Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why do they bother

Tessa and Scott 2011:


Davis White 2014


Virtue and Moir 2013



Davis White 2014


How many lunges do we have here Charlie? Five?

Charlie said each year they wonder how they'll top the past year's lift. Well, they look across the ice at their training mates and bastardize whatever they just did.

The reason DW didn't blow the roof off in the short dance, despite the highish score, is they actually have to do the Finnstep, and that needs work. The free dance is junkyard stuff skated wide wide apart. There are miles between Meryl and Charlie in both programs, more than ever before. When they don't toe pick, they have to keep their distance in order to skate, and even then all they're doing in the free is pumping across the ice. That's it.

Don't just notice Tessa's superior everything in these moves. Look at Scott into them and assisting her out of them. Look at his body, look at his blade, on their own, and vis a vis hers. Then look at Charlie's cheats.

Why is one of Meryl's go to moves a crouch and then straightening out and pumping her upper body? It's bend and pump, bend and pump.

Some fan claimed that DW's upside down lift is "slightly more difficult" because Meryl's hand is free. Charlie crouches down and wraps both his arms around Meryl, Meryl wraps both her arms around Charlie's trunk, and she is hoisted into position as if she's a sack of laundry. From there she has her entire right arm across Charlie's shoulder, her own shoulder pasted to his shoulder.

Tessa rotates into position with an assist from Scott. He doesn't haul her ass up. She does a clean rotation with legs fully extended, using the final lift position itself as the position she's working with to get there.  She's there when she arrives. She doesn't say "watch this!", shinny up a tree, find a sturdy branch, crouch upside down and then stick her legs in the air.

She doesn't curl up in the arms of her partner like she's in a baby gymnastics class and then straighten her widdle legs while the mommies and daddies in the room applaud.

Tessa's balanced on his right shoulder only. And actually, she's balancing herself, his shoulder is her balance point. Her hands/elbows are leveraged onto his right shoulder. The reason Meryl and Charlie can't do this doesn't just go to Meryl. Charlie would fall over if he had to balance something on one side only. Everything they do has to reinforce their stability, not challenge it.

A comment below at 5:54 am says that Virtue and Moir's lifts resemble Davis and White's Samson and Delilah lifts, so here are the Samson and Delilah lifts, in which the first looks like a bastardized Valse Triste lift, in the second they face each other, visibly prepare for Charlie to boost Meryl (you know when you're going to lift somebody and you both flex your knees sort of like okay "one, two, THREE!") and Charlie picks her up and puts her on his hip. The exit to this thing (because I think this is the one 5:54 thinks resembles Virtue and Moir) is a treat, let me tell you.

This was my opportunity to look again at the sacred Samson and Delilah program in which Charlie drags Meryl all across the ice while lunging, and when he often appears to use her neck to drag and push her.


Did I gif Virtue Moir here by mistake?



39 comments:

  1. i hate how meryl just causually puts her hand to the side during the handstand lift can she do something better than that?

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  2. Unfuckingbelievable. And this earned 110. I mean I don't even know what to say at this point.

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  3. that sucks! and this is the second lifting copied! one word SHAME!!!!

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  4. With all due respect, VMs lift looks something out of DW's 2009 Samson and Delilah program.

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    1. Why don't I gif those lifts, too, add them to the post, and we'll see how true that is.

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    2. Wich ones and where ?! With all due respect ;)

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  5. So what are we as fans of ice dance going to do about this?

    Let's be real. The IOC wants D/W to win because they get more media money from the US than from any other country. Since ice dance judging is a a joke anyway, the ISU will go right along.

    The other Feds want D/W to win because if a team can win 2 Worlds and an Olympic gold by not skating and by doing the same damn elements six years in a row, that makes the sport tons easier for those Feds that can't afford unlimited ice time, expert coaching, Cirque de Soleil, etc.

    We've all been complaining that SC is screwing V/M by not politiking for them. But who you know who else is getting screwed? We, the fans. And there's no one there to stick up for us but ourselves!

    So why not take advantage of our education, the new social media landscape, and the small world that is figure skating?

    We all have access to the twitters, facebooks, emails, of various journalists, skaters, etc. Why don't we start a campaign barrage where we send real questions? Perhaps sending to Sinead Kerr or a Russian journalist, "Please explain how D/W's twizzles reflect the character of their dance?"

    The trick here is that this can't be a barrage of hyperbole and uberism. It would have to be legitimate questions. As real fans of the sport, I think we are all confused by how the rules are being applied. Why not send these questions out and demonstrate that we are not as stupid as the media and Feds are trying to portray?

    Sure. We may not get answers, but if we keep it up, I'd be willing to bet that one person would take the bait. Not every single person in the skating world wants D/W to win with junk skating. If we then post the question and answer on FSU, and maybe get that thread to continue, we could start to expose a sham.

    This may not stop the coronation that is already in place, but it might help save this sport for fans who truly care.



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    1. I used to think that theory - that they want to bastardize ice dance so federations with limited resources, and skaters with limited talent, can win, but when you look behind Virtue and Moir and Davis and White there are up and coming ice dancers who actually dance, all across the globe. There are training centers (Wheaton Ice Dance Academy, for example, founded by Alexei Kiliakov and Elena Novak) that teach their pupils real ice dancing, at all levels. Real ice dancing is using your blades to dance. to The "ice dance wants everybody to be like DW" theory is built on the forced rise of Gilles & Poirier.

      BTW - where is the freaking dance in Davis and White's long program? At what point are they dancing?

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    2. holy shit 6:12 AM you have a point

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    3. I also think the theory that VM are not rewarded because other federations are worried their own skaters can't do what they do is bogus. First of all, VM will be retiring after this year so it won't matter anymore. Second, the judges have no problem giving VMDW as a unit scores that are unreachable for skaters from other federations. Third, the ISU has no problem rewarding Chan's skating skills as unreachable for the other men if he skates clean, and usually even if he doesn't.

      That theory only would work if VM were being lowballed given scores that were similar to all those other skaters. They're not. DW are being given scores that are similar to VM. Others lag behind.

      It's pro DW-USFS politics, pure and simple. VM are great skaters and DW piggyback onto it, making it seem as though both teams are on another level, and then if VM put one foot wrong, they lose. Bet you anything as soon as DW retire the hop counting for level 4 twizzles will be dropped, just like the value of the quad shot up the moment Evan retired.

      We should be speaking out about this, and not on FSU, but in the press and to the ISU directly. Write your elected officials! ;) After Vancouver, the overwhelming majority of legendary figure skaters and ice dancers said VM were the ones that showed that under the new judging system you could still create art. I've never seen anyone say DW overcome the system in this way, and can't even imagine a non-American saying it.

      It should be put to the ISU that a win for DW in Sochi means a failure of the new judging system just as much as Chan winning with falls. The rules, as written, say that originality, edgework, posture and lines, musicality, etc, still count in ice dance. We deserve BETTER than some mishmosh of old twizzles and choreography from 5 years ago, lunging and skidding all over the ice, just because it supposedly gained points. Tell them we want GOOD ICE DANCING, ON EDGES, WITH CHOREOGRAPHY THAT WAS DESIGNED FOR SPECIFIC MUSIC. That if we don't get that in our champions, we won't be watching ice dance anymore.

      But how do we accomplish this???

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    4. "That theory only would work if VM were being lowballed given scores that were similar to all those other skaters."

      happened last year at skate canada.

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    5. That was Skate Canada's agenda. For skaters as brilliant as they are, VM are skating in ugly times. They've got an ugly administration and I agree 100% with 11:53 AM that this is what's going on. DW are piggybacked onto VM, get the same scores, and VM have to be perfect while DW can re-style the stuff they've known by heart since 2008 and get the same scores for the same elements as back then (break down the mechanics, it's the same stuff).

      What is really galling is even where DW ignore CoP, they're rewarded under CoP. The GOE point for twizzles in the character of the dance, the point for exiting on a sustained edge - they get without doing it.

      VM have set the standard and raised it for both and as the standard has been raised, those who fail to keep up should not see their scores keeping pace, but that is exactly what we have here.

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    6. "But how do we accomplish this???"

      I think the only way to get the ISU to listen is to make use social media. If you write to the ISU, your letter will go straight to the garbage and no one will ever know it was sent. If, however, you send these questions to say, public twitter accounts of skaters, journalists, coaches, etc, the person has to either ignore you, or deal with it. If they deal with it, and then you post the response on FSU (which is read by a lot of people), then it gets coverage. The more people we get to respond, the more coverage the issue gets. This way, it's not just fans talking. We'll be posting responses of people "within the skating world" who are otherwise silent (or are being silenced by politicks.)

      Who knows? Maybe they'll continue to be silent. Or, maybe with enough people asking honest questions, they'll feel like we deserve an honest response.

      And, btw, if the ISU has a facebook/twitter account, etc., no reason why that shouldn't be tried out as well.....

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    7. No one internally will rock the boat. Look at the ISU officials list. Lots of the Presidents are officials. Their primary concern is their own interests, not the sport. Protect their position and privilege, who cares about the athletes having fair results. Like the Skate Canada board, apparently living it up at the Chateau Laurier last weekend and doing nothing to work for their athletes. Now that's privilege. Good use of taxpayer and member money! Clearly things are getting worse at Skate Canada. Results are getting worse but who cares, we get our trips and fine hotels. Guess this is what we can expect from the new president Caron.

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  6. To throw another wrench into your argument about DW "ripping off" VM, the icenetwork article specifically states they've been working on that first lift for 3 years, and crafting the program for a couple of years. It's possible Marina gave them both variations of the lifts.

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    1. It took 3 years to come up with that? rofl....

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    2. You do realize they were mainly working on their programs for that season? That it's not they spent 3 full years, day in and day out working on it. Please tell me I didn't have to explain that to you.

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    3. Alright, 3 years ago puts us back to September 2010. Although they would be taking the break for Tessa's second surgery and for her to have the baby, their FD was already choreographed and they were training it. So, even if DW had been working on that lift for three years, VM's version was invented a little earlier and certainly competed years earlier.

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    4. 8:52, obviously they weren't working on it daily. But since they hardly had new lifts the past three years, and that first lift really has nothing to do with this year's music, then why were they saving it for so many years? It's supposed to be the pinnacle of the difficulty and beauty that they can present in a lift, then? Hence, my comment "it took three years to come up with that?!"

      It has more going on than their usual lift, but after Charlie hoists her up there (she doesn't float, and she won't float no matter how the DW fans like to bold, underline, and all caps that word after taking it from the icenetwork article), the position is absolutely hideous. The entry is a shoot the duck position that many pairs skaters have been using since before the IJS, it's nothing novel at all, and the dismount is clunky.

      Btw, OC, thank you for giffing the elements, so I can re-watch and comment on them without having to sit through the program.

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    5. You are not seriously quoting icenetwork as "evidence"? Icenetwork is a promotional arm of the USFSA. Next I'm going to realize I'm all wrong about Charlie and Meryl not having the same connection as VM since icenetwork also reported (using Meryl Charlie as their source) that they now have chemistry you can cut with a knife.

      This type of remark - using icenetwork to prove something, is like using the protocols to prove the protocols are fair.

      It's a nice looking lift, it's a nice looking show lift. What it isn't is as difficult as the lifts done by Virtue and Moir. It's a feat of strength, not a feat of skating. Getting onto Scott's back from side by side arabesques done on back outside edges and then changing position and ending up in front of him is a greater demonstration of skating skill then being swung face down onto somebody's back while he's planted on two feet and you're in a crouch. It takes athleticism - they're athletic. But of course, they stop skating to do it. She's lunged down, he's on two feet. Tessa and Scott were skating when they did theirs.

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    6. It's not even a new lift. It's the same old entrance (Charlie swinging her face down onto his back) from new non-skating starting positions.

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  7. So, I saw D/W's FD. Some initial thoughts:

    1. I've seen D/W's FDs for the past years, and based on the construction/choreo, I'm not seeing much that distinguishes the new FD as 'Persian-influenced' except for the beginning. The rest of the program looks like old D/W. Unless those bent legs and angular arms were intentional... Persian dance experts are free to chime in to point out how much influence (or not) there is. In this respect, I think the Bollywood OD brought out the Indian/Bollywood flavor better than the Scheherazade FD tries to bring out the Persian one.

    2. So, that 'handstand' lift. I think that was the most blatant V/M rip-off. I remember Carmen's first outing last season and how I quite gasped at how quickly V/M got into position. I really do wonder at Marina giving that lift to D/W, with the inevitable comparisons. Some D/W fans might say their team's version is harder, but I think the particular construction of the Schez lift is clever, because Meryl does not have Tessa's skill (not to mention core strength) to do the original Carmen lift. Honestly, I think V/M have the ability to do D/W's lift--and much more smoothly.

    3.I actually... kind of like... the entrance to the first lift (please don't kill me, OC). That said, once Meryl's on Charlie's back, the ensuing position(s) look kind of awkward.

    4. I thought they neatly side-stepped the issue of 'connection' with the interviews about the Scheherazade story, the 'lack of eye contact' etc. That was really well done, as I've always thought that Charlie White gave this 'eyes skittering away fom Meryl' impression, *especially* when they're going into lifts. I have to give Meryl some credit; of the two, I think she's the better actor. Charlie is *hopeless* at it. This team should have tried their hardest to learn from predecessors who were platonic but fantastic at connnection/chemistry/eye contact like Grishuk/Platov or Annissina/Peizarat. (Charlie White only wishes he was as fierce as Gwendal; even his hair pales in comparison...)

    5. Nice costume. But I can see why people are seeing shades of Polovtsian Dances. Not really an issue for me. I thought Meryl looked beautiful, and Charlie looked like, well, Charlie.

    6. At this point in the game, those twizzles are 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.

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    1. At this point in the game, since the judges are ignoring the twizzle issue, since Meryl and Charlie got 110 while barely pretending to hop into them and they've completely dispensed with even gesturing towards doing the twizzles in the character of the dance in either program, and yet they receive the GOE for doing the twizzles in the character of the dance, and they also get awarded for exiting on a sustained edge although they don't do that, you're right, there's no incentive for them to change the twizzles. And of course, in the Orwellian land that has become ice dance, they're called the world's best.

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    2. Without the hop, which clearly wasn't done in the SD, would the twizzles be level 1?

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    3. I don't know. I'll try to find out.

      CoP as a document is a hodgepodge of the very explicit and the undefined. No doubt, intentionally. It's difficult to find specifics - such as, how much edgework must be done during a footwork sequence before you can use a transition move such as a hop, or a scamper on your toe picks? How many edge turns between transitions?

      If a "hop" is a feature that lifts a two set twizzle pass to level 4, what level does it receive if the hop isn't performed? Again, can't find it.

      I don't think the document is meant to be understood. Sure it's legalistic, but if you take a breath and focus, most legal documents are penetrable by a layperson. Keep google handy to look up the nomenclature with which you're not familiar, and you can figure out what the parties of the first and second part are agreeing to accomplish together, unless and until various exceptions, events, etc. kick in, in which case, this that and the other UNLESS, blah blah blah. Tedious, but if you stick with it, the information is there. CoP is full of places where the language is legalistic but the definitions are incomplete and the information is not there. I believe this is because it's fake statistics, and it's also fake technique. The people who created it have imperfect understanding of what's difficult in skating and what isn't.

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    4. http://www.isu.org/vsite/vfile/page/fileurl/0,11040,4844-204786-222009-173276-0-file,00.pdf

      pg 67
      I believe it would be a Level 3 - same as if the third twizzle was left off
      Option 1 but with only features from group a and group b, no group c feature

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    5. "At this point in the game, those twizzles are 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'."

      This logic requires that they skate these twizzles the best they could possibly be skated, and yet on the second the rotation speed and ice coverage drops EVERY TIME.

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    6. There is a fancam version of the 2012 GPF on youtube. You can see in both the SD and FD that they basically do not travel in the second set of twizzles.

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    7. http://youtu.be/Ri1C9bwXBlM?t=2m6s

      I believe the technical term for this is a spin.

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  8. if you compare the S&D lifts to the shez lifts its so obvious that D/W need igor's help much more than V/M do. Shez lifts look so chaotic and ugly (like their ND lifts) whereas the lifts from S&D there is more control its like igor tried his best to clean up meryl's ugly lines.

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    1. Marina's remark was the Shez lift works on counter-movement and that's why it looks effective.

      I love the whole lot of nothing she just said. Basically she said it's an effective visual. I'm going to screen cap it.

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    2. When I go back and look at the lifts DW did when Igor was part of the team (look at Samson and Delilah, for example) I really don't agree that he helped them look not sloppy.

      I can't believe it took three years for Charlie to figure out how to actually turn his back (while on two feet) while hoisting backpacking Meryl face down onto his back, and they want a standing ovation for it. The double standards here are ridiculous.

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  9. So TSL is all over themselves with D/W...and they're sooooo impressed they trained so hard at the expense of skating in shows in CSOI this summer. Who could they possibly be referring to? Snarky idiots.

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    1. I think TSL is hoping to kiss ass its way to press credentials.

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    2. d/w were to busy vacationing with their friends (like adam rippon) to do shows. its seems that v/m have hardly had a break this off season - right after worlds they went to work on the SD and then went straight to work for csoi along with attending charity events during the summer.

      all d/w did was party.

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    3. Well VM had to work this summer, they have to be twice as good to be considered on par with skaters half as capable as they are.

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  10. "The exit to this thing (because I think this is the one 5:54 thinks resembles Virtue and Moir) is a treat, let me tell you."

    Knee sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide.

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  11. Ahahaha. Somebody should do a gif of D/W doing exactly that: "Knee sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide."

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  12. Honestly, I find they are mimicking VM in parts of both programs. It's icky and weird.

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