke their heads out from time to time just to guage what's going on in the reality-based communities so they can at least pretend to line up what they say with what was actually happening.

  12. ontd_skating breaking the news of the photoshoot as classy as usual also someone tell that person posting the goose photos that unlike d/w lifts, the goose is only used during exhibitions and not competitions.

    1. You're welcome to do it if you want, but I'd say it's just a waste of effort. What few V/M fans over there in the past must have been turned off long ago, or at least keeping mum because they still want to post there. They've got their blinders on. It's kind of hard to take them seriously (though it could be argued that things are not really supposed to be taken seriously in an ontd_ comm), but over time they just became nasty to certain skaters. There is also a tendency to regard skaters like some sort of fantastical/cartoon characters.

      I actually prefer FSU and GS--nastiness abounds there as well, but those forums are better policed and just because some people there might not like your skater(s), that's fine.

  13. Someone said in a comment on an older entry that Scott and Tessa don't deserve the love poured onto them. I've never agreed more with that than right now.

    It's nice to know that nothing has changed. Keep going with this, Scott and Tessa, it has worked out so well for you in the past. Keep using the fans as punching bags, and scapegoats and laughing at the people who have done nothing but defend you. Sorry for being such an inconvenience.

    The "fans" over at _skating are assholes but maybe they're onto something.

    1. "It's nice to know that nothing has changed. Keep going with this, Scott and Tessa, it has worked out so well for you in the past. Keep using the fans as punching bags, and scapegoats and laughing at the people who have done nothing but defend you. Sorry for being such an inconvenience."

      I agree with you, this time is too much even for them...
      at least they could be more original !!!

    2. VM & Skate Canada are all having a good laugh.
      Yes, Scott and Tessa look gorgeous as a bride and groom. But I wish I didn't feel like I'm being mocked.

    3. We are being mocked. But that's their go to and they obviously haven't acquired any new material in five years.

      I've known about Scott and Tessa for quite some time. So I knew they were lying. But the first time I thought - what a DICK! - was, I think, after the Olympics, when Scott started reciting all the things fans were saying. "You're in love - we can tell!" "Just date - give it a try!"

      He was getting away with something. Making fun of people in public, in broad daylight, while thinking they didn't realize he was making fun of them. He knew it would come off like he and Tessa were so platonic they were amused by the clamor for them to get together. But what he was actually doing was venting his amusement that people were so fucking stupid and clueless.

      Scott, IMO, has long long long had a tendency to want to be the smartest guy in the room. When it comes to skating, he probably IS the smartest guy in the room - if Marina's not there.

      It doesn't follow though, that he's the smartest guy in the room about everything, not even his own p.r.* But he has always, always enjoyed not just being what he thinks is clever, but enjoyed calling attention to something he's doing that he thinks is clever - something he thinks most people won't pick up on, but he wants to show off about it at the same time.

      Which isn't a great or kind impulse, especially not from a guy who claimed to really dislike that trait in others when he wrote in his middle school yearbook.

      Back then, he was making fun of fans for being gullible and believing his and Tessa's lies. He was throwing their gullibility in their face. He was smug about the fact that he and Tessa were already married, and fans didn't know it, so fans were looking like idiots begging them to try dating when he and Tessa were already married.

      That has always been the ugly in their "privacy" strategies. The way they feel about people who aren't them is too obvious. The way they feel about unimportant people becomes uncomfortable to watch. The contempt. The lack of respect. They go out of their way to erect these barriers, and then snicker, mock and make fun of the people they're manipulating.

      Now, I do believe the fact that this IS a lot of Ilderton, a lot of London, and a number of family members is behind the existence of this sham in the first place. It redirects some of that bitchiness and second guessing away from Scott and Tessa themselves and onto the fans. But Scott has often entered into it with unseemly enthusiasm.

      He's a guy who by every - all, actually - accounts - treats workaday people extremely well, whether it's a custodian at a skating venue or a doorman at a hotel, but there's a disconnect with this stuff.

      *In fairness, in his skating career he's been around a lot of dumb asses, not a few of them in the entertainment and sports media. Many of these reporters compete to see who can be the most inane. And in general, there's a ton of dumb ass in skating generally.

      BUT, OTOH he and Tessa have surrounded themselves with some smart smart people. And those people - most notably Maria Mountain and Jennifer Swan - do NOT speak to the public as if the public are idiots. Maybe Scott and Tessa can try to emulate their example. Smart people don't treat other people like they're stupid. THAT assumption is a mark of stupid people.

    4. Things that Scott Moir hates:

      World Team Trophy
      Stupid people
      The fans
      The media
      His daughter

      Probably not on the last one but he's sure not acting like someone who has a young child that he loves and adores and who is looking up to him.

    5. But surely it would come out someday? Or are they going to vanish once the child is too old? Do they think they can disappear just like that and never be seen again? Or are they planning on keeping it a secret forever and raising the child with the same mantra? Do they even raise the child or are their parents doing the job for them?

      They seem so desperate to hide everything it really makes you wonder. Where did this attitude even come from, seriously. What made them think that the world is so evil and bad that everyone wants to jump their throats?
      Do they honestly think they are that important, special and famous? Or is it just the figure skating world in general. Or does stuff like that happen all the time in the media and therefore is just common practice.

      If everything you say is true the whole behaviour really sounds like some sort of sect practices. Cult-like and as if they were conspiracy theorists themselves.

      And I don't understand why a couple "just on the ice", otherwise completely platonic, would agree to a photoshoot for a bridal magazine either. They have no idea about just being platonic because otherwise they might see that this isn't something they would do.

      If the magazine contacted them, do they know they are actually not only an on-ice couple or are VM just lying to them as well? Guess so. It's too weird that every single person has to remind everyone they are not an actual couple by constantly stating it. It honestly is the only thing they can do.

      And if V&M really want to win the Olympics, if they are passionate about their skating and want people to remember their routines, why the heck would they agree to things like that bridal magazine in the first place? A bridal magazine has nothing whatsoever to do with skating. Are they forced to do it or is there just nothing else they get these days? Hard to imagine. They probably think their skating speaks for itself, then. And nothing has to be said about that anymore. Because they surely can't think that their chemistry is everything when it comes to skating. So why is it the only thing they talk about.

    6. I know - but they never have had a single clue about how real platonic people actually behave.

      I don't know where this all came from. Scott and Tessa just come from "unique" circumstances, many of which, as far as p.r. goes - suck. This is just what I can think of at the moment:

      1. Ilderton/London. Scott and Tessa go on about being "unique" but the Ilderton community is what sets their circumstances apart from anyone else's. Consider his mom, his aunts, his cousins, the size of the town, who runs the skating school, who runs the skating business, he and Tessa winning gold, and how long the families have lived in Ilderton/London, and compare it to some other skater's circumstances. Impossible. Then consider the "ordinary" demands on Scott and Tessa's time (training, travel, competing, media, private life), then consider Moirville's expectations/entitlements, not just to get their piece of Scott and Tessa (which means time and attention) but also that Scott and Tessa have been used to promote the skating business - that was front and center even at this highly pressured, highly emotional worlds. The "support Scott and Tessa" motto was basically the carrot on the stick to get people to $$$$ for the club's bursary. There's always that other side of the coin.

      If they're hyper sensitive and acutely gun shy of public attention, I blame Ilderton/London and Moirville, which must have burned the shit out of them (Tessa) somewhere along the way - to where the idea of wider distribution of their business was absolutely terrifying, after their local experience.

      Of course it's much easier to manage strangers than a community where each individual knows all about you (they think) and believes they have a proprietary interest in you. I don't think anybody explained that to them. I think to them it was "If you think Ilderton was bad - wait til you're stars!"

      It's way easier to be stars. I don't think they realized.

      2. The mendacity and incompetence, duplicity and grasping profile of the Skate Canada officialdom. This was a crowd that came on dissing their predecessors and bragging on how much they "got it." They understood all about developing star skaters. They understood all about attracting crowds and sponsors to figure skating. The media totally bought it what Skate Canada was selling.

      Skate Canada ended up driving away major sponsors that brought with them huge value ads (such as the venues made available by BMO for training camps and meetings) and not replacing those sponsors. It took them almost three years to get even a national championship title sponsor back in the picture. They weren't star-developers, they were star fuckers. The "stars" were developed by the USFSA and training centers in the states. They aren't actually interested in the skaters, as the promotion of Gilles & Poirier makes clearer than ever. They're interested in exploiting the skaters to create opportunities for themselves.

      3. Corrollary to 1 and 2 is you can't tell anybody that's been involved in figure skating a long time anything. They know it all. They're experts on everything. Psychology, finance, marketing, business, judging, someone's potential, someone's relationship, training, civics, other people's potential, other people's capacities, other people's value. They know it all.

      So there's a recipe for good decisionmaking right there.

      And finally, the figure skating culture (whose default setting is: paranoid).

    7. P.S. - it doesn't matter if the magazine knows their actual status as the magazine only said "wedding bells aren't in the future" (true, they're already married) and Scott and Tessa aren't dating (true, they're married).

      But after reading Steve Milton I'm sure there's people who are delighted to flat out lie while practicing journalism. Doing p.r. for Scott and Tessa is an act of patriotism.

    8. I thought it was interesting that so far the only Milton article is on Duhamel. She deserves the attention, of course, but...tomorrow is Hamilton's SOI, I guess we'll see if anything more drops, but is it possible they had a falling out? He learned the truth or decided he didn't want to play the game anymore? (Maybe you're Te'o post go to him somehow?)

    9. Also, this version of the article, with Lori Ewing's name attached, leaves out the last couple of paragraphs...

    10. 4:39 - Milton's credentials come from football.

      You don't need credentials to write about figure skating. He - literally - knows nothing about it as a sport. He's touted as a figure skating writer because he writes about figure skaters. There's nobody who cares that he knows nothing of it and is a groupie, because they know nothing either.

      At this point the choice is this - he's a complete moron, and his imbecility was exploited by Virtue Moir at the expense of his credibility and professionalism, or

      he's a liar, and it's okay cause it's just figure skating. It's not football or a real sport.

  14. According to his middle school yearbook he hates: "People who think they're smart."

    He didn't like slick stuff back then.

    Long ago they made decisions about the lies they'd tell and the story they'd put out. Every life event occurring from that time forward becomes a reason to sustain the lies and sham versus a reason to shuck it off or at least map their way out.

    If every twitch in the atmosphere makes you shrink back into your lie-bubble and double down on your lies, than you don't want to come clean.

    Coming clean on their own terms would involve:

    Dealing maturely with the people at home and the Moirville community and letting the chips fall where they may.

    Dealing with a pr entity that had a clue - and letting the chips fall where they may.

    Scott and Tessa hate letting chips fall where they may. They want to arrange the chips, describe them, correct other people's impressions about them and descriptions of them, tell us how little they care about them while complaining about them some more, tell us what we think about them and what TO think about them. They want to throw the ball and then run to the other side of the field and catch it too.

    As far as they're concerned, their child is them. Their best interests are automatically the child's best interests.

    What's strange is that the rationale that applies to Scott and Tessa's child doesn't apply to Charlie and Danny's girls.

    The kindest, best thing for the nieces is to be public. The family makes a concerted effort to include the other two little girls into the Scott and Tessa experience, to make sure their participation is public.

    They're not pretending it's just as cool for a child to be part of it behind the scenes where no one sees them and they can't see themselves. This is all for the virtual scrapbook. "That's us then."

    IMO, if Scott and Tessa had hearts, they wouldn't be posing as bride and groom in 2013, while the article restates that they're not dating and there will be no wedding bells in the future.

    They have a CHILD. This is not social media. This is a major magazine photo shoot and the photos have been put on the web and are all over the message boards.

    The kid can't get a little "there I am" but the parents are happy to climb into wedding attire like the happiest platonic duo in the world miles from weddings, babies or family life, and make fun of what people will think of it.

    Maybe they don't want to deal with revealing their status as spouses and parents. But there is no need for them to appear in a major publication basically bragging and laughing about being childless and unmarried and Scott dropping bait about his upcoming beach getaway. It’s callous towards that kid. It's heartless.

  15. It seems that it would be more sensitive, more fair, to treat Danny and Charlie's child the same as Scott and Tessa's. If the choice to ignore their own child's existence is harmless, then it would be harmless for Charlie and Danny's girls as well. These children are going to grow up close in age, and presumably close in other ways.

    Be fair to everybody. Don't have the three cousins grow up, two of them acknowledged, in the spotlight, referenced in articles of the era, showcased in the front row, instagrammed by P.J. Kwong, talked about by Scott in interviews - and have the other a non-person.

    Because they're not excluding the other little girls from the public excitement and the historical record, it's just reinforcing that Scott and Tessa's child is being singled out, deprived of something meaningful, loving and important.

    It's so blatantly wrong. Danny and Charlie choose the opposite. One of the little girls has even been on freaking instagram. If it's important to do it for these girls, then it seems that it would be nice to do it for Scott and Tessa's child, only they can't. So maybe it would be smart not to show off the neices, to avoid hurt/confusion/dismay later on.

    They always claim not to be big planners (another deceptive message they put out) - but maybe here it would be nice.

    1. "Because they're not excluding the other little girls from the public excitement and the historical record, it's just reinforcing that Scott and Tessa's child is being singled out, deprived of something meaningful, loving and important.

      It's so blatantly wrong. Danny and Charlie choose the opposite. One of the little girls has even been on freaking instagram. If it's important to do it for these girls, then it seems that it would be nice to do it for Scott and Tessa's child, only they can't. So maybe it would be smart not to show off the neices, to avoid hurt/confusion/dismay later on."

      This, just all of this...

      What V/M do to their fans makes me angry, but what they're doing to their own kid makes me something several leagues beyond mere anger. That child is the only person who's going to have been deprived like this. It's cruel, it really is. I know that child isn't really aware of this, but someday they'll see all of this. Heck, even though 3 is still pretty young, 3-year-olds know and understand quite a bit of what's going on around them. They're aware. This kid will be 3 come time for Sochi. It's going to know the Olympics are happening, maybe see it on tv... And there will be the cousins... And it probably won't register then, but someday it will. Someday, that child will get exactly how it was excluded from the record, left out of everything. It's simply unexcusable.

      Given the amount of effort that V/M seem to put into making it appear that they're anything but married and parents of a toddler, the thought has crossed my mind that maybe they don't like being parents, don't like their kid, and/or are otherwise inconveniced by this child's existance. What kind of parent pretends in any form or fashion that they're not a parent? How do you deny that you have child? I don't understand that.

    2. Although I disagree with it, it's possible to see Scott and Tessa excluding their kid as protecting their kid. Not sparing themselve. Protecting their kid. Sure, let's go with that. It's not narcissism. It's not an inability to separate their own self-interest from their child's. It's love. It's BECAUSE the child is important that the child is excluded and, more than excluded. Nonexistent.

      It's when you factor in the nieces that it gets ugly. Scott 'in love' with Charlotte. Scott wishing he had a beautiful daughter like his brother's daughter, a child younger than his own child.

      So Scott's own child was a disappointment? He wishes he had what his brother has? He prefers his niece?

      Their priorities are sort of - we love you sweetie, but basically, denying you existed was easier, more convenient. Your cousins weren't incovenient, so we played them up. Also, it made our denying you more plausible.

      And no, nobody forced us to have you when we did. Why do you ask?

    3. "And no, nobody forced us to have you when we did. Why do you ask?"

      Exactly. Presuming that the ones who say it was planned know what they are talking about (and it was incredibly well timed if it wasn't planned). I can't come up with a reason good enough to excuse what they're doing, when they will still be spring chickens for many years to come and they chose to have the child before retiring.

  16. Back to skating...

    still puttin the work in?

    Damn, Meryl and Charlie are really untalented, if they are doing five year old moves, and have to stay late at night to practice them, and still execute them so poorly.

    Or will they shock me, maybe with Charlie's hand pointing in a different direction this year, so their fans can see they have an all new lift?

    1. Late looking at that photo but they're hunched and are on flats. So they should be putting the work in at this late date.

      That is Tanith's spin on them - they skate their hearts out. They work so hard. She doesn't make a great case for them as the best skaters.