Saturday, August 10, 2013

No other team can manage it



Just look at every piece of this. How blade-centric it is. How blade-RUN centric it is for linking moves and hold changes. Imagine Charlie and Meryl attempting any of it. Transition, transition, transition, flow flow flow. Change hold change hold. Unison unison.  Edges edges edges. Virtuoso multidirectional skating.

Look how close together their feet are in hold and when changing hold. Look at their knees. Look at the length of the blade run. Look at the obvious speed.

Then remember that Mery and Charlie's hop/squat/re-set, pose/scurry/re-set, and skipping/jump, pose/lift, re-set - however Derek Hough has repackaged it - and not this, will get 80 points this season, and beat this in pcs. Beat THIS - the entire season. In pcs. DW's cramped little steps, their twinkling toe picks, the flurry of their legs that somehow carries them only about half an inch no matter how desperately their arms flail or how theatrically they fling their hair and smile at the crowd. They need to tug, jump, slide, leap, hop hop hop to cover any ice at speed. But still.  80 points. Wait for it.

I also suspect that Virtue Moir could cut glass with their blades in footwork all throughout the season and still struggle for Level 4.

They kill me.


Look at Tessa's right skating foot as they come around the turn. Tarasova was right. Her gift for ice dance is from the gods.

An fsu-er already finds the "Muskrat Ramble" section "discordant."

Here's Astaire Rogers:

Astaire Rogers Dance in Follow the Fleet

That sort of transition/tempo and intentionally discordant tonal change worked all right for Fred and Ginger. It was even praised. But I mean - sophistication, shmomistication. Who cares that the music and tempo shift, but Scott and Tessa anticipate and carry the style and the energy through the transitions while dancing in harmony with, and in relation to, all of the selections? And btw, there is a tie-in/transition between Muskrat Ramble and the music section that precedes it - it's the wail of the horn. The two selections are clearly family. Scott and Tessa don't need to change the character of their movement, nor the energy.

I love the program - I think Marina is brilliant and this is skated wonderfully. I always notice when supposed figure skating fans respond with program comments, and not skating comments. It makes one wonder if some fans have any idea of the skating Virtue Moir are pulling off in this program, setting aside that they're dancing with their skating. One would think skating fans would notice what's accomplished with the skating, first and foremost. At this stage, I don't even think "accomplished" is the word for Virtue Moir. They've been this accomplished for a long time. Revealed is more on point.


Observe how they get back in hold after footwork.

If only they weren't so darn heavy-footed.

136 comments:

  1. Is this the new SD? Holy shit. That is one amazing program!

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    1. Everything about it is stunning. I'm still processing, so I start tripping over myself every time I see something else in the program that they just throw away. They're never flinging their arms at the audience, cueing applause. They toss this stuff off.

      A side note - or maybe not so side - is Scott's top line - his shoulders, arms, hands, upper back. His shoulders slope and his costumes are usually tailored to strengthen/straighten that line, especially as Tessa has perfect Ginger Rogers-esque T-square shoulders. But here his shoulders are perfectly settled and aligned, his arms and hands and upper back work freely - his transformation as a dancer really catches your eye. He's always been a wonderful - spectacular - skater. He's always been extremely musical. And he's always been a superb partner. But after watching him solo in shows, my suspicion has been that he cues himself from or models himself on Tessa when it comes to non-skating dance technique and alignment. He's the frame, but Tessa sets the frame. Here, his top line caught my eye right away because he's so relaxed. He has the gestures, the grace notes, etc., but he's inhabiting the posture as well as everything else he's doing. They're spectacular.

      That score was not inflated. That's what this program is worth right now. I keep re-watching the footwork to see why it got level 3, and I don't see an unclean edge anywhere, but this isn't the best video quality. Lynn Rutherford can stuff it with "summer comp." This program - the skating in this program - owns anything Meryl and Charlie have ever skated to first place at an international or worlds.

      oc

      oc

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    2. I noticed Scott's top line as well. Incredible.

      I also agree that there is nothing inflated about that score at all. It was a fair, well-deserved score. The right score.

      There is a fancam version on youtube that has a better view of the footwork: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV2BwnVJ4KM

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    3. The topline thing is very important. DW fans will make note of their light, fast feet, "speed" and "flow" and them hopping around the ice (I expect they'll drill holes into the ice and to make a big show before their step sequence, too) will be designated as "the character of the dance."

      VM have already demonstrated real light, fast feet, speed, and flow, and they do it while maintaining perfect topline and skating close together, which are elements of quickstep that any TV dance watcher will recognize. It isn't just aesthetics. It's more difficult to maintain your edges and perform the steps when your posture is upward (and without bringing the shoulders up!). Adapting the speed skater (single skater, if I'm feeling generous) stance allows DW to get deeper edges, and they're still not as deep as VM's! Criminal.

      Any other team (not only DW, but BS CL WP IK and the rest) would have been wobbling all over the place trying to get the edges in that midline step. VM looked effortless and in sync.

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  2. Both V/M and this program are something else. Watching live, I just wanted everything to go well and was worried about the score. (Hey, they were skating in Canada.) I've rewatched it I don't know how many times now. Sure, it needs some polish and miles on it. I know very well that they're going to tinker with it, but my goodness. They really do just keep getting better and better each year. This is what true mastery of the blade looks like. I don't even know where to start. The choreography. The speed, flow, and power. The unison. The edges. Just...everything. I could go on and on. This is what true mastery of the blade looks like. They were so smooth out there, like silk.

    D/W wouldn't be able to skate 2 seconds of that program. In fact, I think if they tried to that dip transition at about 4:27, they would kill themselves somehow.

    Well done, Tessa and Scott. Well done.

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  3. I love everything about this...the music, the dancing, heck, even the recycled costumes suit the music just fine (although I'm sure they will have new costumes by Skate Canada).

    I love Scott's kick at 5:08...reminds me of the entrance of the 2011 SD lift. Brilliant!

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  4. This is flawless. It's August. And this is already far better than DW's Olympic performance will be.

    The score isn't even inflated. 9.25s, +1s and +2s in there. It's all justified, and more.

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    1. Though I'm sure getting judges' feedback was a main reason why they put this program out earlier than usual (also because they'll need to peak by February rather than March), one wonders if another reason was to throw down. As in, "THIS is where we can be in August. Put that in your pipe and smoke it."

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  5. amazing but they need a new lift at the end this is the third time they are using it.

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    1. I would like to see a new lift as much as anyone but I hope DW fans won't harp on this. It's not the recycling that's the issue as much as difficulty. This lift is far more difficult than anything DW have ever done. The twist comes out of no where and bam, she's up. She doesn't have 3 of her 4 limbs glued to him as OC so aptly describes.

      DW's lifts are generally very mediocre, typical, unexciting, workmanlike lifts that many other dance teams do, including juniors, and that have been done at least since BA almost 10 years ago.

      If VM had to recycle a lift, I wish they would have used one from their 2009 OD or FD. Lots of great, little used lifts there. I assume they would still be within the rules, since DW still use lifts from back then and earlier.

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    2. btw, 7:05, I didn't mean to imply you are a DW fan.
      -7.20

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    3. The reason I harp on recycled DW moves is the elements as they were doing them now weren't making the podium in 2008-2009, but suddenly the same moves are defeating VM. VM were beating them in 2008-2009, and VM have made stunning advances since then. Meantime DW are recycling the same shit that kept them off the podium back then, but all of a sudden they're defeating VM, even though VM have gotten still better. THAT is the point. Difficulty is the point. You can recycle every year if what you're doing is burying everybody else across the board - level of difficulty, execution, how the element flows out of the choreography. I actually think the lift as deployed in this short dance, whether or not it's a placeholder or will be replaced, is more effective here than in any prior iterations, and it's been spectacular in the past.

      But again - I ask the ISU - why did the ISU, through channels, through implication and suggestion (which is not how a fucking legitimate sport ought to operate), have Tessa and Scott eliminate the "twist" part of this lift less than an hour prior to their 2010 Worlds free dance. It wasn't even an element then - it was choreography. Now it's an element and the twist is okay? It's been okay two seasons now. The ISU apparently has no issues. Just for that one event - Worlds 2010.

      They have fucked with them and fucked with them and fucked with them. They don't even pretend it's above board. They set up trip wire after trip wire.

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    4. And, incidentally, I love how some skating "insiders" think it's perfectly normal for Olympic champions to receive half-articulated, indefinite warnings about a key segment of their freaking free dance through the fucking grapevine - whether it's about the original goose or the twist lift that ended Farrucas. That's just fine. That doesn't hurt the perception of the sport at all. Murmurs and half-heard, half-understood implications - that's all perfectly Olympian. Aren't all sports like that?

      But when Scott and Tessa, along with a number of other skaters, use the ISU's own fucking rule - sound the alarm. Wake up Sinead Kerr - Scott and Tessa are hurting the perception of the sport! Where was your mouth, Sinead, when they had to change the goose and the Farrucas finale, but nobody owned it and it was all under the table? No worries about perception then?

      Funny.

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    5. 2nd** the lift they added at the end of their rhumba sd is different

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  6. I particularly love (NOT) the group on twitter talking about how heavy VM's Finnstep was and how it lacked proper character. Blah.

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    1. They probably thought John Curry was clod-footed in '76.

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    2. https://twitter.com/LePigeonBercy/status/366383976190976000

      They would probably think that of John Curry. I think people are confusing using ones blades to skate with being heavy. Your skating is heavy if you actually use your blades!

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    3. oh yeah that person is an idiot for reducing v/m's carmen to groping etc.

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  7. Another thought after my umpteenth re-watch of the program: Back at the beginning, Scott was regarded more the natural skater. Tessa was the dancer. Now, Tessa is Scott's equal in every way on the skating (and has been for a very long time), and Scott has become equal on the dancing. They are just the greatest thing.

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    1. They are. I was thinking the same thing even as I attempted to deconstruct it. For example, Tessa has a lot of ballet training, and ballet's technique is very formal. Almost by definition, someone with extensive ballet training is never going to appear as if they fell out of bed and just happened to move this way on the ice (or dance floor). Look at Astaire and Kelly. Astaire is ballroom. Ballroom is essentially social. Kelly is ballet. He never looked as effortless in informal dances as he did in huge set pieces, no matter how many sailor suits or pseudo French street wear costumes he put on (there's also a matter of the difference in sophistication between him and Astaire, but that doesn't apply to Virtue/Moir). Tessa's ballet training - her back, her carriage, her head - distracted from the fact that she, too, was a natural skater and an extraordinary athlete. Scott's lack of extensive formal dance training almost highlighted his extraordinary musicality and his skating chops because none of it was transmitted through a background like Tessa's, which was almost a filter or barrier to our perceiving how strong her skating skills actually were. Really if we look back, there's nothing Scott did better than she did - it was just a matter of how we perceived it. She was as natural as he was. She had the additional ballet training, and as that informed her skating, it became a filter. Scott had no filter.

      I am honestly stunned at Scott's topline. His shoulders are settled through every inch of this program. His neck is aligned and relaxed. The movements of his arms are free, relaxed, specific. He's Grinkov-esqe. Other than the obvious - coordination, fitness, etc. - musicality has always been the first value in any dancer. Scott has always had that. It was a matter of disciplining his line, and he's done it. It's also freed up his movement vocabulary, made him more expressive, as all technique, when mastered, enables. In this program, I'm watching him dance and I'm watching her skate. As you've said, exactly. They're the greatest.

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    2. Agreed to all of this. I love how they look in this program. It is truly dancing on ice

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    3. That's why I love them. They're both very strong on ice unlike other teams wherein one skater is stronger in skills that the other.

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  8. I must be responsible for at least 20 of the views...stunning. The nuances are gorgeous; the choreography at the 2:38 is so subtle yet so effective. I love it. LOVE.IT.

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    1. Lol, I think I must be responsible for at least another 20 views.

      The effortless difficulty and intricacy. It's stunning. And like all the comments here have said, they actually *skate.* No skipping or hopping their way across the ice to give the illusion of movement or speed. VM are the real thing.

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  9. Gotta love the comments the The Skating Lesson's FB page; there's Patrick Ryan, resident ice dance "expert", with his two cents:

    https://www.facebook.com/TheSkatingLesson?fref=ts

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    1. Oy. That's exactly how experts discuss their areas of expertise, so level-headed.

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    2. I love how they all talk "around" the program content, apparently because none of them understand the first thing about skating, including Patrick Ryan. It's all non-specific and descriptive of their response, not of the skating, because they can't see the skating. They have no idea what they're seeing.

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    3. And they dare to give it the sanctimonious title "The Skating Lesson"... more like whiny wannabe gossip columnist and failed figure skater who love to dish and snark about their opinions.

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    4. The D/W ubers are good for a laugh...when their feet are held to the fire as to why D/W should win in Sochi, this is the best they can come up with:

      http://web.icenetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130805&content_id=55949358&vkey=ice_news

      "I prefer Meryl and Charlie because I like their interpretation of the programs, I like how they perform technically but also artistically. I like how I can look at a program they did pre-2010 and see how they have developed over the years. And I really respect how they seem to approach each competition as important."

      Wow, case closed then. D/W should win in Sochi because they seem to approach the Olympics as important.

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    5. So their execution of the same elements from 2009 sucks less now? What an incredible endorsement. And not just technically. Also artistically. That covers both marks! A slam dunk.

      That was great. Thanks 11:39.

      I was going to say at least their opinion is DW-centric, not based on VM's supposed flaw, but then in the next paragraph they launch into DS injury problems after winning in 2009 Worlds.

      Well there you go. Tessa had an injury! She should never be allowed to win anything! Please take back Yagudin, Plushenko, Lipinski, Totmianina, Platov, and Zhao's gold medals too...

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    6. I love how the poster is so fixated on the fact that the counter-poster didn't address everything she "... wrote about how the sport has lost popularity and exposure. Past of which COP is responsible for..." (of which she went into all kinds of (irrelevant) detail in her previous post, yet when the counter-poster called her out on specific details of why D/W's skating merits Sochi gold, all she could come up with is "I like how they perform technically but also artistically."

      Those D/W ubers, they speak few words, but boy, their words carry such weight and authority.

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  10. Any criticism of this program is from fear and ignorance. They mean fucking business and I truly believe this performance will send a message. I have learned not to be surprised by their brilliance. It's a given and I have never trusted any other team's choices they way I do theirs. They have singlehandedly changed the discipline of ice dance and I cannot even imagine what a team would have to look like (in the real world, lol)to even touch them. I bet they will incorporate a new lift at some point once they become more comfortable. And twizzles towards middle to end, a brave decision. Gawd I love them.

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    1. Well, one of the things I really appreciate about this short dance is their virtuousity is on display. They're not showboating, but it's ALL edges, multidirectional skating, and their hold changes and direction changes are a tour de force. But it's not difficult to SEE. Meryl and Charlie are very good at throwing a ton of junk out there timed before and after elements that trick the eye into thinking the "exciting" part (a pose, a gesture) is part of the execution of the actual element, when it's not. This program of Virtue and Moir's is very "quick" as well as showing great speed. It's quick AND it's fast. Meryl and Charlie usually are the ones who convey "quick" and that passes for speed. Their speed, though, is not generated with their run of blade - it's literal running and leaping and hopping. I appreciate that here - and it's very smart - they've embraced the pattern instead of working against it, and they are lightning quick and extremely precise. They are hauling ass out there and IMO it's going to be very difficult for DW to do anything in their short dance that even gives the illusion of doing more than VM, because here VM are doing a ton, being "quick", being flashy, but also covering ice at great speed and also everything they're doing is with edges. It isn't really the ying and yang Marina has to pretend it is between DW and VM with the Finnstep. The Finnstep is one type of dance. It's quick, it's bright. I think it's difficult for a team like DW to take the Finnstep and present it in such a way that it's so different from VM's, people won't be able to discern that it's not as GOOD as VM. IOW, it's going to come out with a lot of at least attempted stylistic similarities, even if they don't go jazz with it in terms of music. And when they do that, VM are going to be blatantly better. One is going to be erzatz, and the other is authentic. The hopping, skipping, jumping, stand still turning (look at Scott and Tessa sail across the ice as they separate and turn separately and then reconnect. Look at the speed of Tessa's supported pirhouette as she and Scott don't break hold and continue to fly down the rink. Look at Tessa pirhouette on one foot, hop onto the edge of the other foot and immediately drop into a dip with no set up time at all, and she finishes every move) is not, or ought not, to impress alongside a team that is flying. Charlie and Meryl's propensity to have one stand still while the other does something - to trade off rather than execute simultaneously, each on an edge - is going to be a little blatant next to this program.

      I must admit I'm super curious if Meryl/Charlie are actually going to dare bring the same twizzles into this Olympic cycle.

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    2. Honest to goodness, if DW don't vary those twizzles in SOME fashion, ANY fashion, I am going to scream.

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    3. Wow, I would LOVE to see D/W attempt a third twizzle; can you imagine? It would come to a grinding halt. They would basically be spinning on the spot.

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    4. DW fans already claim that VM only do a set of three to "deemphasize" their less favorable direction by putting in the middle. So let's have the couples switch twizzles.

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    5. So why do V/M bother putting in the middle twizzle if it is a weak element for them? Why bother challenging themselves with unnecessary difficulty? Why not pull a D/W and just drop all difficult elements all together and not challenge themselves with new, more difficult elements every season?

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    6. "I must admit I'm super curious if Meryl/Charlie are actually going to dare bring the same twizzles into this Olympic cycle."

      I'm curious about this as well, but I always come back to the question of are they even capable of doing another set of twizzles. My suspicion is that even if they tried, it would ultimately be similar to what happened with the tango in the 10-11 season. They'd eventually have to go back to their 2 sets.

      I also love the idea of the Finnstep coming back to bite D/W on the behind. You're right that part of the reason why D/W have gotten away with so much is the "different but equal" meme. What happens when they can't be different from everyone else, especially V/M?

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    7. Their less favorable "direction"? What does that mean?

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    8. OC, this is the post http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/showthread.php?87432-Davis-amp-White-16-Magical-Wizard-Hair&p=3969174&viewfull=1#post3969174

      Have fun.

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    9. Just thinking again how stupid the concept is that instead of doing double twizzles like DW, VM do triple sets, simply to make sure their "weak" opposite direction twizzles are sandwiched by two sets of their "good" twizzles.

      First of all this implies they would not want to end the set on their second set of "weak" opposite direction twizzles (a la Scott Hamilton - it's the last thing the judges see!). That implies they'll end the element on a wild note... either crashing together, wildly out of sync, far from each other, or slowed to a crawl. But they never do this on their second set of twizzles. DW are the ones who end their twizzles like that, then quickly run on their toepicks to get out of it. Why isn't that a liability for DW?

      Second, if VM's second set of twizzles is so bad, how is it that they're able to maintain speed and use the momentum from that second set to propel them into the third set, while maintaining the speed and distance? If their second set was that bad, again, they would've slowed down way too much to make this possible.

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  11. The Skating Lesson is always ridiculous. Honestly, who cares what they say? A couple of mediocre skaters with piss poor opinions. Give them no credence whatsoever. They have ZERO credibility.

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    1. I agree with this. There's very little legitimately knowledgeable writing about skating, and even skaters peddle a ton of crap about skating - they're as full of petty resentments, biases and erroneous ideas as fans are. As soon as a program is judged first on someone's subjective reaction to it as a piece of show business, the person presenting that opinion is worthless as a skating commentator.

      Another thing - Scott and Tessa have completely embraced the Finnstep. Last year they blatantly hated the polka and just tacked it onto a dance that had an entirely different tone and rhythm. Scott was not excited when the Finnstep was announced as the pattern for the Olympic sd in Sochi but I haven't seen such spontaneity and exuberance from him in a program since "Call Me Irresponsible", nor an od or sd from them that's as wonderfully dance-y. DW can't really work against the obvious tone/rhythm of the Finnstep because bright, light and quick is their apparent stock in trade. They're not going to try and bury it in a concept so different from Scott and Tessa's that we won't be able to see that Scott and Tessa's "light, bright and quick" absolutely murders DW's light bright and quick. One is skating, the other is tricks.

      oc

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    2. Love the idea of the Finnstep, so clearly chosen to favor DW, coming back to bite them in the ass.

      Looking forward to reading about the Helsinki branch of the Davis family tree.

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    3. Or more on the depth perception problem. That was a classic. Just before Worlds Meryl's mom let's us know Meryl has struggled with a handicap all this while. Why oh why hasn't she shared - unlike some skaters who just leak all over about their shin problems? Oh, see, Meryl didn't want anyone to know or judge based on what she's had to overcome. Except right before worlds in London.

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    4. I like that VM didn't shy away from using blatantly fast music. In the past, as, for example, in last year's polka, they used quieter rhythms, quieter melodies, and sustained choreographic phrasing, so that a lot of fans, who just don't know how to watch skating, didn't appreciate how fast Virtue and Moir were in their short dance, and how sustained choreographic phrasing is actually more difficult than flailing around acting busy on your toe pick.

      Also, DW love wide separations in their choreography - it helps them run down the clock in terms of the amount of time they need to be in some kind of dance hold, and then they love to make a big dramatic flailing to do of rushing back together again, which contributes to the "OMG, they never stop!" impression from the under-educated. They're very practiced in turning crutches and cheats into features.

      Here, the Finnstep (Muskrat Ramble) section is action-packed but it's all multidirectional skating and changes of close hold, which is what makes it a tour de force. The fact that the music is extremely fast and they've matched the choreography to the music will convince idiots that they actually are fast, as many fans can't seem to grasp that a skater can be powerful and fast without fast music or acting busy.

      It seems to me, if there's even a prayer that this sport will have legitimacy in the coming season, that an action packed Finnstep where the action is multi-directional skating on clean, sustained edges with multiple changes of hold, close-together blades and close together bodies, all not just in time to the music but in the freaking style of the music, will show itself as the real deal compared to a team using fast music to finesse the amount of time they're off their blades - either both of them or one of them, out of any kind of complex hold, and basically keeping pace with their music via skipping, pose lifts, running, and, most of all, hopping.

      I'm very happy that for once, VM didn't cede fast music to DW. If DW want to go in the other direction and use more measured music in order to distinguish themselves from VM, then good luck to them. It seems to me it's going to have to be fast music versus fast music, and let's see who is really skating to it and who is vamping to it.

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  12. This is a call to arms, people. Call out these people's BS and talk about how awesome VM's skating is. PJ wants to compare old cheddar to processed cheese? Call her out on why VM's skating is superior. Rosie Di Manno wants to talk about how sexy Carmen is? Call her her on why VM's Carmen was so head-spinningly difficult in its execution and interpretation.

    The pen (and keyboard) are mightier than the sword, people. Use these weapons wisely!

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    1. And to add to that, call out all the BS commentators: the guys at Eurosport when they fawn over DW's oh-so-fast-twizzles-BS, Tanith Belbin's pointless commentary (isn't it a conflict of interest to commentating about your own BOYFRIEND?), PJ Kwong's "I don't believe that they (D/W in Notre Dame) portrayed conflicted love"-BS-commentary-at-Worlds, Kurt's "very-difficult-entry-into-the-spin!", etc. (Tracey is somewhat off the hook because she does highlight the areas in which V/M are in a class of their own, and she has to keep her bosses at CBC, CTV and NBC happy).

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  13. im 7:05 i cant stand DW, they put me to sleep. but they look fast and clean but i think theyre blah footwork allows them to. i'm no expert but i've been watching ice dancing since the russian glory days and no one compares to virtue moir. the only team i can think of is the lithuanian dance pair, Margarita Drobiazko and Pavlas Vanaga. that couple was never given their due, and their lifts and twizzle are still copied today. check out their african/world music dance from 99/2000. unreal.


    i suspect they will put in a new lift bc it's the olympic season. regardless, this is amazing. but then again, i loved last year season's sd as well. cannot wait for FD!

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  14. This program is very smart. Would be interesting if there's some kind of software that could be used to diagram their pattern across the ice and how many changes of direction are included - on a bigger ice surface than this, of course - and compare that DW's SD debut. Like this but f'realz: http://dubemoir.blogspot.com/2013/07/sochigold.html

    I say smart because VM have a lot going on with the face, hands, and upperbody, for all the fans who refuse to watch anything else, but their program isn't busy like DW's. The knees, ankles, blades are doing exactly what the judges should be looking for.

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    1. I haven't fully processed this thought enough so the reasoning can stand up behind what I'm about to say yet, but I think the judges will have a difficult time underscoring this sd. The pattern is intricate and there are multiple changes of direction but it is so beautifully and blatantly driven and supported by the music that the skating itself is very very visible. I don't think there's anywhere for the judges to hide.

      What I will find outrageous is if the judges score whatever DW come up with anywhere near this sd. People say it's apples and oranges - well yes, it's skaters and fake skaters, but this is really going to be apples and apples.

      oc

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    2. I am finding that each time I watch it I am picking up moves and nuances/details that I didn't see the previous time. This dance is packed with difficulty and they have already mastered the "character" of the dance. And they look so strong and powerful to me. Does he give her a little boot in bum? LOL. That's what it looked like to me. So cute and fun.

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  15. Yet another version of the SD from a different angle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Usvox4Tpj3w&feature=youtu.be

    How much faster do people want them to do those Finnstep patterns? They were flying out there.

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    1. havent you heard?? to be considered fast nowadays you must skate frantically to fast music and rush into your elements

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    2. They were incredibly fast, and they actually looked like their speed was inhibited by the boards. It will be a treat to see them perform this on an Olympic sized rink when they can go full blast. Does Finlandia have one?

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  16. Hilarious new banner. Where do you come up with these ideas?
    Can you tell us about this one?

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    1. This is just remembering the actual heartache over the first couple of sham seasons (reflected by the cardiograms), then how TMI the Jessica sham was, and then how, despite spurts of OTT photos, they settled in to basic headshots by the third or fourth sham season, which they should have done in the first place. And fans had caught on by then anyway. I had to include Scott's profile picture because he's just so above it all with this - so right hand refuses to acknowledge what the left hand is doing, and that moth-eaten profile picture shows it.

      Then with Cassandra - basically the explanation is that the photos have become darker and the subjects further and further away from the lens, and harder to see. They're going the other way from the way they started with Jessica. I guess they want the message out there but perhaps are second guessing having close-ups, and what can be made of those down the line. The note about "Shhh, they're sleep skyping" comes from Cassandra's twitter when she said "sleep skyping! Why didn't we think of this before!"

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    2. And the Hilborn "cardiogram" line is just documenting how fans are reacting a whole lot more phlegmatically than in days of old. Sletten and Verburg are a fierce, charming, musical and, not incidentally, very good-looking little novice team from the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy.

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    3. Duhh my friend did that sleep skyping with her bf .... -_- Pathetic !

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    4. Oh my fucking God - I had an idea, but only just now looked it up to realize Cassandra fucking Hilborn was telling twitter that when she goes to sleep she opens her laptop and places it on the pillow beside her, and Scott, wherever he is, does the same, so they can virtually sleep together. That's worse than sobbing when she said good'by. What is wrong with these people. There's shamming, and then there's pretending you're not a married dad with a flesh and blood child and maybe you ought to show some respect for that role even - the HORROR - in public - and choosing instead to present yourself as an inane lovesick lyric scrawling virtual snuggler with a woman not your wife.

      Who comes up with these personas? Are the girls set free to use the name "Scott Moir" to construct their fantasy boyfriend? Does he trade his name out like that? Pretend to be my girlfriend for me and Tessa and I'll be any Scott you want on social media. Go ahead. Snuggle with me on your laptop. Sob your heart out because I'm going on tour with whatsername. On social media, I'll listen to you play your self-penned songs on your guitar for HOURS - in front of the fire! I'll surprise you on your doorstep in the middle of a dreary week of dental hygiene-ing. He's okay with these images of him going out - he doesn't think well he doesn't just belong to himself, he also belongs to his child?

      If these personas aren't designed by the girl then it's the Moirs? And this is how their fantasy of Scott away from Tessa that they get to direct via the fake girlfriends on social media?

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    5. Anon 8:51 -- You're kidding? How old was she, 14?

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    6. I sometimes wonder if Toddler Moir has ever considered loading up her favorite worldly possessions and seeking out a new family with both respect for her and some common sense.

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    7. It's been said before on the blog how Tessa and Scott have no common sense standards when it comes to filtering sham activity. Proclaiming on social media that they are sleeping with this GF (or BF) is not a problem for them. In fact, the sham is calculated to make sure that is the take-away.

      I don't understand the carelessness toward everything a marriage and parenthood represents. Have they no shame?

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    8. I can't help thinking the girls like the attention and the Moirs get off on it. They have to tell themselves WE (fans) suck up this sleep skype, sob story, Tessa Who stuff in order to justify it, but it's them that gets off on it. They make us the problem so they have an excuse to get in the mud where they want to be, in order to solve it. It's pretty gross.

      I suspect Scott and Tessa have a Scarlet O'Hara mindset: "We'll think about it tomorrow". They'll deal with it all after Sochi. They're thinking about Sochi.

      I wonder if at any point they'll look back at this quadrennial and realize their child was there for it and has absolutely nothing on the historical record to show the child's friends (in college, adulthood), the child's own children, etc. No scrapbook or personal candid is as exciting as saying "there I am!" in an old broadcast, or showing people your parents calling out your name as they win a championship.

      A very exciting fact about the kid's parents, part of history by the time the child goes to school, and erased from all of it in public.

      The child is too young for them to know if it would mean something to have a small public part of all of this, so they've made the decision for the kid and it's final. No do over if it turns out to be a disappointment. Okay, but it seems absolutely cruel to go out of their way to participate in actual documentaries like Ice Sweat and Tears and whatever this upcoming crap turns out to be, broadcasting it will deal with the "unique relationship" (as the Catholic Church defines unique relationship, surely), and erasing the child's existence.

      And the specifically narcissistic, possessive, obsessive persona the fake girlfriends adopt to balm their own egos and sell themselves as well as the sham is beyond disrespectful to Scott and Tessa's child. A kid is queasy enough about the sex lives of their parents. Imagine having years of public and social media litter from a couple of girls telling the world about their implied sex life with your father, especially with this cloying, needy overlay.

      Does the fact that it's in two dimensions and a fantasy make it any easier to digest for a kid? I certainly don't think so.

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    9. "I wonder if at any point they'll look back at this quadrennial and realize their child was there for it and has absolutely nothing on the historical record to show the child's friends (in college, adulthood), the child's own children, etc. No scrapbook or personal candid is as exciting as saying "there I am!" in an old broadcast, or showing people your parents calling out your name as they win a championship."

      This. Pulling out the personal family archives isn't quite as exciting as pulling up a broadcast on youtube and pointing out yourself or the part where your parents gave you a shout out.

      I'm of the mind that V/M don't put a lot of forward thought into this stuff. They don't think long term. It's all about what's convenient for them at the moment.

      You're also right that there is no do-over for this stuff. No chance to go back and fix it. Making it all worse is the fact that they go to such extreme lengths to make sure she's edited out of everything. Everyone in the family and everyone in Moirville gets a piece if they want it. Everyone except the one person who deserves it a most. At the worst, it's Moirville getting the attention, but it's also similar-aged cousins getting the shout outs and the shots on camera. Picture it, about 18-20 years from now, three young cousins with their college peers. They bring up a video of a decades old skating performance. Two of them get to point themselves out in the stands and hear their uncle shouting out to them. The third? No where in sight and not even a shout out from mom and dad--like she didn't even exist.

      Do any of them even consider the fact that this child is a real person? This child is edited out of the public record and the punchline of jokes on social media and the various skating forums.

      What they do to the fans is terrible. What they're doing to V/M's child is worse. I can't help but think that there will be fallout from this down the line.

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    10. I'm thinking back to them claiming their relationship is a marketing tool. I believe behind that statement is - we're protecting ourselves with a false version of ourselves. But from another angle, it looks like they had a baby but decided they could sell themselves better if they didn't acknowledge the kid existed, which is sort of insulting to the child. We love you sweetie, but our marketing profile said us childless and platonic was a better pitch. Don't take it personally.

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    11. I still wish they'd aired the entire interview or had put it all of it up online so that we'd know exactly what was said on that topic. I probably shouldn't give V/M the benefit of the doubt, but I'm also a bit hesitant to trust that the paraphrased memories of a fan on facebook that were shared two months after the interview are an entirely accurate summary. It is true that when it comes to endorsements, they are used in marketing as the team of TessaAndScott--think Lindt Chocolate, Kozy Shack, the Body Shop duo lotion stuff. They do that stuff together as opposed to D/W whom can't even hawk cereal together as the unit of MerylAndCharlie. For me, without seeing and hearing what was actually said, it comes down to did she actually say they market their relationship to sell themselves OR is it that their partnership plays a role in endorsing the things that they have together? There is a difference there.

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  17. Does somebody have to hold a gun to the head of the DW ubers to get them to state in real words why their team is so much better? Is it sooo difficult??

    http://web.icenetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130805&content_id=55949358&vkey=ice_news

    "Why do you feel so entitled for an element by element breakdown? Is it because my opinion is different than your and you can't handle that? Is it because I still disagree with you?"

    "The reality is you don't actually want to know what I think of it, unless it fits with what you think."

    Oh please, honey, get a fucking grip.

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    1. Hahaha, that is awesome. Unbelievable.

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    2. 8:54

      Oh, so now it's a virtue (no pun intended) to *Not* break down the skating element by element?

      Yes, because this is a real sport so objective judging, rulebooks, traditional standards of skating and dancing don't count for anything. Now it's a scorecard based on how a performance made you *feel.*

      The defense of D/W's skating is falling apart and getting more ridiculous by the day. I can't wait to hear what other arguments they come up with. If they just knew how foolish they sound. It's not doing their favorite team any favors to resort to explaining their greatness on the basis of abstract intangibles like "what I like" or "how they make me feel" or "my real opinion that you can't handle." What the hell.

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    3. Not to mention there's a double standard. The DW fans feel free to take down Virtue and Moir. It's the core of their argument for DW. DW deserve to win because VM "have lost something" (which means DW should receive whatever it is Virtue Moir have lost - that's the logic). Because Scott Moir is a dick. Because they don't seem like they'd like you back the same way DW would like you back if you met them. Because they work hard and you can see it - they're not obnoxiously talented where everything's easy. DW fans take down Virtue and Moir left and right. Look at the face book "The Skating Lesson". The short dance comes out - bam, it's embedded there and everybody takes them down.

      But oh my LORD, how mean girls are VM fans if they actually look at DW's skating and wonder why that skating is beating VM's skating.

      The double standards they're trying to legislate are unbelieveable. Only VM can't make mistakes. Moreover, if they make mistakes, the points on the ice go to DW. DW can bitch out VM's programs all day long and then go back again for any pieces they missed. We, however, CAN'T look at DW or their skating - it's unfair and they resent it.

      DW partisans have become incredibly spoiled. Which tends to happen when someone gets something without having earned it. They start expecting it to be that way with everything.

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    4. I thought breaking down the skating element-by-element was intimately involved in how the scores are supposed to be determined (because we all know that isn't actually how they are being determined).

      These people make no sense.

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    5. And deafening silence...unless she is collaborating with her fellow ubers with response or she's given up entirely.

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    6. 9:48
      Don't you know, it's because "you don't actually want to know what I think of it, unless it fits with what you think."

      Manipulative games.

      Instead of answering the question, she transforms the issue into *your problem* because "you don't actually want to know" her opinion. LOL

      These people can attack and whine all they want trying to avoid intelligible answers. It won't make the questions go away. Nice try, though. Too bad it didn't work.

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    7. I cannot wait for D/W to debut their programs and see how these people will be tripping themselves about "awesome" and "fast" and otherwise gushing over their fave team's junk-ass skating.

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  18. lmao someone on goldenshit (goldenskate) said v/m will look like sloths compared to d/w

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    1. I'm betting they actually haven't seen the two teams LIVE.

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    2. Plenty of fans have seen them both live, so apparently that doesn't always work. But I know my opinion of D/W sure dropped off a cliff when I first saw the two teams together.

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    3. Has anyone ever reported back from seeing both live and was more impressed by DW? Seriously.

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    4. There are D/W ubers who I personally know that have been to several competitions. Do I understand their conclusions? Not in the slightest.

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    5. Anon at 7:53 pm - thanks for your comment. I think its natural for some fans to gravitate to a team for one reason or another. And I can usually pick out positive traits from each team and go from there but D/W is not a team that stands out for me for whatever reason - besides consistency - so for my two cents - I don't get how you get to be an D/W uber unless you really love D/W for their non controversial personalities and work ethic or you just are really anti-V/M and D/W is your safest alternative...

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    6. DW might be ok, if they were ranked 8-10 in the world. Then I could appreciate them as an up and coming team who need to improve their basics, but with some well-designed programs to hide their deficiencies that are occasionally entertaining. Kind of like the German team with the Zombie program.

      Now, this will be controversial but who cares, it's anon... definitely think DW's non-controversial personalities and frankly, plainness, drive a lot of their fandom. Charlie is cute, never sexy, in that non-threatening, boy band kind of way. Meryl is shall we say not conventionally attractive. They have no romantic chemistry. Virtue Moir present something unattainable. They're taller, better looking, better skaters, better dancers... it's not fair, but blame nature. Meryl and Charlie appeal to the dreamers, the concept that you can study hard and work hard and be anything you want to be, even if you're not born with the talent. And those cloying music choices like Rigby, Samson, Phantom, and Notre Dame all have this dreamer quality.... Meryl always looking up into the sky, Charlie beseeching, the hair flinging from both... a lot of their ubers have literary-type screennames. They remind me of the girls in my high school who all had screennames about Eponine or Le Petit Prince.

      Considering a lot of people believe VM fans only like them because of their looks and shipping, I think that's fair.

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    7. Anon at 5:03 pm - anon here at 8:56 pm - nicely stated. I don't have anything personal against D/W but like OC I am waiting to see what they come up with this year.

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    8. 5:03 - I think your theory is valid for a lot of the response to DW - it boils down to they seem more accessible on many levels, and they also obviously seek public approval while skating. That is appealing to a lot of people who LIKE people who want to be liked, as those people seem more humble, and friendlier. One of my favorite books, which I haven't looked at in some time, is Astaire Dancing by John Mueller. It's a look at the musical films of Fred Astaire. He covers a lot, but one thing I remember is that Astaire seldom did what Kelly did, which is play straight to the camera or employ a lot of applause-begging - knee slides towards the lens, throwing the arms open towards the lens, etc. - essentially making audience response the priority rather than the dance itself. DW definitely turn to the audience and cue them to react.

      But, I wonder if DW are as popular off the web as they are on the web. Internet fandom breaks from the general public a lot of the time, whether it's figure skating fandom or other. For instance, it's really common for internet fans to claim they're kind of bored by ladies singles, when in the general public, ladies singles is the most popular discipline. In frequent polls about the most beautiful ladies figure skaters, the internet fandom often ignores the conventionally or classically attractive (especially in North America) and claims to find some of the more offbeat skaters the most beautiful. It's kind of a reverse snobbery. And frankly, only on the internet (or among super dedicated skating fans off the internet) do I find figure skating fans drooling over the guys - not just the guys whose physical appeal obviously asserts itself no matter what they're wearing, but some very ordinary looking guys.

      IOW, I think the internet is different. I think the Shibs created more genuine excitement and enjoyment in Greensboro a couple of years ago than Davis White. I think Virtue Moir create a lot more real world excitement in the arena when they skate. The support for DW on the internet is very political. There's the support among various internet fan communities, and there's the on blast steamroller used by their Federation and various media. Do they actually have more public support than VM? I don't think so.

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    9. This is 5:03. OC, I definitely think you're right. I was trying to explain why I think that the fandom that they do have is so passionate about them. It's a niche fandom of starry-eyed teenage/college girls and a couple of older women who think they're being subversive, or maybe just egalitarian, by rooting for the intellectuals instead of the beautiful people. (Nevermind that this is an athletic competition with standards...)

      I will never understand how people can think Charlie is hot. Not that it matters whether he is or isn't as far as his dancing, but he still looks like a tween boy to me. In any niche fandom, fans will pull out the more successful/slightly better looking guys and declare them total hotties, so that's not unique to skating fans (but then you have your John Zimmermans and Fedor Andreevs who really are hotties and have legit modeled). It's another example of how easy it is for the fans to convince themselves how great something is.

      VM do have more support in the real world, I think, and even on the internet among casual fans. If you go to a youtube page for one of the bigger events (ie the Olympics, not some event that only a skating fan would seek out), the page will be overwhelmingly supportive of VM. The ISU facebook site had many pro-VM comments after Worlds, almost as many as there were people saying Denis Ten should have won. A facebook site is the kind of a place a casual fan (using a personal account not created to talk about figure skating) goes to post there opinion. Even with all of the ta-da-ing in DW's skating, most unbiased observers will gravitate to VM. If you look at icenetwork comments or skating boards the reactions will be different because the person had to care enough to even be reading it.

      I also think VM are more popular in Canada, by far, than DW in the US. As pointed out in that whiny NY Times article, nobody really cares. They are so lucky that there are no singles stars in the US right now so the full political force of the USFS works to their benefit. Unfortunately for us, the US is the biggest market for everything (NBC even dictated the timing of the team event), so you get things like VM left off NBC's athletes to watch list.

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    10. "t's a niche fandom of starry-eyed teenage/college girls and a couple of older women who think they're being subversive, or maybe just egalitarian, by rooting for the intellectuals instead of the beautiful people. (Nevermind that this is an athletic competition with standards...)"

      I think a lot of these people fancy themselves the art hipsters of skating fandom. They seem to get off on getting uppity over worse teams/skaters and/or lower ranked teams/skaters. They end up acting like they're more refined and cultured by not going for the status quo (i.e. the actual best skaters) and seeing something in the crappy skating of the less proficient teams.

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  19. This SD is fantastic. Lots of character in terms of dancing. No stupid tricks like doing a butterfly. Just pure, smooth skating. The footwork looks so difficult, but they did a great job with it in this outing. Lots of close holds too like they were almost hugging. Loved the midline and the twizzles; the small details like the arm positions were beautiful.

    Kudos to the V/M FSU thread too. The shading of D/W is hilarious but seriously, what do those D/W ubers expect by going into the V/M thread and saying shit. LOL.

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  20. Here's a gem:

    http://web.icenetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130812&content_id=56737924&vkey=ice_news
    << Zoueva reports Virtue and Moir's training partners Meryl Davis and Charlie White -- who defeated the Canadians three times last season, including at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships -- are similarly well prepared. The reigning U.S. and world champions will debut their new programs at the U.S. Figure Skating International Classic in Salt Lake City in September.

    "I think, really, I picked the best music of their careers for both teams," Zoueva said. "I picked the music and styles that will show what each of them does best.">>

    Typical fucking D&W. V&M actually go out and show how prepared they are. D&W get someone to SAY they're equally prepared. And let's not forget to note they are the reigning World and US (who cares?) champions in an article that has nothing to do with them.

    "What each of them does best" toepicking, hopping, straining, and gesticulating?

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    1. Yes it is ridiculous of icenetwork - plugging D/W every chance they get. For lords sake, Champs Camp is right around the corner and then Salt Lake City is before Finlandia - so plenty opportunities to coronate D/W...Salt lake City will be a pretty big competition for dance with D/W, the Shibs, P/B and W/P - so we will see how that goes and whether altitude will affect these skaters...

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    2. Icenetwork does belong to the USFSA and it exists to promote their skaters and events. The surprise is actually that they would report on any skater that is not from the US. In that sense, they do the skating fans a favor by covering skaters and events that are unrelated to the USFSA.

      Whining about icenetwork accomplishes nothing--they're doing their job.

      The problem rather is that Skate Canada has no equally strong and influential media outlet. They are the ones dropping the ball here, not icenetwork.

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    3. Anon at 10:43 am - no I agree with you that Skate Canada has no influential media outlet and that icenetwork's mandate is to provide exposure for US skaters. But in the last 2.5 years - some of the headlines that have been given with V/M articles have been underhanded to say the least. And yes they are providing coverage for other skaters - which perhaps we should be grateful for - but when there are underlying tones of nastiness...it's just not good for the sport...

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    4. If icenetwork had to choose between doing good for the sport or promoting a skater from the US, at the expense of undermining the competition from another country, you really think they would go with the good of the sport? I submit that they have a mandate to do whatever is necessary (it's not about truth) to gush over their own skaters and promote them as the bestest and greatest.

      If VirtueMoir are in the way of the ambitions for the US team, well too bad. They must be portrayed as less deserving. Always.

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    5. its fucking ice-network! what do you expect?? U.S. media is sooo obnoxious

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    6. Okay anon at 1:13 pm - point taken. Not sure by the tone of your comments if you are even a fan of V/M's skating but nonetheless it is what it is. I just think that like anything else in life - you can be competitive, confident and driven but you can also be humble and classy. Unfortunately, icenetwork's attitude has spilled over into message boards and it's no longer about the skating. It's become the "We are number 1" or "USA USA" chanting anthem for D/W. I guess figure skating ubers have joined the "meathead" group.

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    7. I'm Anon 1:13. I am a VirtueMoir fan. I'm just as irritated as anyone else that icenetwork continually takes digs at VM. But I expect that. That's how the USFSA does business.

      Sorry to come across harsh. Really, my main complaint is Skate Canada letting a place like icenetwork be the source of information about SC skaters. Where is a Canadian article saying the same thing but with a favorable slant toward VirtueMoir? Informing the public about their amazing skating that is better than DavisWhite's skating. Bah. Instead, we get more talk about their personal business. It makes me mad.

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    8. anon here at 2:20 pm - I just wanted to add that believing in your country's athletes is great but when it becomes an all or nothing attitude - it's just a turn off. Case in point - as a Canadian - I just cringe at the hockey-mania that exists here. Judging by the Canadian media and most of the fans here - they believe that Canadian hockey players are the best in the world. no questions asked. if you are a real fan of hockey - you know better. In terms of skating skills, puck control, passing and shooting accuracy - traditionally the Russians and the Europeans are better players at the elite level.
      So who knows what will happen in Sochi - but my take is I will try to enjoy this season without all the background noise cuz this fan war is just going to get worse...and over what? A sport that is getting less coverage every year...

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    9. 10:43, what you say is true and it's Skate Canada's own fault that they're not using SkateBuzz to promote their own skaters. But there is something insidious about how icenetwork operates. They cover all the countries, the articles are generally respectful, but there are always little digs in there that make you think the entire site is a front for making it all seem fair and balanced so they can dig the screws into the US rivals. There was a really mean headline about Pechalat Bourzat once, but I don't remember what it said.

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    10. Anon at 3:17 and 3:27 - I agree with you both. Skate Canada is a BIG FAIL when it comes to media relations. I mean you had both V/M and Duhamel/Radford competing at this event - in the greater Montreal area - and no-one was available from Skate Canada's Ottawa office to drive 2 hrs and tape this event. I guess Barb MacDonald couldn't haul her --- there but the WTT event in Japan - no problem....the mind boggles...nothing on Skate Canada's twitter about this event - as far as I know...yes I know this event will be archived but really if you can't make a little effort for your National Champions then you see that Gilles/Poirier newspaper fiasco..yeah Skate Canada...you might as well be Skate Jamaica...(apologies to Jamaicans)

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  21. What is nasty about this latest article on Virtue and Moir's short dance debut? Seems positive to me.

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    1. It's not that it was nasty, it was that they couldn't resist a quote saying that D/W were just as prepared. Once again, V/M were out SHOWING how prepared they were while someone was just saying D/W was as prepared. It's the same old trick: V/M go out and actually do something. D/W (or someone) just says that they did the same thing, and they get credit. If D/W are so prepared, why aren't they out somewhere showing one of their programs?

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  22. Well, in the Olympic build-up, I think we will see more and more articles that discuss both of these teams, especially since (right or wrong) they share the same coach/choreographer. Marina often compares the teams and praises her musical selections for each, nothing new there. I was rather glad to get the information.

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    1. Same here. Since none of the Canadian media outlets were interested in this at all, it's nice to get even a few quotes from Tessa/Scott and Marina and a bit more information on the weekend.

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  23. For what's supposed to be a fan community for VM, there sure is an awful lot of plain ignorance here: http://virtuemoir.livejournal.com/259088.html

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    1. That one poster's favourite program is UMBRELLAS, so I'm not really taking her seriously. I do like the program, but it's my least favourite senior FD and I know many V/M fans feel the same.

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    2. Umbrellas is/was a great program for that point in time. And it's still very enjoyable today. That was the year they really hit the gym hardcore and their power increased exponentially in their basic stroking (Valse is a beautiful program, but the one thing that it lacked was that power). That was also the year that they started working with their choreographer from Cirque and their lifts become more intricate. You start to see the seeds of the couple that's going to later do iconic lifts like the Goose. Where Umbrellas lacks is in the transitions. At that point, they're not yet able to marry a difficult program with speed and power as they are today. Sadly, as we know, Tessa's legs began to bother her that season.

      Umbrellas was all about creating a mood. I still love watching it, but I think I agree with 6:06; I don't see how a VM fan can't see the tremendous growth between Umbrellas and Carmen. Nothing wrong with having Umbrellas as a favorite program but that person is saying they lost something between then and now. They didn't. They GAINED so much. Carmen was such a stretch on them physically. On another note, I don't understand why they think the new SD is "schmaltzy old music" but then like Umbrellas which isn't exactly modern... I think this fan is conflating their personal preference with VM's athletic prowess.

      That's the other thing that gets me about the people that love to use the "Tessa's legs/something is just missing" bullshit. How do they explain why VM's programs are so much more difficult now? I just love the people that say she's not skating beautifully and freely like in Mahler. In 2010 she was in a lot of fucking pain. It's all about perception, not reality. At Quebec summer skate, they just skated their FD in the morning, then their SD in the afternoon (with the demanding Finnstep) and she looked as free and comfortable as could be. That literally would not have been possible when her legs were flaring up. She would have to rest a few days even after doing a full run-through.

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    3. Best.comment.ever.

      "Let's revisit the season and walk through a few things.

      Both the SD and FD were tweaked between each and every outing last season, based upon the feedback they were given by the judges. The steps and the lift were changed in the SD between SC and CoR. More changes made between CoR and the GPF, and then between GPF and Canadian Nationals, they did a bit more reworking it because THEY weren't feeling it--not because the judges weren't. As for the FD, they changed one of the step sequences between SC and CoR, and made a few more tweaks between CoR and the GPF. They changed the choreo lift between the GPF and Nationals, and then finally the spin. So, clearly, they were taking what the judges said under advisement. And just to restate what I already said yesterday: it was the judges who told Marina in the first place that they wanted to see VM do something like Carmen. They were doing EXACTLY what had been suggested by the judges, using music selected by Marina. If anything, history has shown that VM listen to the judges too much. Think about how much they tinkered and tinkered and tinkered with the SD in 11-12. They tinkered far past the point that they should have.

      Worth pointing out is that VM have been noted and praised since childhood for their coachability and their willingness to listen to feedback from judges and other officials. That's pretty much the exact opposite of ignoring the judges.

      Now, a word on scoring. Let's pretend DW don't exist for a minute. The scores that VM received for their programs, save the disastourous SD at SC with the botched lift, were actually very high and, most of the time, completely in line with the criteria set forth in the CoP.

      The problem with the scoring last season WASN'T really so much that VM weren't getting scored high enough. It was mostly that DW were getting scored too high for what they were actually doing, given points for things they didn't and weren't actually doing out on the ice. Their scores, especially PCS and GOE, were grossly inflated when you compare what they actually did to the criteria set forth in CoP.

      The judges did, in fact, care for VM's programs. It's just that politics was at it's worst last year and DW were getting grossly overscored. That was the real problem last season. If DW had been scored as they should have been, VM would have triumphed last season. It's DW's scores that were the outliers, not VM's."

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    4. And this:

      "The speculation from those who truly know skating is that they'll be even faster when they're in a bigger rink, but make no mistake: they were flying on Saturday. Speed is easier to judge if you have a wider angle camera shot where you can see the entire rink--fancam versions are typically better for this than official broadcasts. There are several fancam versions of the event, and VM were both hauling out there. Scott was in no way pulling Tessa.

      I also heartily disagree with the assessments of VM's and DW's abilities and progress. There's been some incredible hinkiness going on with the judging (being more political instead of based by what was actually done on the ice). DW continue to repeat the same elements (there's visual, video evidence of them doing the same twizzles for both programs for 5 seasons running now as one example). Their apparent speed doesn't come from their blades: it comes from literally running, toe-picking, and hoping down the ice. Also contributing to the illusion of speed is they're constantly busy with upper-body gesticulating that has nothing to do with what they're doing with their blades. They don't skate close together in hold. They can't get in and out of an element on an edge, having to reset on two feet before they go on. They have to latch on to each other for dear life in lifts because Charlie rocks on his blades and Meryl doesn't have the core strength to carry herself (compare to Scott who is rock solid on his blades and Tessa who can carry herself like no other). VM's speed, flow, and power is all generated from their blades and incredibly soft, rhythmic knees. They have deeper edges, and show far more multi-directional skating and more skating on one foot.

      As for twizzles, again, refer to fancam videos. DW don't cover nearly the distance that VM's do and their second set often is either stationary or barely travels at all.

      I'm also sorry some of you did not personally prefer VM's music choices and program themes the last couple of years, but the music and theme is just a framework to for the skating and dancing that's supposed to be judged. Funny Face, I remind you, one the world title. It was also a technically brilliant program. Carmen was groundbreaking in putting true modern dance on ice (and the music was, by the way, chosen by Marina).

      I can understand why someone might enjoy one team over another for various reasons, but I also suggest taking some time to better educate yourself on ice dancing."

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    5. Just prior to DW's first unveiling of their programs, I'm doing a post compiling the critique of their skating, which includes a roster of their tricks and non-skating crutches, so it can be noted if these tricks and crutches appear in their 2014 Olympic programs.

      Your comment here IMO nails something that hadn't crystalized for me before - the reason Charlie and Meryl paste themselves together in lifts and can't execute "as one" in transitions. It's Charlie's rocking blade and Meryl's struggle to manage her body in space at even the most elementary remove from their conjoined centers of gravity. All the "hard work" hasn't corrected either of these issues.

      When I look at them outside of elements, that becomes apparent, although I still wonder why Meryl ends up walking as much as she does.

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    6. I likewise agree, and have said before, that the scandal is DW overscoring. VM's scoring becomes hinky only when one looks over at DW and wonders why DW's skating isn't scrutinized. One can also wonder why VM's skating skills and degrees of difficulty in Carmen, in particular, aren't rewarded, but I think that's extremely self-serving on the part of the ISU. If they rewarded VM's skills to the degree they deserved, scores would have to drop after VM retired.

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    7. Good point, OC. If all of this "hard work" hasn't corrected basic issues where juniors are outpacing them, then WTF are they doing?

      The narrative needs to be flipped. They say they work harder than anyone? If they have to work THAT hard just to maintain the hustle of a 5 year old FD, then they must seriously fucking suck balls. There is an FSU thread youtubing all the skater's programs to Samson & Delilah and several people commented there that it was still their best FD, and nothing since has come close. This includes their FANS.

      Can you imagine they drill those twizzles day after day and still can't exit them on an edge?! They practice the same lifts that B&A did in 2006 (loooong after everyone else has gone home) and Meryl still has to grab onto Charlie in three different spots? She still can't let go for more than a split second? Still collapses out of position and both onto two feet - and that is considered a GOOD attempt?

      Special Olympics, much?

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    8. As to the reaction to VM's program package year to year - skating is a sport. It's an Olympic sport. Yet here we are with many of the teams having shown their programs at summer comps, and immediately the reaction in the fandom is on aesthetic preferences. Did they like the music or not. Did they like the chosen style or not. And of course, they immediately conflate their individual - and often uninformed - preferences with how the judges will respond to the programs. I say uninformed because I recall a self-styled "serious fan"'s nonstop griping about Fred Astaire's singing and Gershwin's lyrics in Funny Face. That music - and Astaire's rendition - is part of the American Standard Songbook, and furthermore, has endured in subsequent generations to the extent that many popular contemporary singers have covered this material, but people can't be bothered to learn. They all feel that everything in the realm of culture is visceral. I like it or not. There's no such thing as an educated ear, or an educated eye.

      I am not a skating fan for the music. I am a skating fan for the skating. From what I can tell on the internet, that makes me a minority. People are unable to support their own opinions, because their opinions are supported by their personal aesthetic sensibilities, often unthought, and not by an informed understanding of figure skating.

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  24. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1Y3RjkqL20

    This is brilliant. Although I'd like to see V/M's 4cc performance perhaps. As criminal as the scoring was at Worlds SD, it wasn't V/M's best day. As 6:37 says above, the problem wasn't V/M's score.

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    1. Thanks for the video..one thing that really sticks out in this video is how Meryl Davis has absolutely no knee bend - she actually fights the ice and has very little stroking power. And folks let not even talk about how far apart they skate...Kurt's comment about the stationary posing being it's the ballet portrayal..just no...and you are married to a ballerina for the National Ballet of Canada..just no..

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    2. Haha! Don't know if the creator saw this, or if we just had a brainshare.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpmiVbVc1ZE

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    3. their yankee polka pattern is sooo slow.

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    4. It's impossible to watch these videos of only feet and not see the clear difference between VM and DW. How in hell did the ISU decide DW should be anywhere near the top five, maybe not even in the top ten, of the best in the world?

      WHERE is the elite icedancing in DW's skating? It's not there. Their scores are a fantasy created by corrupt PTB. There's no other explanation.

      And people accuse Scott of being a douchebag for speaking out ONCE? I see this "skating" and realize in fact both Tessa and Scott have been more than gracious. They must know better than anyone what complete crap DW are doing on the ice but they've never had anything but kind words for DW and their skating.

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    5. Awesome videos...they should have with them from the waist up, to highlight D/W's frantic limbs, hair-tossing, and ridiclious expression.

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    6. After watching the video posted above of the free dance I clicked the link to carmen feet only http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLMm7V73ICM and have to say that there is no way those twizzles should have been hit as hard as they were in the scoring. They were gorgeous and perfectly in sync until the end of the third set, but even then tessa was in control, just a tad bit off. As has already been pointed out, they came out of nowhere and are perfectly in tune with the music as well.

      I am just thankful I was able to see them compete live last year as I thought both programs were masterpieces. I was disapointed they listed to too much feedback last year and ended up changing too much. In many ways I enjoyed the skate canada debut more, despite the early season errors. I still catch myself humming the short dance.

      So excited they decided to debut the programs early this year. They must have already had some input on the short dance before heading to quebec. I think the plan this year was to avoid having the judges feedback be too public in order to reduce the amount of material available for the DW fans to latch onto since many of them struggle to detect the technical flaws of VM without having them pointed out. This way they will rely solely on the very visible mistakes and their generic comments about speed and connection.

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    7. It wasn't the Carmen twizzles that were hit so hard: it was the set in the SD. Still, they shouldn't have been hit nearly that hard. That error was not enough to justify burying them like that.

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    8. if it werent for the blatant character assassination both tessa and scott went through this season especially after WTT and the people who are saying carmen is "too sexy", tessa and scott would've won worlds.

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    9. ^^^ what i meant to say is this kind of character assassination has been going on ever since they won the olympics and it got worse last year after gpf and wtt and even worse this year with carmen.

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    10. The only people who publicly complained Carmen being too sexy was the DW ubers; most commentators and former skaters praised it as being brilliant. Did Notre Dame get any praise (other than over-blown scores)? None at all.

      As ridiculous as least season was, I'm actually feeling optimistic about this season. Carmen cemented how brilliant V/M are (but we've known that all along). It was almost like "okay, let D/W win this title to shut them up from last season, but really, everybody knows V/M are better". During their exhibition, one of the Eurosport guys even alluded to saying that they could accept losing in 2013 if it meant winning in Sochi.

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    11. Sometimes I feel similarly optimistic about this year, but sometimes it scares me how low DW have re-set the bar for themselves with ND. They'll come into next season even more entitled to demand high scores even if they only make 1-2 cosmetic changes to the stock FD.

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    12. Feet-only version of ND:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOvxmamLGmg

      Compare to Carmen:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLMm7V73ICM

      Several things become more obvious: whenever Scott has to be on two feet, he is usually in an elegant spread-eagle position; Scott's feet turning lifts turns are neat and he doesn't kick up snow; Tessa and Scott are CARVING the ice during their footwork sequences, especially the circular sequence.

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    13. I love these videos. I'm attempting a feet only rendition of Giselle and Die Fleudermaus, and have yet to decide if the very imperfect censor bar (using wingdings rectangles in windows movie maker) is too much of a distraction for its purpose - to look at the feet in Die Fleudermaus and Giselle - both of which contain nonstop wtf-ery where blade meets (or rather, does not meet) ice.

      What I'd really love is an edit program that can render photoshop-type effects - IOW, I'd love an edit program that showed twizzles in silhouette. Show VM's. Show DW's. Everybody would be able to immediately identify VM's programs, short and long, by the twizzles in silhouette. Nobody would know WTF program DW were skating, going back to 2009-2010.

      I was optimistic about last season because Carmen was such a throw down, but the judges went ahead and gave ND Carmen's points, right out of the box. It doesn't matter how DW skate, or how VM skate, it matters how DW are scored, and the inquiry letter from the ISU doesn't inspire confidence. Of all the issues in ice dance last season, they decide to deliver THAT? Insane.

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    14. Sony Vegas might be able to do that.

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  25. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=627408720626861&set=a.533217840045950.127147.115620025139069&type=1&permPage=1

    I cannot put into words how awesome it is they chose this photo to promote Skate America.

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    1. Anon at 11:19 pm - thanks for bringing over. The number and positioning of support points is just ridiculous. And then look at Meryl's feet - not even fully extended. Then you compare this picture to V/M's ending position in Carmen and you have to hand it to Scott - he is fully extended, holds the position with Tessa of course and look at his skates..you cannot even compare the difficulty of these positions and it's not even a lift but it speaks volumes...pcs my ass isu...

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    2. someone should write '404 choreography not found' on the photo

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    3. 12:49 hahaha

      My fav part is the head lock.

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    4. The head lock is definitely hilarious and remember Chuck you have to aid Meryl - a la moving furniture - grab all possible corners and lift as close to your body as possible. Yes Derek Hough please explain the beauty of this picture...

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    5. And Meryl's "free" hands...oye...

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  26. No other team can manage it!

    Bobroba/Soloviev new SD twizzles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9aItNp2myYE&t=70

    It would fuckin' hilarious if every team in the top 10 except V/M caught on that they only needed a double twizzle.

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    1. Meh.

      Has anyone seen P/B's new SD? After D/W's, I'm most interested in seeing their new material.

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    2. Theoretically, P/B and the Shibs should be able to capture the mood of the Finnstep. It will be interesting to see what team Shpilband comes up with for P/B, C/L and Chock/Bates.

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