Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Just super, super bad

 Charlie's "meh" paso doble. Poor bugger (not really, but you know).

This post was going to have title like "Live by the scores, die by the scores", or "How does it feel, Charlie White?" by way of sticking it to Charlie White for going through a little bit of a Virtue Moir experience on DWTs. Not only is he getting screwed in the scoring despite blatantly outdancing the leader, who isn't dancing at all, not only are his scores suppressed in favor of somebody the judges shower with tens no matter how awful she is, but that somebody is his own ice dance partner. It's like, look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair! And look what you hath wrought, Charlie White!

Except I doubt it goes that deep.

But then I saw Meryl's "salsa," where she "danced" with an entire troupe, a dance which consisted of stomping around the floor on bent knees, being flipped and held up like a marionette by Maks while groping for her footing (watch, she gropes for her footing), and where the "troupe" was configured at the top of the dance to hide Meryl's ass. You'll see that part. It was terrible. When someone is that terrible, that's the headline.

To spare myself gifing every single second, because it's so bad every second should get its own gif, and I'd be here all night, I saved it in slow mo, so Meryl's fabulous form, rhythm, control of her body in space and sense of balance can get the showcase it deserves. Yes, rhythm in slow mo. When someone with rhythm is in slow mo, the tempo has changed, but you can still see the rhythm.

Or not.

And now I'm off to gif my favorite parts, as soon as we get this out of the way:

And this:

Be back soon.

Someone on one of the discussion sites called Meryl's dancing "masterful." It's another triumph of narrative over eyesight (something Virtue and Moir themselves exploit off the ice, which I'm going to post about later).

Walk walk walk walk push and walk walk walk.

More tomorrow.

She's a born dancer.

The challenging skipping part of salsa.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Davis White Off-Balance, Out of Sync in Sochi

These gifs below are from neverendingdreamtumblr. Blogger doesn't permit the posting of gifs side by side; at least I've not been able to troubleshoot that process. So, below, the gifs are angled in a descending sequence instead. On the neverendingdreamtumblr, this gif set is titled: "Why Meryl Davis and Charlie White Shouldn't Have Won in Sochi". Below the gif set there is this caption: "Balance issues, lack of synchronicity and they had problems with their twizzles for all FOUR performances! Perfect GOEs…???"

But of course! What are you going to believe? The protocols, or your lying eyes? What report has more credibility - the skating itself, or the commenting on the skating?

So here we go.

I'm re-posting this from neverendingdreamtumblr, because it's important that video like this is seen by as many people as possible. I encourage everyone to visit neverendingdreamtumblr for these gifs, even though they're also posted here. That tumblr has the gifset neatly formatted in a grid, instead of inartfully angled, and the grid has more impact. The impact this mess deserves.

I'm also re-posting these gifs to push back against the notion promoted, even by Canadian skating interests, that it's impolite, hysterical, obsessive or disrespectful to notice cheating. P.J. Kwong, for example, seems to believe that challenging the results is disrespectful.

What does respect mean to P.J. Kwong? I believe it's disrespectful when a team goes out and skates according to the rules, and elevates the standards of execution set out therein, all the while demonstrating absolutely textbook+ skating according to the criteria that governs the scoring, and the rules are ignored. Instead, right in front of our faces, in defiance of what we've just seen, that team gets ripped off, point stripped, manipulated and low balled. Why? Because the sport can flaunt its lack of accountability.

It's also disrespectful to the skating public when a team produces bastardized bullshit while demonstrating skating technique explicitly discouraged in the guidelines, and is scored as if they skated exemplifying the rules, standards and criteria.

Gaslighting is always disrespectful, P.J.

It's always disrespectful when we're directed and coerced and badgered into accepting a lie as the truth. Everybody involved in telling the skating public to do that can fuck off, and that includes most of the Canadian commentariat. If they want to lie their faces off, that's up to them. But when it comes to pressuring fans to fall in line, who do they think they're talking to? A bunch of "fraus", that's who. "Frau" is biggest perjorative on the internet, and that label is implied in everything the skating commentariat says to and about its fans. It's implied in nearly everything sportswriters say about the fans. I believe the dismissive, trivializing tone used by skating site contributors such as Lynn Rutherford is intended to trigger appeasement and insecurity in the fans who are treated that way, who are embarrassed by the implied "frau" label. That patronizing tone is meant quell those who persevere with pointing out what happened in Sochi. So again, fuck that.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Canadablue's Twizzle Sequences and Step Sequences Video Showing Virtue Moir and Davis White in Slow Mo

This video is from Virtue Moir and Davis White's free dance programs in the ice dance competition at the Sochi Olympics. First up below is canadablue's full video - the twizzles (the element), and the twizzles in the step sequences. It's followed by my breaking out the full video into smaller video clips and gifs. The very last two gifs from DW's step sequences are a particular mess. And of course, turns out what someone in the blog comments section insisted to have been jpg's of Tessa screen capped from the twizzle element in VM's free dance, were not from the twizzles.

Thank you, canadablue. These are wonderful. I'm going to fill out this post later but for the moment I think the videos and gifs speak for themselves.

Remember who got the GOE for these.

The full video.

Just VM's twizzles:

And just DW's:

VM: twizzles in step sequence

DW twizzles in step sequence:

VM: twizzles in step sequence:

DW twizzles in step sequence:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's not you, Maks

Here is Maks and Meryl's tango from Dancing with the Stars, Season 18, Episode 6.

Meryl's pretty fucking disappointed she got all those nines for
her "samba" last week. She's Meryl Davis. She's entitled to tens
for her bullshit. She's not disappointed in her performance
or the choreo. Just - doesn't understand it. What's with this nines
crap? Meryl Davis gets tens. She went from eights to feeling
entitled to tens in just over a month.
A little refresher. This shoulda been tens.

They proceed to rehearse, and

Maks doesn't understand why she's so fucking timid
(i.e., "small" I believe, and self protective as a mover), why
she's got a memory like a sieve, and why she can't pick up some
basic simple steps or get the rudimentary timing.
Oh Maks. She's Meryl Davis.
Meryl doesn't need to learn new steps.

She's got this:

Note that in the Argentine Tango part of the gif, Meryl does her kick/swing back while Val does a sharp bent knee AT tango inside kick. It's meant to be a mirror move, and sort of tricks the eye that it is, but she's not doing the AT move (haven't reviewed the proper names) that's he's doing.

Don't want to leave anybody in suspense about this week:

Let's lift the veils, and look at how balletic:

There she is.
And she's got this:

 So Meryl tells Maks:

"It's not me. It's you."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Side by Side in Sochi

I've been looking around for a set of gifs showing VM vis a vis DW twizzling in, I believe, the team competition in Sochi, but haven't succeeded in finding them again.

Eta: Here they are, thanks to 6:23 a.m. from the comments below:

The above were gifed by If you're in the mood for a good ice dance-related cry, head on over there. Lots and lots of VM to DW comparison gifs.

Below are my gifs from the individual event, and the wtf-ery in Scheherazade continues to impress. Look at whatever the fuck this is below.*

This is junk. It's okay in small doses, as a final accent or flourish, but every time we break down one of Davis White's programs we get nothing but dumbed down elements and filler crap like this. Meryl switches legs as she's dragging on the side of her boot, and my favorite part is how after she lifts that right leg, it dead weights on back down. Why bother with control when gravity can do all the work? Of course Charlie's bent over so Meryl's arm can do that reach back hook around his neck. There certainly aren't any more efficient holds for this move, right? But don't let Meryl's mess distract you from Charlie - he's FUBAR too. When he assists her back up, his posture is ass and he's moving as if he's got his head/hair stuck caught in her costume, even though he doesn't. That's just how he rolls with posture any time he's not standing straight up.

10:57 AM in the comments section under this post directed the blog's attention to this gif below. (Thanks very much, 10:57 AM) It's Hubbell/Donohue doing a move that, in its contours, is somewhat similar to DW's above, except not similar at all because Maddy is skating. Compare her edge to Meryl's, and stay tuned for Doris & Co. to explain why sliding around on your boot after half-assing a short, wobbly flat off a cursory, half-assed inside edge is a whole lot more difficult than doing the nice clear, clean edge change H&D execute below. And of course, those wizards of physics will explain why reaching back and hooking your arm around your partner's neck so he has to make like a hunchback when you pull this off is more impressive than neatly balancing yourself on his leg while he skates as well. Why doesn't Zach snow plow like Charlie? Don't they want to win Olympic gold? Please also note, as also emphasized in the comments section beneath this post, that Zachary is tracking her change edge with his own change edge, while, mind you, changing the orientation of his upper body mid-move. Please, Doris Pulaski, explain why, according to the standards and criteria spelled out the rules by which this "sport" is judged, Davis White's junkyard piece of claptrap is more difficult and demonstrates skating skill superior to the version executed by Hubbell Donohue. Is it because Charlie, albeit on two wide-planted feet, risks getting his windpipe strangled by Meryl's arm?

Here are the Sochi fd twizzles from the ice dance competition.

Some twizzle snapshots:

The Entrance

The entrance
After first set, prior to second set.
Look at them. Can you blame VM fans for being so jealous?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Not like a ballerina.

This is not like a ballerina

I don't see many ballerinas with the torso tight, chest closed, hips tight and closed, shoulders nearly hunched, and chin down facing the floor or ice. This is almost freakish.

See the difference?

See the difference?

Forget the toes. And the skating. Look at the torso, the shoulders, the chest, the neck (not snapped back, btw), the pelvis and the hips. Everything's stretched, lifted, open.

See the difference directly below? Straight up and down. The body isn't connected, there's nothing running "through" the body. And look at that dropped elbow.

See the difference?

Let's look back at the top again.

This is not good. It's bad. I imagine Davis White fans have simply been in the habit of getting those two concepts mixed up for a long time.

I'm having issues embedding Meryl and Charlie's dances from last night, so I'll have to troubleshoot that later.

ETA - okay, here we go:

I haven't broken thse down yet, but I bet Charlie wouldn't have dropped the cane if he engaged his upper body fully when he moves. Charlie trends to "quick" but small. He doesn't really articulate his body unless it's where it's been particularly broken down for him and emphasized by his instructor, and then defaults back to small. He might have caught the cane before it flew away if he didn't have that habit. He needs to keep his chest and shoulders open.

But note that at the end, Sharna is able to rotate without Charlie hunkering down and girdling her with his arm, pasting her to his trunk, and pushing her legs straight.

I do think his partner is a class act, that they connect well, and it helps him phrase, cue off her, and lose himself more in the performance. He shouldn't, IMO, start getting fast-but-unfinished when he starts getting into the performance, but that happened less here than in the jive.

And as for Meryl, I thought this was her best performance in terms of moving with some naturalness and relaxation added into her jackhammer movement style, but then again, there wasn't exactly a ton of movement, period. There were glimpses of samba in tiny segments. It was like DW skating programs (and like Maks' choreography, which means he and Meryl are a match made in heaven) - show a minimal amount of the actual dance - dance, hell, minimize steps, period, and vamp with the upper body. Execute super complicated open hold moves like moving side by side across the floor or ice in a stright line facing the same direction and then switch from right to left in an arm's length hand hold. That blew up the scoreboard in Schez, if memory serves.

Gifs after the jump.

I'm going to put them up and comment more later but I think most of the "samba" speaks for itself. If anybody can explain some of the WTF, feel free.

You know what I just now noticed, and realize happened in the AT too - she tries to or actually does hop or jump in direction changes even on the floor. Look at the elementary direction changes in this "samba".  Little hops, up-jerks and jumps all over the place (and I don't mean the samba "bounce", but when she changes direction).

Pirouettes are my favorite part of samba.

I can't remember what part of samba this is but Meryl is killing it.