Yes tastes differ. One person's abandon is another person's frantic, it appears.
Both teams can get an audience to jump out of their seats, wildly applauding, in any country where they skate.
Any team or skater that can routinely get standing ovations in countries not their own is a team that has great Performance qualities, IMO.
I like them both.
Oh, absolutely, Mrs. P. I just found it interesting you singled out Chinese divers, because there is such a machine tuned feeling about their movement, and that's sorta why I can see people arguing about D/W's connection/lack thereof. I tend to agree with missysays that Meryl generates more of the emotional aspect of the dance, but that's because I find Charlie weaker in that area. I completely disagree about any sexual or mysterious aspects of their programs, though. Appears that their connection is so elusive that I tend to miss it. Oh well.
Last edited by fwsf; 11-26-2012 at 11:37 AM.
There's the untouchable perfection of Virtue/Moir--perfect edges, perfect sync, perfect body line, everything is textbook. They're the prince and princess of any Disney movie, they look into each other's eyes and they wrap you up and sweep you away with their romance!
And then there's the unhinged, cavalier and desperate throwaway manner of Davis/White--not always in sync, not always in step but always, always bursting with heart and writhing with passion. To me, Meryl is Artur... she's not always "in love" with her partner but the way she holds him close and then pushes him away in every program tells me she "can't live with nor live without" him. She doesn't always look at Charlie and when she does, it's usually NOT with stars in her eyes as does Tessa with Scott. To me, that's more mature and telling of an actual intimate relationship (if you wanna talk about being intimate.)
If each couple were one particular dance, I would peg V/M as a waltz (smooth and flowy, perfect posture and poise throughout) and D/W as a rumba (rigid at times then dissolving into each other at times with just the right touch of laziness in each element--like you can't be bothered with something as silly as a required element, ha!).
As others have said, it just depends on what style you like. Back then, I preferred Mishkutienok/Dmitriev so Davis/White are definitely my bias. I know their technical isn't as strong as V/M but I don't even care. The whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts... same as M/D. With D/W, there's no textbook--you just go out and do what you feel in the moment. I think they do a great job of bringing a feeling of "this is the last time I'll ever skate" to almost every performance. They put everything on the ice and leave nothing.
Anyway... as regard to NHK, I'm THRILLED with the FD changes they've made. The first lift is AMAZING! That might beat their first lift in Phantom as my favorite dance lift ever. The only thing that bothers me about this FD is the order of elements--the spin at the beginning seems underwhelming (like in Phantom) and they have 3 lifts in a row at the end. I guess it's supposed to be the awesome exciting ending but they have to get through the first life quickly so the other two aren't too rushed. I must have time to ooh and ah for each lift! :D
I finally got to see D/W's free dance on TV, and I'm equally thrilled. I was a bit leery of the program beforehand, because I so loved Die Fledermaus. But this year's dance is growing on me.
I also love both couples, and I'm happy whenever I see either or both of them. I agree that D/W seem to skate with more abandon than V/M; each of these couples gleams in a slightly different way. (I think it's a credit to Zoueva and Shpilband that during the years they worked together, they managed to bring out the particular personalities of each of these couples.) I'd love to see Meryl and Charlie win the OGM just so each couple has that experience, but I'm happy to see both of them on the podium in either order.
D/W's connection is one that is very subtle and if you blink, you will miss it. There is much that goes undemonstrated but is simmering underneath. Their tango FD is the most cerebral tango I've ever seen, it's like a musical scale. The beauty is in the technicality, for pure technicality sake, rather than in visible caresses. V/M's chemistry, on the other hand, is more overt.
If you watch the end of every FD, you will see Meryl look over to Charlie with stars in her eyes. I always found it sad that he doesn't do the same, but each person probably recovers differently after skating intensely for 4 minutes.
Fascinating discussion about connection. Thank you--lots of food to chew on. I just want to add that last two years I think Charlie loosened up and learned to dance (and that means restraint can be as important as balls-to-the-wall gusto). And this year he seems to be learning that ice dancing is as much about acting as it is about correct edges, etc. I still think one or two acting classes would do him a world of good. Plus, he could get college credit for it!
Acting classes do help -- see Weaver and Poje! -- but they clearly learned a lot about expression from Alex Wong.
I will say that the greatest addition to Marlie's program for me are the interpolation of the bells. They add drama and those two sections are beautifully choreographed.
And it is fun to see Tessa get her Inner Diva ***** on. LOL!
Last edited by dorispulaski; 11-28-2012 at 04:35 AM.
This is one of the best posts I've ever read on this forum! I love your perceptive insight and analysis of these two teams. And I think you're absolutely right. Few have explained so well the source of Meryl & Charlie's strength as a team.
I agree their connection is cerebral/soulful. Ultimately, I feel it flows directly from the music. Whatever is in the music, they distill and express outward again through movement, rather purely. The emphasis is on the expression of shared emotion, more than on the "performance" as an entity of its own, separate from the music.
Mr. P said what he likes about Meryl and Charlie is that regardless of the music Meryl and Charlie perform it in a way that is compelling. He watched the NHK FD on YouTube and he said while he did not care for the Norte Dame music, the way Meryl and Charlie danced to that music is what drove him to watch it until the end.
In my opinion, Meryl and Charlie are not good actors, in the sense that they have a hard time faking emotion. It has to feel real to them on some level. I think this is especially true for Charlie.
But the fact that these emotions are real, and not artificially heightened, shines through and elevates their performances.
Good on Mr. P!
Meryl & Charlie's Not Touching Sequences are some of their moves that initially caught my eye, starting with their Beyond The Sea exhibition.
They are always two people, but clearly connected through the invisible bonds of music. I've always found that fascinating.And like the Chinese divers, the coordination is amazing--this year's circular sequence in Giselle & the Bollywood sequence are particularly wonderful, for me.
OTOH, I've always seen Tessa & Scott's most impressive strength to be the quality of their steps in hold, two people connected so that the music is almost coincidental, a background to their personal relationship. This appearance is aided by the closeness with which they skate, and the amount of detail they add with facial expressions and arms, as well as their lovely leg extension.
I'm really enjoying this discussion, by the way.
What I love best in dance is when the skaters connect me to the music more closely, so that I perceive things in the music that I missed before.
Both couples can do that.
They used to do lifts that were suited to them and their builds. Their swan lift from Mahler was amazing and actually something they could handle with relative ease. Dance lifts do not NEED to be acrobatic to receive level 4 or high GOE. However you do have to be more creative about them, perhaps. One would think Zoueva would be up to the challenge.