Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meryl Davis and Charlie White's "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles

This week's theme: Welcome to the Wonderful World of Ice Dance!

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are my favorite U.S. ice dancers of all-time! They are AWESOME! (As you will soon see for yourself!)

Background/ competitive career:

Meryl and Charlie--who some refer to as "Marlie" or "Dwight" live and train in Canton, Michigan under Igor Shilband and Marina Zoueva. Meryl and Charlie are both 23-year-old students at the University of Michigan.

"Marlie" started skating together around the ages of 8 and 9. In 2007, they burst onto the senior level of competition in a big way, finishing an impressive 3rd in their first U.S. championships, and placing 7th at the World Figure Skating Championships, which tied them for the highest world debut ever by a U.S. ice dance team. Following the '07 Worlds, my mom, sister and I attended an exhibition of the U.S. senior and junior teams in Reading, Pa. It was then that I saw Meryl and Charlie skate live for the first time. I immediately fell in love with their fast, smooth, velvet quality. I knew they were ones to watch.

In 2008, with this difficult, exciting freeskate, they moved up to second at the U.S. championships, behind their then training partners, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto. (Charlie and Tanith are now dating, and live together in Michigan).

In 2009, my sister and I were lucky enough to be in attendance in Cleveland, Ohio, as Meryl and Charlie won their first national title. Their performance was positively sublime. It was a highlight of our trip! I will be sure to post that winning-performance soon.

Last season, Meryl and Charlie had their most successful season yet. They won both their fall Grand Prix events, and narrowly captured the Grand Prix final over eventual Olympic champions, and training mates, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada. They also became You Tube sensations with their fabulous Original Dance routine skated to Indian music, featuring authentic Indian choreography. It is sheer genius! I will have to post that video, too.

"Marlie" had a convincing victory at the U.S. Championships/Olympic trials in January, bringing the house down with their ambitious, if not frenetic, "Phantom of the Opera" routine. They were stunning in February's Olympics in Vancouver, finishing second to the majestic Virtue and Moir, who were skating on home ice. The American tandem followed up their Olympic silver with a silver at the Worlds in March in Torino, Italy. The next month, my mom, sister and I saw them skate their incredible Indian-music Original Dance on the Stars On Ice tour. They were, of course, amazing. We wished they had skated more than one number, but we did see them skate in a lot of fun group numbers.

Last weekend "Marlie" won their first Grand Prix title of the new season at NHK Trophy in Tokyo, Japan. They are currently ranked No.1 in the world in the International Skating Union's World Rankings.

"Marlie" skated this revamped version of their "Eleanor Rigby" freeskate at the 2008 nationals. I was blown away by their speed and technical precision. This performance also highlighted their maturity and their ability to interpret music and put on a dynamic, powerful performance. This was my favorite free skate of that night, and remains one of my favorite Meryl and Charlie routines!

I love how Charlie skates with such reckless abandon (he flies across the ice!), and Meryl is as dramatic as any stage-actress. Their twizzles (turns on one foot) are a blur! Together, they are "first rate" as Dick Button would say. I read somewhere that Brian Boitano, a master of beautiful, deep, controlled edges, said that he thinks Charlie White's edging and stroking is the best he's ever seen. And that's saying something!

Enjoy "Eleanor Rigby"!!

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