Saturday, October 19, 2013
This did not look so good
Acknowledging that Meryl and Charlie fake their skating (meaning, fake the calibre of their skating with a lot of non-skating hoo ha); we know what a full on Meryl and Charlie outing looks like. So, when they skate so even an casual viewer understands that wasn't the greatest, as in this short program - it wasn't good.
So give them 75 points!
But you know, it was a fairly generously scored competition segment, so to only muster 75 for DW's sluggish outing comes thisclose to saying they were disappointing. Tanith did all she could to avoid talking about tech. She ignored the standstill twizzles, and I don't blame her. No character of the music as usual, and not even a nod to sustaining an edge out of the element, not to mention the second set they both rotated like an overhead fan that had been switched off 30 seconds ago.
My impression of the speed is - slower than the Shibs by some miles. The Shibs had longer run of blade. Ice coverage not so wonderful. Lots of hesitation throughout.
When I watched this program, I thought that in a fairly scored world, this isn't the smartest short dance for them. The musical phrase to which they perform the twizzles does nothing with momentum or tension or drama to cue the audience that the twizzles are fast. This is a light, happy dance, not a pound the drums and bang the cymbols number. At the same time, it's not a peasant dance, a la Giselle. It's supposed to be actual ballroom - light, refined.
Without the music to enhance the impression of speed and dynamic skating, we can see that they're not just not fast, but much simpler than those performed by the others, and the program is fairly empty. It didn't help that the Shibutanis did three sets of twizzles that were fast, that were in the character of the music, that were powerful, and showed sustained speed, not to mention bigger run of blade in and out (DW had no run of blade out).
None of this stopped Tanith's pre-determined narrative. Last season, D/W declared they had chemistry you could cut with a knife. This season the narrative appears to be that these two are the refined, nuanced skaters in the game, the ones who carry the technique through to the most minuscule refinements of fingertips, head and neck. That's not snow Charlie kicks up while skating - that's diamond dust.
One wonders how Tanith is going to maintain the Charlie/Meryl's carriage and other refinements are the class of the discipline storytelling when they're up against VM in the same competition. Doubtless she'll find other points of focus.
The real problem with Meryl and Charlie's supposed refinement is that unlike The Shibs, Virtue Moir, and Paul Islam, the refinement isn't carried up from their blades. They're not using their entire bodies to skate. It's all styling and applied on top of, and disconnected from, the action (or lack of action) of their blades.
I use this screen cap to illustrate the point about carriage. They don't engage their pelvis/hips. If you're using your entire body - which is what great carriage is about, it's the length of your spine, your hips, your pelvis, your glutes, etc. It's not, generically, the "upper body". The chest is open. The chests up there aren't open.
Also, their butts aren't under them. By some miracle, Tara Lipinski, in her professional career, decided that perhaps she needed some technical assistance. She enlisted Lori Nichols (Michelle Kwan's choreographer). Nichols got Tara's butt underneath her, and because of that, every aspect of Lipinski's skating as a pro improved (I refer everyone to her number with Kurt Browning on youtube).
Look at the butt jutt in DW.
In reality, the "refinements" should be subordinate to the blades. Whether it's Tara or it's DW. However, DW are inferior to VM. There is nothing DW have over VM. It stands to reason if they're going to claim greater sophistication that they'd get something as basic as their asses underneath them. But I guess not.
In Marina Zoueva's pre-Skate America remarks, she mentioned that at the last competition the judges mentioned they'd like to see more speed from Davis White. Davis White are skating with the same speed they've always skated, but they've dialed down the hopping and skipping (although the hopping and skipping had more emphasis this time), so perhaps the judges are looking for ways for Meryl and Charlie to continue to fake speed. That aside, if the judges wanted more speed, and the judges wanted anything changed about the lifts, how did they end up awarding 110 at the first outing of the season? Was it going to be 120 if DW were sufficiently speedy?
Tanith was resolute in her talk about Davis and White's style and how very few teams sustain the style of the music throughout the program (which is plain wrong - many actually do). I don't think she made a single remark about element quality or execution. She blandly continued on about styling through the twizzles, the footwork and the Finnstep.
P.S. when I watched this program my impression was there were more instances of hopping and skipping than I remembered from Salt Lake City. Were they reintroducing that stuff after dialing it down? So I rewatched SLC, and no. They simply hit the hops harder and bigger in this outing than that one.
Posted by oycanada at 10:00 AM