I've just finished reading a portion of FSU's virtue moir thread. As ever with figure skating discussion they're focused on positions.
Unlike what fsu seems to believe, screen caps of what Meryl looks like in lifts versus what Tessa looks like in lifts isn't a case of "pretty versus sloppy" or "but Virtue and Moir's lift is different than that lift!"
The screen caps aren't showing posing. They're a freeze frame of an athlete in action and they help reveal how well the athlete is executing the element, not how pretty they look during it.
One fan in particular is "defending" how Meryl looks because she apparently believes there is no connection between how Meryl looks in a lift and how well she is executing the lift, and she also seems to think that if Meryl looks strained during something it must mean it's pretty darn hard. It looks hard!
The screen cap in question shows that Charlie is hanging onto Meryl's hand with his hand and she's clutching onto his arm/shoulder with the hand that is closest to his body, and her legs are bent and sloppy. That's not just an unpretty position. That's sloppy execution. Do fans even know the difference?
Tessa isn't better than Meryl because she points her freaking toes. She's better because she's doing more difficult elements and her mechanics are better, her technique is better. Tessa's "toe point", alignment and the extension she carries through her entire body is a consequence of quantifiable things like her ability to balance herself in an element and then get out of the element. It's her mastery of dissociative movement. It is far far more difficult - in ways pointedly relevant to the sport they're in - to execute as Tessa does than to execute as Meryl does.
Meryl doesn't look sloppy in lifts because they're "hard". In fact, the lifts she and Charlie do are not as hard as Virtue Moir's, for reasons illustrated below and that will be illustrated further. She looks sloppy in lifts because she is not using good technique even though the element itself is easier. She's clutching onto Charlie. She is not controlling her extremities in space.
"Position" is not synonymous with fucking "ornament" or "pose".* Combined with the mechanics of your movement, your position is the outcome of your freaking TECHNIQUE.
And yet the discussion there is - well that's really tricky to do so of course Meryl is going to look a little rough because she's doing something super hard!
1 - what she's doing isn't as difficult as what Tessa's doing.
2 - she looks rough because she's not doing it well or properly. She doesn't have the truncal control, the dissociative mechanics (mastery of dissociative movement is all about core stability), the balance, the ability to orient her body with her core - i.e., her head, shoulders, arms and hands.
3 - do fans know that doing something badly is easier than doing it well? That doing it well with good alignment, good control - i.e., "prettier" is harder than doing it with an unstable core so you end up clutching onto your partner somehow and you can't maintain core stability AND extend your legs so you are just "screw it" with extending your legs? That doing something badly is a symptom of less good figure skating?
4 - that if you have extraordinary core stability you can not only execute the move itself but you can do so with all of your limbs extended and aligned so that when you exit out of the move your body is in optimal position to get onto a balanced edge, which is what you want to do cause, you know - figure skating?
But that most of all, acquiring and then working with that degree of core stability is very very very very DIFFICULT?
Because going by the stuff a lot of fans say, they don't.
5 - why don't people ever check to see how hard something is before jumping into the fray. Why is it always "that LOOKS hard". Yes, making a conspicuous show of apparent difficulty is what DW are all about, but if someone is a fan of the sport as a sport, and not a simply a fan of ice dancing despite it being a sport, then why not find out if something IS actually hard, relative not to whether you can do it, but whether it should be hard for a world championship calibre ice dancer to execute - verus what the main competition is demonstrating.
Position isn't ornament. Position isn't posing. Position is form follows function. Tessa's body is functioning properly in the lift, she's moving efficiently, she's executing optimally, and that's why her form is good.
Meryl doing it sloppily and out of alignment is actually much much easier than what Tessa is doing. What Tessa does isn't down to her doing a different lift. It's down to her being a better ice dancer. Every time Meryl's body goes out of alignment, every time she's clinging to Charlie with both hands to keep herself balanced or in order to transition, she is making the movement EASIER.*
*Unless we're talking about one of the very very many "pose lifts" Davis White indulge in to get themselves from point a to point b, which ARE all about the pose, because that's all Meryl is doing in them - a static pose while Charlie is behind her in a squat, lifting her a short distance off the ice. Pose lifts are ornamental. So naturally Davis White do tons.
*Caveat: if Meryl were in Tessa's condition, had Tessa's training, had Tessa's stable core, then it would be easier to do it well than to do it poorly, because doing something well always = the most efficient, "best" way to accomplish something, so that's always going to be "easier". The hard part of that, though? Setting yourself up to be Tessa in the first place. Acquiring her conditioning, her spatial awareness, her equilibrium, her range of motion, her stability, her POOF. It's very very very very very hard work. Lots of training, because the human body isn't naturally set up to do what she does.
If you haven't set yourself up to be like Tessa, or if your body just won't cooperate/refuses to work like that no matter how you train, then if you try to extend yourself out on a perpendicular on one of Scott's shoulders during a rotational lift, you're going to roll right the fuck off. Or you're going to have to get your hands involved and help out your core by hanging on for dear life. Maybe not do the perpendicular, maybe go across his chest so there's not so much you and space. So if you're not Tessa, then yes, it is easier to do it like Meryl, because if you don't do it like Meryl, you're not going to be able to do it at all.
The hard part is becoming Tessa. If you can do that, it gets easier.