V&M vs D&W - Help from dance experts out there! (no uber fans please)

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by uandmfan, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. uandmfan

    uandmfan New Member

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    HI everyone. I don’t post often, but after watching the dance this season, I’m confused and am hoping for those of you who are knowledgeable in dance to help me out...... I’m not looking for the opinions of V&M or D&W ubers please.......... and please don’t yell at me for asking this question!

    I’ve watched the competitions this season (or at least both free dances of these teams) and have made the following observations. However, I am a very casual dance fan and I’m sure I must be missing something!

    I have great respect for D&W and can see that they are very good, but it seems to me that V&M are far superior on so many levels, I don’t understand how they are getting marks that are so far below those of the Americans. I realize they have been making mistakes, but even if you factor those in, their marks seem to be much less than those of D&W.

    I see V&M as superior because of the following:
    1. They spend more time skating in dance holds – which is what I have always been lead to believe is more difficult and therefore better
    2. Their lifts are unique and appear to be very challenging
    3. They do a lot of one foot skating while leaning (ie not straight up and down)
    4. They have deep, smooth, curved edges
    5. Their line is beautiful and they never seem to even have a finger out of place and are always well matched

    Like I said, I’m not a dance expert, but from what I’ve read on FSW over the years, all of the above points should mean that V&M are ahead of D&W as the Americans to do more two foot skating, skate side by side more, don’t seem to have the beautiful lines (although I can’t tell what the difference is, there seems to be one) and they seem to skate in a more vertical fashion. I’ve also noticed that their lifts don’t seem to be as challenging. D&W are certainly more dramatic in style, and do a beautiful job of creating highlights and present a wow factor, but I wouldn’t think that would be so overwhelming as to overtake the issues noted above.

    I know it’s dance and therefore politics plays a big role (I’m sure the US is pushing hard for them to win and Canada is probably more focused on Chan right now), but it really seems like the better team on the night should win, whoever that might be, and if they both skate clean, I don’t understand how the better team is D&W.

    Even with what I said above, it seems to me that these are the top two teams in the world and they seem to be head and shoulders above the rest of the teams. But I have read that some people think the judges are dumping V&M (forget about 1st vs 2nd, I’m talking about finishing third or lower). Do you think that’s a possibility? Assuming that both teams skate clean, are V&M really vulnerable to the Russians?? I’m sure they will make a huge political play for 2nd, but won’t that cause a scandal????

    Please don’t think I’m dissing D&W. I can see they are a wonderful team, it just appears to me that V&M are a bit better but that doesn’t appear to be playing out in the marks this season and I don’t understand why. I’d appreciate the opinions of those of you who are knowledgeable about dance.

    Thanks to all you dance experts for your comments 
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  2. skatingguy

    skatingguy Active Member

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    I'm not an expert either but I think your analysis is accurate but the difference between Virtue/Moir and Davis/White on the points that you made is quite small and in recent head to head competitions Virtue/Moir have tended to make technical errors whereas Davis/White have been perfect for five years now.
  3. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

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    Uandmfan - One could quibble with some of your points but that's not what I intend to do. As skatingguy points out, competition is performance v. performance not generalized qualities v. generalized qualities.

    These two teams are now so close (and I think that is recognized in the ice dance world generally - that they are in a category by themselves and either can beat the other on a given day) that the smallest error on either side can cost one team the gold in that event. It's not about who is best when everyone is skating perfectly in our minds. It's how they are skating actually on the day. If you review the last 18 months or so of head to head, again as noted above, you will see that V/M have made more errors (granted some of them are tiny) than D/W - and at their level of expertise and competition, that's the difference.

    We're talking about almost perfection at their levels. They have very different basic qualities as teams but they each can skate almost perfect programs where tiny errors (or bobbles or speed of twizzles or distance between skaters on particular elements, etc) are the difference between beating the other team. You may prefer V/M's style; I happen to like them both for different reasons but it's clear to me that neither is fundamentally superior to the other. That's where we differ - you think V/M are superior and I don't. I think it's toss up and it comes down to the day, the execution, the attack - all of it in the particular moment.

    V/M skating perfectly directly v. D/W skating perfectly - I don't think we've seen that in the last two years (correct me if I'm wrong). And I'm not talking about a "clean" skate; I'm talking about something more elevated than even that. Now wouldn't that be one amazing moment in Sochi if it could be done!

    Your political analysis seems to belong to pre-COP days. Sure politics plays some role but the judges can't (and won't) drop V/M to 3rd or 4th if they skate a 1st or 2nd place set of programs. They have both the Zoueva team and Skate Canada behind them - those are people who know politics.

    Just for full disclosure - I'd put real money on D/W because I think they have a quality trajectory (especially for the past two seasons) that is just stunning but that's me.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  4. PashaFan

    PashaFan Active Member

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    I agree. I think Tessa & Scott are the most natural Ice Dancers of all time (Including T&D). For me in Ice Dance less is more but this judging system is not like that.
    Maybe V/M are a decade too late as the judges seem to want fast paced skating.
    Everything that made Ice Dance special has gone now.
    If I could have D/W do one thing it would be to Slow down but they can't. The system does not work that way.
    V/M are pure Ice Dance while D/W are more like mini-pairs skaters, exciting, fast & very technical. I also don't see the emotional connection between D/W as I do with V/M.
    I love watching both couples but for me V/M are the best.
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  5. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    Ask DorisPulaski.
  6. pani

    pani Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but unfortunately Doris is long time DW uber. One of the most passionate Meryl and Charlie fan.
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  7. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    Are experts usually dispassionate?
  8. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

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    This thread stands no chance. :watch:
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  9. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    uandmfan,

    I agree with Willoway on many points.

    1.We are comparing actual performance vs. actual performance and V&M have had tiny issues in their performance (not in the basic skating quality; they are beautiful to watch). I agree that V&M have superior posture/lines, etc. which I always value in skaters, but the competition is so close here that it will not be the deciding factor.

    2.These two teams are in a class by themselves and no other dance team can beat them, barring injury/sickness to either one (heaven forbid!- I want to see their best at the 2014 Olympics). Russians have no chance at all.

    3.D&W are not winning because of politics, but because they have worked hard to get to this level and they deliver every time, while V&M have shown minor imperfections in the execution of their performances since the 2010 Olympics. In Sochi it may come down to the actual performance that day (or days) in determining the winner.
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  10. MissJD

    MissJD Member

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    I think these are fair questions, but I don't think the ubers or the "experts" can give you a satisfying answer. Maybe BKfan will make an appearance and try. She's a fan of both teams and quite knowledgeable about ice dance!

    Mostly I'd just say enjoy whichever teams you like and don't get caught up in the :COP:
  11. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I would like to think that I can look at this dispassionately.

    Going by last season, the one thing that D&W had over V&M was content. D&W probably were more on the music with their choreography and particularly their SD they really hit it - every moment of the music was used. V&M, whilst personally I prefer to watch them, lacked content and also were not as on the music throughout. I can see why D&W won because if you are applying the judging guidelines, they really did a better job at fulfilling the criteria.

    Also there is one thing that D&W do so well is to give 110%. I have never seen them leave anything out there unanswered and their commitment is undeniable.

    Personally after last season I would have thought V&M needed a coaching change.
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  12. pani

    pani Well-Known Member

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    In Carmen compare to NDP?
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  13. johndockley92

    johndockley92 New Member

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    To me, Virtue and Moir are quite boring. When they won in 2012, even my mother who knows nothing about skating thought that Meryl and Charlie were much better. To me, I am clueless why V/M are held up as high as they are. I like many other teams more than them.
  14. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I had done an ISU dance seminar last year so after that I was able to look at programs a lot more analytical and according to the guidelines. If you are applying the guidelines, then D&W ticked more boxes.

    But to comment on specific performances I would need to go back and watch them. But definitely at the time that was the one thing I remember the most. D&W whilst I can appreciate them up to that point I couldn't understand why they were ranked so highly or considered so good. After that seminar I got a greater understanding.
  15. bunhead

    bunhead New Member

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    It's really cool to have an ISU judge on this board. Aussie Willy: Would you mind listing the areas VM should address to tick more boxes on score sheets to overtake DW?
  16. Tweak

    Tweak New Member

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    She is not an ISU judge. I think she has said that on more than one occasion in previous threads.
  17. pani

    pani Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! Very interesting. Did you talk about Carmen at judges seminar or just about overall skating level of ice dance teams?
    Its always interesting to know, how things work inside judging system.
    For me its interesting - did they discussd specific perfomances or talking about overall skating level, wich didnt depend from what program skaters show?
  18. volunteer

    volunteer Member

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    Aussy Willy, You're an ice dance judge? It would be great if you could provide a comparison of the 2 teams with regards to the Finnstep pattern.
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  19. bunhead

    bunhead New Member

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    Really? If so, my apologies. I thought she/he is a singles judge in Australia? I know journalists aren't allowed to take ISU Judging seminars so I don't know how else Aussie Willy could have participated in such a seminar.
  20. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I think they meant she is not an international judge.
  21. iNap

    iNap New Member

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    where can uber sign up to become the judges :D all this knowleges will be wastes :rofl: can one made this happen before sochi? ;)
  22. Tweak

    Tweak New Member

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    Actually I said ISU judge. She is neither a ISU nor international judge.
  23. iNap

    iNap New Member

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    tread name is not keeping uber out it is having wrong efects :lol:
  24. Tweak

    Tweak New Member

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    I would like to know this too. I'd also like to go to these seminars, who can sign up for these things? :)
    Just any kind of regional or national judge in any discipline? Cool :)
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  25. Subway

    Subway New Member

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    How did the seminar define "content"?

    Is "more content" indiscriminate? For instance, suppose one fd has more one foot turns, more extended runs of blade, more bladework, more closed hold, but another is jam packed with hopping, running and posing, and some of that is packed in there during the time another team is sustaining an edge.

    Always thought "content" was built in to both the short and the free due to the required elements.
  26. lauravvv

    lauravvv Well-Known Member

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    I am more of a fan of V/M, although I like D/W too, but - really? I agree about D/W's last season SD, but how were V/M less on the music than D/W, especially in the FD? I personally didn't see more choreography and nuance in D/W's FD that could be "on the music" than in V/M's 'Carmen', although, unlike many other V/M fans, I liked the 'Notre Dame de Paris' FD. Similarly, I did see more choreography and nuance in V/M's FD and, to me, it didn't look like any of the choreography and nuances were not on the music, or that they didn't perform that choreography/nuances on the music at any point. So I would be really thankful if you could explain.
  27. ComplimentsFrom

    ComplimentsFrom Banned Member

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    "If I could have D/W do one thing it would be to Slow down but they can't." ...They have. See: "Scheherazade". And it's damn special. Believe me, Pasha (and Platov) would ****in' kill to skate like Davis and White in a program like that.
  28. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    If you read the documents, the ISU calls the scoring system "the ISU judging system", not "International Judging System" that seems commonly used elsewhere. ISU judge can be interpreted as a judge who is qualified to judge under the ISU judging system, which she is. What she is not is an international judge who can judge ISU championships/events.
  29. Tweak

    Tweak New Member

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    ISU judges are credentialed to judge at Worlds/Olympics. International judges who are not ISU judges are not, they can only judge at GP events, 4Cs... technically, she is neither.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  30. arakwafan2006

    arakwafan2006 Active Member

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    I think that some great points have been raised. I believe that what it comes down to is that Meryl and Charlie have learned how to play by the rules and have worked on their weaknesses. The biggest visual contrast to me is that there is a monster height difference between Meryl and Charlie and that is not the case with Tessa and Scott. Also, and i will say it; Tessa to me is easier to look at because she's a goddess!

    Where I think that the Americans crush V&M is in the actual elements! Their lifts at this point are insane! Their footwork difficulty is ridiculous son on and so forth. When it comes to choreography, their material this year is finally dance and not a mash-up of a bunch of elements. In the new judging system, these things are more valuable to have on your side.

    While the Americans are my pick for gold in Sochi, the Canadians only need to tighten things up more because their material is glorious. That short dance though, needs more panache and clarity though. The British commentator said at Skate Canada that he didnt see much difference between WEaver and Poje and Virtue/Moir and he had a point. They have made changes to the material but it needs work. That ending pose... Tessa always seems late getting to it and it is not a good picture
  31. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    ISU (or World) judges are eligible to judge the Olympics and ISU Championships (Worlds/Europeans/4CC/Junior Worlds). International judges can judge GP/JGP/Senior B comps.

    Thankfully, I am not a dance expert. ;)

    ETA: Thanks to bmcg for the reminder below that ISU judges are required to judge the GP & JGP Finals.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  32. bmcg

    bmcg Well-Known Member

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    About the judges. Go to page 114 of the following link:

    http://www3.isu.org/vsite/vfile/page/fileurl/0,11040,4844-206227-223450-177140-0-file,00.pdf

    Following each competition ISU or Intern. refers to (in this order) Judge, Referee, Technical Panel. I'm pretty sure 4CC and Europeans are ISU Championships and therefore the panel must all be with ISU title. Also the GP and JGP FINALS have an all ISU panel.

    eta..I was slow formatting so Sylvia beat me to it..
  33. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Love the discussion about what I am. :lol:

    To clarify I can judge up to Novice dance and Senior Singles and Pairs here in Australia. So not a senior dance judge and am not an international judge. Also done a bit singles TC stuff too.

    As for attending seminars, they are for judges, not just general public.

    At the moment we have Australian Nats next week. Really really busy with organising those as they are being held here and on the organising committee (so not just a judge).
  34. kosjenka

    kosjenka Well-Known Member

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    Ya think? :rofl:
  35. The Accordion

    The Accordion Well-Known Member

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    I am loving this educational and relatively civil thread on this matter.
  36. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

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    I think you have hit the nail on the head. Viewers may know what they like, but that may or may not have a lot to do with how dance is judged under today's system.

    In the original post, uandmfan's analysis tends to focus on particular kinds of difficulty, but the rulebook also recognizes other things as contributing to difficulty. If viewers only give credit for things they like or things important to them, then they are not judging with the same system as the ISU. That may explain why folks don't always see why teams A and B deserve the same levels even though the technical callers scored them as similarly difficult. They were both difficult, but in different ways.

    The current judging system looks at many things in deciding what is difficult. If you look at the ISU guidance on levels, it gives lots of different ways that teams can use difficult features to get the highest levels. No team is expected to do all the difficult features, only enough to meet the criteria for Level 4. So the fact that one team does x and another team doesn't may not really make any difference at all. Each team has to figure out the best way for them to earn levels. For example, in the twizzle sequences, some teams do two different twizzles and some teams do three, yet both teams could still earn level 4. The teams with two twizzles just need to add some other difficult feature, like a tricky entrance.

    In assigning levels and GOE to lifts, there is no bonus for creativity. This is a concept left over from the 6.0 era. In today's scoring system, creativity overall is no more important for dance than for singles and pairs. (It is buried somewhere in one of the component descriptions, IIRC.) Most important in scoring lifts is that the lift works with the music and the difficulty of the lift in abstract terms (meaning not how hard is it for this team but how hard would it be for any team). Generally, lift difficulty (Levels) are defined by the difficulty of the position of both the man and the lady, the entrance, and the exit.
  37. Scrufflet

    Scrufflet Active Member

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    I'm impressed that someone had the guts to try this thread! I've wanted to hear these points of view as I am not good with the technical bits but I also wanted to avoid the illogical angry rants that go on. I love both teams and go back and forth on which one is better that day. I've pretty much decided to sit back and enjoy the ride with them both.
  38. rustyskater

    rustyskater Member

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    I appreciate this thread too, especially the intro given by uandmfan. I too, find in VM all of those things that uandmfan judged to be superior but I think those were true in the past. Now, I find such qualities are not consistently found in them since after the Olympics. They were close to perfection for every almost every free dance from 2007 to 2010, which is when they peaked with Mahler. Thereafter, injury, mistakes and in my view . . . just getting older and the bodies changing - have not helped them to replicate such perfection (with the exception of FF - which I thought was brilliant primarily because of the theme's originality and execution and I think VM had something to prove after losing Worlds for the first time to DW). VM are physically different from their peak condition and their skating doesn't look as sharp so the simple moves that used to knock your socks off now looks like a lack of choreography and content.
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  39. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I think you're right about that and it hurts the perception of their skating/dance. I was re-watching their OD from Vancouver and noticed that the quality of their movement (cleanliness, sharpness, preciseness) has diminished somewhat since then. That is not to say they still aren't top-notch and that they do not perform with high quality because they do. However, I think it's clear that it's not the same as it was in 2010.
  40. rustyskater

    rustyskater Member

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    I understand that Tracy Wilson recently called the VM Seasons Free as a masterpiece. I disagree. I think that VM's OD in Vancouver was the true masterpiece. The choreo seemed authentic on ice and it was executed with such precision - it was almost unreal. I think that dance was instrumental in carrying them to Gold - beating out the outrageously good Bollywood OD. At Worlds that year, VM's OD once again carried them to Gold (proven by the fact they actually lost the Free to DW but still won the competition). Anyone who compares that 2010 OD to any of their current dances, if being honest, should see a clear difference.