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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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 Bee-yotch on. LOL!
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.