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Thread: What's a Connection? Discussion inspired by NHK FD Thread.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Mrs. P suggested that a discussion that a number of us have been having about connection in ice dance (and I suppose it could apply to pair skating as well) might interest posters in the Edge.

    Hence this thread.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 11-27-2012 at 02:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Diva View Post
    I agree with you -- and comments made by CAS. D/W 's ND beautifully skated, however, the program seems similar to past ones but to different music, always skated with the slightly frantic pace of an exhibition number. While they have excellent connection to the music, I see no connection between them. They have so much talent - I would love to see them push the boundaries with their material. Mrs. P. - D/W did indeed peak @ 2011 Worlds but V/M were injured & skated 1/2 a program the whole season.
    What kind of connection would you like to see between Davis and White? I keep reading (in certain posters' comments) about this team not having a connection but I'll be darned if I can figure out what that should be. They look at each other as they skate, they're acting out their program's "roles" as much as needed by the music, they have expressions on their faces. This is a sport with a bit of dramatic presentation thrown in, not a movie. I've watched other teams to see if they have more of this "connection" but haven't noticed anything different from D/W (well...with the exception of C/L's very hot Carmen this season--it's a good thing Anna isn't skating with a dagger!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by meem View Post
    What kind of connection would you like to see between Davis and White? I keep reading (in certain posters' comments) about this team not having a connection but I'll be darned if I can figure out what that should be. They look at each other as they skate, they're acting out their program's "roles" as much as needed by the music, they have expressions on their faces. This is a sport with a bit of dramatic presentation thrown in, not a movie. I've watched other teams to see if they have more of this "connection" but haven't noticed anything different from D/W (well...with the exception of C/L's very hot Carmen this season--it's a good thing Anna isn't skating with a dagger!)
    I agree...I really enjoyed this outing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Diva View Post
    D/W 's ND beautifully skated, however, ... always skated with the slightly frantic pace
    Quote Originally Posted by meem View Post
    What kind of connection would you like to see between Davis and White?
    May be it is D/W's speed (frantic pace) that kills the connections. I think it takes time to create a moment.

    I was comparing V/M spin to D/W spin in the FD, both level 4 spin. D/W spin faster (+1.21 GOE NHK). V/M is slower (+0.5 GOE COR) but show much more tenderness and intimacy with M's head below V and looking at her while they spin. To me it feel like V/M has a private moment on ice and sharing with the audience. That's the type of connections I like to see from D/W.

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    Custom Title mikiandorocks's Avatar
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    But that's V&M style. To each its own. The last thing I would like to see is Merlie trying to copy anyone else. They don't need it. It seems to me that they have much more of an athletic and powerful approach to their free dances and it just looks spectacular the way it is. Besides I don't believe that every single ice-dance team has to look like they are in love. If someone like Virtue & Moir can have moments in which we feel like witnessing an intimate moment it's fine. It looks great. But if someone tries to express themselves in a different way showing power like Merlie or a theatrical approach like Zhiganshina & Gazsi that's great as well.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fwsf View Post
    May be it is D/W's speed (frantic pace) that kills the connections. I think it takes time to create a moment.

    I was comparing V/M spin to D/W spin in the FD, both level 4 spin. D/W spin faster (+1.21 GOE NHK). V/M is slower (+0.5 GOE COR) but show much more tenderness and intimacy with M's head below V and looking at her while they spin. To me it feel like V/M has a private moment on ice and sharing with the audience. That's the type of connections I like to see from D/W.
    You mean D&W should skate slower so that they lower their skating skills score, and spin slower so that they can achieve the wonder of getting lower GOE?

    How does that make sense for athletes to do?

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    skating philosopher Mrs. P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikiandorocks View Post
    But that's V&M style. To each its own. The last thing I would like to see is Merlie trying to copy anyone else. They don't need it. It seems to me that they have much more of an athletic and powerful approach to their free dances and it just looks spectacular the way it is. Besides I don't believe that every single ice-dance team has to look like they are in love. If someone like Virtue & Moir can have moments in which we feel like witnessing an intimate moment it's fine. It looks great. But if someone tries to express themselves in a different way showing power like Merlie or a theatrical approach like Zhiganshina & Gazsi that's great as well.
    ITA.

    I'm relatively new to this whole Ice Dance thing (didn't really start following it until the 2010 Olympics; though it caught my eye in 2006 when B/A won silver), but I'm having a hard time with this whole connection = being in love concept. And I have a hard time with D/W = no connection.

    Because I do believe D + W have a connection with each other. But I see that connection more of a theatrical and athletic one rather than of an intimate nature. This might sound silly to you, but they kind of remind me of those who do those synchronized diving events. When you watch the top Chinese divers in a platform diving event, like at the Olympics, you are amazed, not just because they are good athletics, but they have a connection with each other that enables them to dives with great precision and coordination. And when they do that, it's sort of like art to see their bodies work together to achieve this athletic feat.

    Likewise, I feel that D + W's long partnership has enabled the connect each other in a way that enables them to express their power and athleticism in a beautiful way. I think that's the best way I can explain it.

    I also think it's great that V/M are able to express intimate moments in their skating. I agree with mikiandorocks that we should be lucky we can see so many different styles in Ice Dance. I think it does increase interest in the sport when many styles can thrive.

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    1. It's not as if D/W have avoided programs with romantic themes, though. Phantom of the Opera is a romantic melodrama and they clearly included gestures and moments meant to convey that (they failed at that, imo). Their Tango was a similarly chaste affair (though so technically audacious and thrilling it almost didn't matter).

    2. For me, it's that I don't see their bodies work together as much as I'd like. When they do, it can be thrilling (all the lifts in the tango, the DF rotational lift). But because Charlie tends to be of limited expressivity, they really didn't "perform" as well (their Latin SD was a notable exception). Connection doesn't mean being in love. A pair like Savchenko/Szolkowy demonstrate that all the time but I don't see as deeply with D/W. It's definitely not a theatrical connection (athletic I can buy, but not theatrical). Those synchro divers you mention tend to seem more mechanical than anything, so it might just be different perceptions (though D/W definitely have a mechanistic quality to some of their movements)

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    I like this discussion about connection.

    As everyone knows, V/M and D/W are very different teams but to say that D/W have no connection other than an athletic one is not only selling them short but is also missing the more elusive quality of their connection.

    V/M have more of a traditional romantic connection with a lot of eye contact, body control, slow accentuation of their lines, and intimacy. I also feel that it's more traditional because it seems to me to be generated by Scott and received by Tessa and it's rooted in their physicality with one another.

    However, I feel that D/W also have a romantic connection on the ice but it's less traditional and also less rooted in the physical- it's more a meeting of the minds. To me their connection is more cerebral even though they express it through movement- whether it takes a light, infectious, joyous quality or if it's darker and anguished. They have an emotional energy that flows out of them so that their Yankee polka is the lightest and most gay of all the interpretations. Charlie is also a real gentleman in his manner but it can be a delight to see that when he does send that energy out that Meryl reacts to it with a twinkle in her eye in their lighter programs. Their darker programs have more pulsing undertones that can be sexual but more mysterious and held in than V/M. I also feel that Meryl generates quite a bit of the emotional connection between the two of them in these instances while Charlie is the one receiving so the flow of romance feels different. She has a gentle, dreamy, indirect kind of energy that she uses to reach out and touch him with and it seems to absorb into him so they don't always look at each other but the connection is still there.

    I also feel that D/W's emotions when they skate are less controlled than V/M's so to me the abandon in their movement is something that's uniquely their own.

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    D and W and V and M are both awesome teams. it is such a debate as to who is better. I do think V and M need to focus more on the techinical elements - speed, crispness and the lifts but they do have the stronger programme in the free probably but techn not as strong. The real battle is the bronze after gold and silver. Well maybe not. P and B - the judges like them; I personally think W and P, I and K and B and S should be over them this year and maybe the Shibs as well and mayb eC and L. Someone is going to get lost in the shuffle between C and L, W and P, and the two russians. I don't think the second American team can squeeze by them. A world bronze by P and B in 2013 will probably push them to Sochi but if they fall to say 7th or 8th we might hear a retirement.

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    skating philosopher Mrs. P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by missysays View Post
    I like this discussion about connection.

    As everyone knows, V/M and D/W are very different teams but to say that D/W have no connection other than an athletic one is not only selling them short but is also missing the more elusive quality of their connection.

    V/M have more of a traditional romantic connection with a lot of eye contact, body control, slow accentuation of their lines, and intimacy. I also feel that it's more traditional because it seems to me to be generated by Scott and received by Tessa and it's rooted in their physicality with one another.

    However, I feel that D/W also have a romantic connection on the ice but it's less traditional and also less rooted in the physical- it's more a meeting of the minds. To me their connection is more cerebral even though they express it through movement- whether it takes a light, infectious, joyous quality or if it's darker and anguished. They have an emotional energy that flows out of them so that their Yankee polka is the lightest and most gay of all the interpretations. Charlie is also a real gentleman in his manner but it can be a delight to see that when he does send that energy out that Meryl reacts to it with a twinkle in her eye in their lighter programs. Their darker programs have more pulsing undertones that can be sexual but more mysterious and held in than V/M. I also feel that Meryl generates quite a bit of the emotional connection between the two of them in these instances while Charlie is the one receiving so the flow of romance feels different. She has a gentle, dreamy, indirect kind of energy that she uses to reach out and touch him with and it seems to absorb into him so they don't always look at each other but the connection is still there.

    I also feel that D/W's emotions when they skate are less controlled than V/M's so to me the abandon in their movement is something that's uniquely their own.
    Wow, you said that way better than I did and that's what I was getting at with the diving example. When you have two people jumping off the platform, it's not just a matter of the physical ability to do the dive (though that is important) but rather the ability to feed off each others' energy and being committed to that dive. So, no ImaginaryPogue, I don't see the divers as just being mechanical.

    The meeting of the minds is the perfect way to describe their connection. I feel what the audience gets out of Meryl and Charlie is the opportunity to see two people who enjoy dancing their hearts out ice together -- not because they are connected in a romantic feeling or way, but rather they are feeling off the energy they get knowing they're in in the same place, in body and spirit. And that energy, when the program is done well, actually ends up being projected to the audience.

    That's not to say Tessa and Scott don't get that same feeling of being in the same place in body and spirit -- I know they do, but again they express it quite differently.

    In the end, I don't think one connection is superior to the other, just different -- and as a result you're going to have some fans drawn to one or the other. That's just how it goes.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    Appears that their connection is so elusive that I tend to miss it.
    I guess the judges missed that too in the last few seasons. V/M when they catch up on the tech side at the end of the season beat D/W at Olympic and World. I guess that's why D/W in interviews this year say that they want to improve on that aspect. May be what D/W doing this year more looking at each other and more expressive Charlie will do it in the eyes of the judges. Fans tend to enjoy the performance of either team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by missysays View Post
    V/M have more of a traditional romantic connection with a lot of eye contact, body control, slow accentuation of their lines, and intimacy. I also feel that it's more traditional because it seems to me to be generated by Scott and received by Tessa and it's rooted in their physicality with one another.
    Quote Originally Posted by missysays View Post
    Meryl has a gentle, dreamy, indirect kind of energy that she uses to reach out and touch him with and it seems to absorb into him so they don't always look at each other but the connection is still there. I also feel that D/W's emotions when they skate are less controlled than V/M's so to me the abandon in their movement is something that's uniquely their own.
    I agree with your whole post but pulled out these two statements because this is exactly what it boils down to. I frequently see these couples as the present iterations of Gordeeva/Grinkov and Mishkutienok/Dmitriev in their still-epic Olympic showdown.

    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

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    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.

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