Stars on Ice article--Fort Myers, FL

www.news-press.com

March 26, 2010

Olympians set to grace ice at Germain Arena

By CHARLES RUNNELLS
crunnells@news-press.com

For 14 years, they skated, they danced and they ice-danced.

Then, finally, came The Moment: The one they'll always remember.

Charlie White and Meryl Davis had just ice-danced their way through "Phantom of the Opera" and Indian folk songs. The Winter Olympics judges had made their rulings.

It was time to claim their silver. The medals felt good as the ribbons settled around their necks, White says. His voice trembles with the February memory.

"It was very emotional," says White, 22. "Standing up there and watching that U.S. flag being raised.

"It was a very good moment."

Davis, 23, agrees.

"It was an amazing experience," she says.

Now Davis and White are taking a victory lap and skating for fun instead of victory. They're two of 15 skaters appearing at the Smucker's Stars on Ice show Thursday at Germain Arena. The national tour kicks off there.

"We're very excited," Davis says. "We've never been on a tour before."

Many of the other skaters competed at this year's Olympics, too: new bronze medalist Joannie Rochette of Canada; 2006 U.S. Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto; 2008 U.S. National Champion Mirai Nagasu; two-time U.S. National Champion Jeremy Abbott; and new U.S. gold medalist Evan Lysacek.

White and Davis plan to reprise their famous ice-dance to Indian folk music - a dance that's since become a YouTube hit. The routine includes traditional Indian costumes and difficult rhythms.

"It was a little bit of a challenge," White says. "It was something we weren't that familiar with."

The Michigan duo worked with an Indian dance instructor to learn the symbolism behind each precise movement and hand gesture.

"It was so different and yet so cool," White says. "The (Olympic) judges certainly weren't used to that sort of thing."

White and Davis have been partners since he was 8 years old and she was 9. And, no, they aren't dating, Davis says. It's strictly professional.

The duo could barely look each other in the eyes when they started ice-dancing together.

"We were both kids," Davis says. "I was really shy."

Yet the more they trained, the more comfortable they got. And soon they developed a rapport that took them all the way to the Olympics.

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