By Philip Hersh, Tribune reporter
6:38 PM CDT, March 16, 2013
LONDON, Ont. – Ice dance is figure skating’s odd couple, mixing lifts and spins that would work in the pairs competition and terpsichore befitting that schlocky TV dance competition-cum- reality-show many people swoon over.
Ballet? Some, mainly in character portrayal. Ballroom? Not so much in free dances that often are tours de force of invention.
No matter what type of moves they throw down, though, U.S. ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White perform them with a style, mastery and energy that make them the perfect couple for the blend of gymnastics and theatrics their discipline demands.
That was clear again in a convincing victory Saturday over their longtime rivals, reigning Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, at the World Championships in the Canadians’ home town.
“We are constantly creating things, and that makes it very difficult,” White said. “To be able to combine the athletics and the performance is what makes ice dance so cool.”
Davis, 26, and White, 25, are part of the Michigan-based dance assembly line that has made the discipline cool in their country over the past decade, as well as the only medal-winner for the U.S. in the last four worlds.
“We try to celebrate these moments because there aren’t an infinite amount of them,” White said.
Davis and White, 2010 Olympic silver medalists, have had quite a few.
This was the fourth straight world medal for the part-time University of Michigan students, who two years earlier had become the first U.S. world champions in ice dance. They now are favorites to become their country’s first Olympic dance champions, a surprising pirouette of events in an event where the U.S. had gone from 1985 to 2005 without a world medal.
“The rivalry between us seems to have heated up a little bit,” Moir said.
Davis and White built a commanding margin over defending world champions Virtue and Moir with a world record score in the short dance. They also won the free dance, set to “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” with consummate control and enough elan to impress without risking their lead.
Their total score, 189.56, was a world record and beat the Canadians by 4.52, a substantial difference given how skilled both teams are at making a seamless whole of a schizophrenic event.
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC