U.S. Figure Skating Champs (Ice Dance)

I LOVE to watch ice dancing, BUT I never thought the US would have so MANY strong teams in this discipline!  I’m VERY proud that we have such accomplished dancers going to the Vancouver Olympics.  Can we beat the Russians?  Hmmm… we’ll have to see.  But we can be TOUGH competitors this year!

Part-time University of Michigan students Meryl Davis & Charlie White (pic above) defeated Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosto for the 1st time in their careers.  Davis & White had a very creative Original Dance (OD) this year with Bollywood music.  Their style and flair remind me of my fave team, Marinna Anissina & Gwendal Peizerat (FRA).

In their Free Dance, D&W skated to music from Phantom of the Opera.  Though both teams had well-choreographed/difficult/engaging programs, D&W had better music than B&A.  I think the audience was leaning a little more toward D&W also.  I esp. liked D&W’s lifts and how they used the music.  They are BOTH very strong skaters; they were paired up 10 years ago!

Bronze medalists Emily Samuelson & Evan Bates (pic above) had a very fun and fast-paced country-western OD.  The audience LOVED it!  (Evan shares a house on the UMich campus w/ Charlie White.) 

Samuelson & Bates, who I learned about last year, are very strong/athletic skaters.  But they can also be artistic, as they showed in their FD.

http://www.ice-dance.com/davis-white/

http://emily-evan.ice-dance.com/

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2009 US Figureskating Championships: Ice Dance

Hey all!

Any figureskating (FS), esp. ice dancing, fans out there in cyberspace?  Pairs and Ice Dance have always been by fave divisions of the sport of FS.  After a few years of not paying much attn, I’ve decided to check back in w/ the world of FS. 

 

My most fave team in ice dance: Marina Anissina & Gwendal Peizerat (A&P) of FRA.  I followed their career for several years, discussed them w/ many online fans, and even made a little web site dedicated to them.  They were very dramatic, creative, and connected very well w/ audiences.  The choreography and lifts they did were awesome! 

 

As I watched the best of the American ice dancers, I saw that one couple in particular has been influenced by A&P- Meryl Davis and Charlie White.  They’ve been a team since 1997, and are ranked #1 in the US.  They both attend the Univ of Michigan, too.  Wow!  Davis and White had good speed and some very cool moves.  They won gold at Nationals this past wk.   (BTW, Belbin & Agosto, one of our best teams, was not in the competition.  I’m not sure why, but hope it’s nothing too serious.)

 

Meryl Davis & Charlie White

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Charlie’s long-ish blonde curls and wide smile immediately reminded me of Gwendal!  This team is coached by Igor Shpilband and Marina Zueva.

 

 

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Shades of A&P here…  Charlie is a very strong/powerful skater (he used to compete in Singles), and Meryl is very fluid/light in her movements.

 

 

Madison Hubbell & Keiffer Hubbell

This team was very light, fluid, and elegant over the ice.  They reminded me of the great Russian dance teams of the past.

 

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They are brother and sister, so (of course!) are also very well-matched. 

 

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The Hubbells also train in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and are coached by Russians.  (Hey, to beat them, you sometimes have to join them!) 

 

Related Links:

 

http://www.ice-dance.com/davis-white/

 

http://hubbells.ice-dance.com/

 

 

Thanks for visiting my site,

EMMA.

Memorable Lines: Pride & Prejudice (1995)

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Take care that the man you fall in love with is rich.  -Lizzie jokes with Jane as they discuss marriage

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No lace, no lace, I beg you!  -Mr. Bennett to his wife, Mrs, Bennett, when she raves about the finery of Mr. Bingley’s sisters’ clothes

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Any savage can dance.  –Mr. Darcy

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If Jane should die of this fever, it will be comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr Bingley, and under your orders.  -Mr. Bennett to his wife after Jane falls ill after a ride (in the rain) to Netherfield Park, Bingley’s house

My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.  -Mr. Darcy to Lizzie

He must be an oddity, don’t you think?  Can he be a sensible man?  –Lizzie upon hearing Mr. Collins’ letter

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I think a man looks nothing without regimentals.  -Lydia on men’s fashions

There is something very open and artless in his manner.  -Lizzie tells Jane her first impressions of Mr. Wickham

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More to come…

200 Years of “Pride & Prejudice”

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A portrait of Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. 

Thus begins one of the most-loved/discussed novels of English literature.  It has been read in high schools, colleges, etc., by most of the women we know.  We keep coming back to this book, and don’t forget the numerous TV/film adaptations. 

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Modern-day JA fan, Amanda (Jemima Rooper), gets Lost in Austen (2008) with Darcy (Elliot Cowan)

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Darcy (Laurence Olivier) & Elizabeth (Greer Garson) in the 1940 film

It seems like Lizzie and Darcy are almost as iconic as Romeo and Juliet when it comes to famous couples.  Other relationships are also important: Lizzie and her beautiful/shy older sister Jane, Lizzie and her hands-off father, Mr. and Mrs. Bennett (an odd couple), Lizzie (romantic) and older friend Charlotte (practical), etc.  Let us focus on the main love story…

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Jennifer Ehle (an American) as Elizabeth (A&E, 1995)

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Keira Knightley as Elizabeth (2005)

She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.

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David Rintoul as Darcy (1980)

Ouch!  Suffice it to say, Darcy does not make a positive first impression on Lizzie, her family, and the community-at-large.  He doesn’t even dance once at the assembly ball in Meryton, which makes him look proud, vain, and disagreeable.  (He later explains that he’s not at ease talking to strangers.)

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My favorite Darcy: Colin Firth (A&E, 1995)

A geological sample of Darcy’s core, as portrayed so beautifully by Firth, would show the following layers:  at the bottom, his breeding and wealth.  Undeniable.  On top of that, confusion, the push-pull of class–egad, 10,000 pounds a year and a house 10 times larger than Downton Abbey!  -Elinor Lippman, Huffington Post (January 28, 2013)

Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year.

Mr. Darcy’s sly humor comes out when Lizzie and Caroline are walking about the room.  (Lizzie went to Netherfield, Bingley’s house, when Jane became ill.)

You either chuse this method of passing the evening because you are in each other’s confidence, and have secret affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking; — if the first, I should be completely in your way; — and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire.

Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride — where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.

Well, Darcy knows he’s an eligible bachelor, but he won’t be caught easily.  (He’s not easily impressed-  he’s still be a bachelor at the age of 28.) 

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Matthew MacFadyen as Darcy (2005)

…But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence. Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related. They were natural and just.

Darcy’s first proposal is is very surprising to Lizzie- she tells him off!  (After all, she thinks he’s treated Wickham very unfairly and ruined Jane’s chance at happiness with Bingley.)  I really like the lines above that Darcy says, about how he hates to hide his true feelings.

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Elizabeth (Ehle) tells Darcy (Firth) about family troubles

When all hell breaks loose (because of Lydia’s running away with Wickham), Darcy becomes very concerned.  We see his sympathtic side (above), but we won’t discover until much later just how much he has helped the Bennett family.  (Actions speak louder than words.)  If Lydia and Wickham hadn’t been married off quickly, then the the other sisters would’ve been tainted for life.  Elizabeth felt guilty because she hadn’t revealed Wickham’s true character to others; Darcy had to protect Georgiana, his teenage sister, so he couldn’t expose Wickham either.

…Let me thank you again and again, in the name of all my family, for that generous compassion which induced you to take so much trouble, and bear so many mortifications, for the sake of discovering them.

If you will thank me,” he replied, let it be for yourself alone.  That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you.

The crisis, and its aftermath, propels the love story forward, though the couple are not together.  Lady Catherine becomes a catalyst when she barges in on the Bennetts and insists that Lizzie never become engaged to her nephew.  Darcy hopes to have another chance with Lizzie.  (Bingley and Jane finally getting engaged brings happiness to them both, too.)

As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper.  I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit.  Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own.  Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth!  What do I not owe you!  You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous.  By you, I was properly humbled.  I came to you without a doubt of my reception.  You shewed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.

How can you not love such words, these characters, and such a terrific ending!?

“Pride & Prejudice” (2005)

Running Time: 127 minutes

Starring: Keira Knightley, Matther Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Jena  Malone, Simon Woods, Tom Hollander, Rupert Friend,  and Judy Dench

We all know that the camera loves Keira Knightley, just like Michelle Pfeiffer.  But Keira’s not just a pretty face.  “She worked like a dog,” then first-time director, Joe Wright, says on the fun/informative commentary track of the DVD.  Wright’s version of the P&P story (that many know and love) is a must-see!  (When I saw it in the theater, I wasn’t very impressed.  I think it takes a second look to appreciate all that’s going on under the surface.)

The Bennet parents are humanized by Blethyn and Sutherland.  Pike is the perfect Jane.  Malone (who’s American like Sutherland) does a terrific British accent and plays the flighty Lydia w/ gusto.  The adorable Carey Mulligan makes her film debut as Kitty.

I think looking at it now, Darcy would seem much more snobbish in our understanding of the word than he would then. To somebody like Darcy, it would have been a big deal for him to get over this difference in their status, and to be able to say to Lizzie that he loved her.  –Matthew Macfadyen

Macfadyen (a theatrically-trained actor) is a terrific Mr. Darcy- tall, slim, subtle, and not too much of a pretty boy.  He looks posh and elegant in all the costumes, but never overly imposing.  Darcy’s feelings are reigned in tightly, but his eyes are expressive.  And don’t forget that voice– one of the most gorgeous in all of show business!

 

“They just fancy each other,” Wright comments, noting the deep physical attraction between Lizzie and Darcy.  When she follows Jane to Netherfield Hall on foot, Lizzie’s hair gets mussed and her hem gets muddy.  Darcy is shocked, like best pal Bingley and his sis Caroline, but also intrigued.  He has never met a woman like her before!

When Jane gets over her bad cold, and she and Lizzie have to leave, Darcy helps Lizzie onto the carriage.  This is the first time they touch, and he’s very affected by it.

For the Netherfield ball, Lizzie makes a special effort to look cute, hoping to meet the dashing Wickham.  To her surprise, Darcy asks her to dance!  This dance sequence is one of the best moments of the film.  (Dances were very important in Austen’s time; it was one of the few times young, single people could meet, chat, and hold hands.)

This film was almost entirely shot on location- in Derbyshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, etc.  Pemberly in this version is actually the house of the Duchess of Devonshire.  (Interestingly, Keira played the role of Georgiana in The Duchess in 2008.)

We can’t overlook the rainy scene!  Toward the end, Darcy leans in close and almost kisses Lizzie.  Wow…

Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1R-Zg5es7mg