Monday, April 8, 2013

Funny Face

When I was gifing and screen capping Notre Dame there was a lot of backing and filling, because I'd be gifing and then be - oh this has to be screen capped. And vice versa.  I'd be screen capping and think - okay, this bit needs to be highlighted in a gif. When I got to the lifts they were so godawful I ended up with a ton of screen caps trying to really focus on the mechanics (where Charlie's hands were, Meryl's hands and feet, and of course, just the complete what the fuckery of how they get into them). These are ugly stills. It's not the aesthetics that make them ugly - it's the awful mechanics and absence of technique.

But it was when I got to the lifts I knew there needed to be Virtue Moir lifts for comparison. First up, Funny Face, below.

In comparison with Funny Face -  Meryl and Charlie - what is going on with their cores - how are their cores engaged? How is their core supported - particularly hers - during lift positions and position changes? WHERE was her core vis a vis Charlie's, and vis a vis the position she's in?

The Meryl/Charlie gifs need to be sorted so I don't upload out of sequence or leave something out. They'll be posted tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are three Funny Face gifs. Two lifts and a bit of their transition into the twizzle sequence which includes the 'marching steps' - which of course are actually skated.

Worth noting liftwise are Scott's hands and arms, Tessa's hands and arms, HOW Tessa changes from her first position to her next position in the first lift that's gifed, and in the second lift, watch that Tessa's oversway is stretched away from Scott's frame and center of gravity (versus Meryl's position which is reverse - she's stretched over and into the duo's center of balance) and note where Scott has his hand on Tessa's leg once she's in position, and what, other than Scott's grip, is supporting Tessa besides her blade on his thigh (hint, nothing).  And of course, the exits.

Tomorrow we'll see Charlie's entire arm wrapped around the leg and then his hand all up in Meryl's private business as close to her pelvis (balance point) as he can get, and the leg he's gripping is simultaneously braced against his chest - the entire length of it. And still she doesn't let go of her grip on him until the last second. But all that pales next to her getting up into it in the first place.

P.S. re the discussion in the comments below guessing Meryl and Charlie's Olympic fd music - I agree Les Miz seems obvious. But now that I consider - Man In the Iron Mask.

I don't even want to think about Carmina Burana.

These Funny Face gifs are from the 4CCs:

The lift itself apart, look at what Scott is able to immediately do upon her set down. P.S. - this is a new lift replacing the original lift. So it's not like they've been practicing it since the  mid-00's, unlike some ice dancers, and yet still not doing it with smooth, efficient technique. This smooth, efficient technique is right off the bat.

I just realized that when Tessa "steps up" into the lift and, while in the illusion of a standing position, pivots/rotates 360 1/2 degrees before placing her skate on Scott's thigh, she's not standing on anything but air. She's supported in space by Scott's grip on her leg (not her boot, so she has no pivot point or leverage point for the rotation but her core). She's rotating herself. He's not rotating her. I think stuff like this just sails over the judges' heads.


  1. It's funny you should mention The Man in the Iron Mask and Carmina Burana. I just went through and rewatched all of A/P's FD's between 98 and 02, Worlds or Olympic versions. A/P were fast. They skated to some big music. They even had the long hair. However, everything was under control and they actually skated their programs. I'm not sure why I didn't put it together before, considering my love of A/P, but I think D/W fancy themselves to be like A/P. Except, you know, back in reality they're not.

    1. I love A&P even though on the surface, they're everything I hate. For Time to Say Good'by (exhibition) she's in a lame' body suit with footie feet. The hair was epic. Charlie's locks are still in training pants compared to Gwendel's. They emoted.

      But they could skate. As you say, everything was under control. They had beautiful edges, long blade runs and were so smooth. They were very fast but took.their.time, giving every moment full value. Their timing with the music was sensational. They were so naturally musical.

      My own opinion is that Man in The Iron Mask lost to Krylova & Ovsyannikov's African drum program in - 1999? - mostly because Anasina spent (relatively) a bit too much time in lifts versus Krylova, and not enough time with her skates on the ice versus Krylova. A few more twizzle turns and they may have been given the nod (this was prior to CoP).

      It fit the program - as Dick Button said they were very good at creating images that stayed in your memory and boy did they cover that rink. Lots of power and deep, deep edges. When they came back with Carmina Burana, Anasina made sure to spend more time doing twizzle turns.

      In addition to their beautiful skating skills, they were organically musical. That's how, against their own best efforts :), their programs weren't melodrama. They just moved with the music and let the music inform their expression. They had great timing with all kinds of music, and great body line. Along with their competitive programs I still love to watch "Suzanna" - their Olympic exhibition. Very funny.

      Anyway, big fan, obviously, and it looks as if Davis White might be trying to mimic their repertoire.

      They weren't popular because they were theatrical. The reasons they were popular, DW can't borrow. They were popular because they were great skaters who were very musical and could make you feel the music because of how they skated. Their musicality and timing created wonderful natural phrasing in their programs, and the audience could just let themselvess be swept away.

  2. "I just realized that when Tessa "steps up" into the lift and, while in the illusion of a standing position, pivots/rotates 360 1/2 degrees before placing her skate on Scott's thigh, she's not standing on anything but air. She's supported in space by Scott's grip on her leg (not her boot, so she has no pivot point or leverage point for the rotation but her core). She's rotating herself. He's not rotating her. I think stuff like this just sails over the judges' heads."

    Holy shit, you're right. This girl is superwoman.

    1. She completes the rotation on her own and only places her hand (briefly) on Scott's shoulder when she needs to place her blade on his thigh. Once placed - BAM - shoulders back, arms are free, into oversway. No need to "wait" til her balance is there.

    2. See - this is where they did it wrong. Tessa is looks like she's been assisted into standing up on something but she's not standing on anything. She's rotating with her core, no leverage from a foot or from being braced against anything else. But the eye takes it in as if she's stepped up "on" something, and is mostly impressed that her hips and core are vertical in space and she rotates hands free. She's also rotating freaking FEET free.

      What needed to happen was Tessa step up ON Scott, but make it LOOK like her feet are free. Make something look harder than it is, don't make it look so much easier than it is that people don't even notice you did it because you've created the illusion of an invisible platform underneath your skate blade, that's how controlled and fast and precise you are in space.

      VM need to do easy shit - EXTRA easy, like DW - and make it look hard. Not do spectacularly difficult stuff and make it look easy.

      It's like the first iteration of The Goose in Pink Floyd. I recall one commentator saying that from where the skaters were executing the element, the judges couldn't see that Tessa's shin was balanced against Scott's back. As if they were making it look harder than it was.

      As if, you know, the REAL difficulty would be if she were just standing there on just her blade. The fact that her thigh, her hips, her core, her shoulders and her head were perfectly aligned, steady and balanced and her hands and arms were free as Scott's blades glided across the ice is - pshaw, right?

      That's why there are championship skaters who struggle to do the move on the freaking FLOOR. It also tells about Scott's balance and how absolutely steady his glide is, because if he were rocking at all it would destablize Tessa. (Or maybe not. I think her ability to isolate and balance from her core is supernatural).

    3. And again, when she first did that move, a commentator called it "clever". Fucking CLEVER? Clever insinuates it's a trick. It's not a fucking trick. And on the flip side Charlie swings Meryl up and literally hauls her into the spin rotation, still can't maintain the rotation on his own and has to fucking hop (without even changing edges, just on the same inside edge), and then the team chooses to get out of it by literally putting on the skid brake with Charlie putting his foot down, like depressing the back of an inline skate. Stop, straighten up, still on two feet. And to even Canadian commentators, that's impressive and difficult.

      This enterprise, which is not a sport, thrives on ignorance and I think everybody getting any kind of paycheck from it plays along.

  3. Madison Chock and Evan Bates announced that their freedance next year will be set to "Les Mis", so I guess that rules that out for DW.