UPDATE, 12/17: David & White won the gold in ice dance- a first for the US! It was a TERRIFIC free dance competition, w/ many couples skating at their best (including the Shibutanis, Chock & Bates, & the younger Russians)! The sport has come a LONG way since the days of block judging. YAY!!!
Ice dancing gold is for Russians, right? Not anymore! In 2010, Meryl Davis (age 27) and Charlie White (age 26) won Olympic silver. They are also both attend the University of Michigan part-time. Davis & White won gold at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships (the first for the U.S. in ice dance) This team keeps getting better and better- I fell IN LOVE with them (again) watching their current programs!
One of our strengths is that we never set a ceiling for ourselves. -Charlie White
Short Dance (SD): In the past, there were 2 compulsory dances (CDs) & an original dance (OD), but now these have been combined into the Short Dance. (Long-time ice dance fans have seen MANY changes and drama over the years!) The CDs were purely to show the team’s technical abilities on the ice; they were routine and often seemed boring and unnecessary.
Meryl brings to mind the great Russian female ice dancers of a bygone time- petite frame, light footing, posture, and unusually-colored dark red hair. (I think that color is an homage to Marina Anissina, the Russian ice dancer who skater for France just a few years ago.) Their coach, Marina Zoueva, hails from the former Soviet Union. Charlie, on the other hand, is strong, energetic, and fun (showing his American-ness, but also bringing to mind French ice dancer Gwendal Peizerat, Anissina’s long-time partner). Their success isn’t magic- they’ve been partnered for 16 years!
Free Dance (FD): The free dance is where teams get to show all their stuff (artistic, technical); they better bring it (since technical elements like spins and lifts are a major part of ice dance now). I love these elements, but not when they don’t fit with the choreography. As the late Dick Button said of this sport: “Two shall dance as one.”
Behind-the-scenes look at Davis & White’s rise:
Olympic ice dancers’ moms ‘bring a little bit of home’ to Sochi (TODAY segment)
Michigan ice dancers Meryl Davis, Charlie White make perfect pair (Detroit Free Press)