2011-2012 Music Selections!

SD Music: "Batucadas" by Mitoka Samba, "Life is a Carnival" by various artists and "On The Floor" by Jennifer Lopez

FD Music: Music from La Strada by Nino Rota

Giving Back: Meryl and Charlie in Tsunami Benefit show

Giving Back: Meryl Davis And Charlie White To Perform Special Show For Tsunami Victims

World Champion ice dancers Meryl Davis And Charlie White are headlining a fundraiser and special show in Japan on July 27th to benefit the victims of the tsunami. The major problem that every disaster effort faces is that the time of reconstruction, rebuilding, and healing often take longer than the public’s attention to such crises. Like preparing for a major athletic competition, the effort to come back from a disaster takes years of dedicated, painstaking work and that is what makes Davis’ and White’s efforts so worthwhile. The Tsunami happened in March of this year and the media attention has begun to fall away, even though there are still many people in the area living in camps for evacuees. In headlining this event, Davis and White will bring much needed attention and aid to the victims of the disaster.

The show is a very special production with only 1400 invited guests – many of whom are school children who lost homes and family to the disaster. It is presented as a part of the Lotte ‘The Ice’ series of shows that are taking place across Japan this year. Spectators will be brought in by chartered busses from Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, some of the spectators are coming from evacuation centers where they have been placed since driven from their homes because of the tsunami.

Davis and White supporting their hometown teams

Meryl Davis and Charlie White made history and headlines this year when they became the first Americans to ever win the world championships for ice dancing. This victory, coming off of their silver medal performance in Vancouver at the 2010 Olympics has thrust the pair into the spotlight and won them a huge following. In addition to headlining the event, the two will also take part in skating lessons for 130 children from the area. Donations from the event will go to the Red Cross to aid reconstruction efforts.

"The Ice" benefit show

World champs headline show for disaster victims

(07/21/2011) - AOMORI, Japan -- Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the first American ice dance team to win a world championship, will lead efforts to provide smiles and relief to some of the areas hardest hit in northern Japan after the devastating earthquakes and tsunami ravaged the country in March.

Part of Lotte presents " The Ice" skating series, a new benefit show will take place on July 27, 2011, for 1,400 invited guests from the Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures. The show will be available only to the 1,400 guests; no tickets will be sold. For transportation, chartered buses will take the guests (some of whom still live

in evacuation centers) to the venue in Aomori.

Leading the cast of skaters will be current world champions Davis and White, who made history this spring when they became the first U.S. team to win gold at a world championships in ice dance; the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships were moved from Tokyo to Moscow following the tsunami.

Joining Davis and White will be current U.S. champion Alissa Czisny, 2008 U.S. champion Mirai Nagasu, 2008 U.S. junior champion Adam Rippon, 2010 Olympic silver medalist Mao Asada and her sister Mai Asada, 2010 Olympic silver medalists Qing Pang and Jian Tong, 2010 Olympic bronze medalistJoannie Rochette, 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Jeffrey Buttle, 2011 world silver medalist Takahiko Kozuka, 2011 European champion Florent Amodio, current European bronze medalists Sinead Kerr and John Kerr, three-time Japanese champions Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran, current Four Continents champion Yuzuru Hanyu, and current world junior champion Kanako Murakami.

Cast members also will give approximately 130 kids from the area free skating lessons. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami damaged or destroyed many ice rinks in the area, and the July 27 lessons will give young skaters a chance to lace up their skates and get back on the ice.

Among the tsunami victims is cast member Hanyu, who is from Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture, one of the hardest hit cities in Japan. Like many skaters in the country, he lost his practice rink and had to travel around the country to find ice rinks with his mother while his father and elder sister returned to work and school.

The skaters will perform and provide lessons for free, and all donations from the show will be given to the Red Cross in order to help the rebuilding efforts throughout the region.

Lotte presents "The Ice" is a series of skating shows throughout Japan, with the first show taking place on July 23, 2011. The show is a production of IMG worldwide.

2011 The Ice show in Japan

Meryl and Charlie are currently listed as cast members of this show in Japan over the summer.

TheIce youtube channel

Calendars and Magazines

2012 Calendar page

Skate America Ad
French magazine cover


"Fly" montage

Meryl and Charlie teach Kozuka moves

Skating Magazine cover

IceNetwork article (M & C work with Grinenko)

Grinenko shows ice dancers the moves

Dance champion

choreographs for the world's top teams

By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com

(07/07/2011) - It's usually no t my style to insert myself into an article, but it's impossible for me to explain how Dancing with the Stars alum and former U.S. and world American Rhythm champion Elena Grinenko came to choreograph for Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moirand Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani without explaining my role in it.

I've been acquainted with Elena since 2007, when I wrote an article about the athletes who had competed on Dancing with the Stars as told by their dance partners. She had danced with retired NBA star Clyde Drexler in season four. I interviewed her again the following year when Kristi Yamaguchi competed on the show and in 2009 for an article about ballroom dancing as relationship therapy.

After the 2011 U.S. figure skating championships, I got the idea to have Elena watch the top three senior ice dance teams and give her comments from a ballroom perspective.

Shortly after the article was published on icenetwork.com, I introduced her to Igor Shpilband. He subsequently contacted her to ask if she would be interested in working with ice dancers. She said a definitive yes.

"I was quite honest about it. I said I never worked with figure skaters before, but I definitely would like to get involved because it sounds like an interesting job," says Grinenko, who danced professionally with Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani and now runs a booking agency for ballroom dancers, Grinya's Entertainment.

The first time she went to Detroit, she worked with Davis and White focusing on choreography for their Latin short dance. They hadn't yet chosen their music, so they played with different pieces of music before putting the whole program together.

During the trip, she met Marina Zoueva. Shortly after Grinenko returned home to Los Angeles, Zoueva called and asked her come back and work with some of the other teams. Before accepting, Grinenko made sure that was alright with Davis and White, who gave her the okay. On her second visit to Detroit, she worked with all of Shpilband and Zoueva's teams. She's since been back for a third visit.

"It's very exciting and it's amazing how your work can transfer to ice," Grinenko says. "It's actually even more amazing to see certain things they can do on ice way better than they do it on the floor."

So far, the experience has been a thrill for Grinenko, who grew up in Moscow (she became a U.S. citizen in 2008) and watched a great deal of figure skating on television with her mother. She intently watched the 2010 Olympic Winter Games on TV, and when she was doing research on the couples she'd be working with, she realized how much she'd enjoyed their Olympic performances.

Although she worked with all the couples on the dance floor, much of the actual choreography was done right on the ice. Rather than mapping out a program only to find out certain moves weren't viable, they took the creative process onto the rink.

"It's faster to digest what is working and what is not," Grinenko says. "I've taught since I [was] 15 years old, and I have a very good sense of what's working and what's not. I thought it would be actually a harder transition for me to try to do it on ice and see what works and what doesn't, but it went pretty smoothly."

For Davis and White, she even choreographed hand gestures to go with the required steps in the compulsory rumba to make it more authentic.

"Obviously, we did completely different steps when it's allowed to do it," Grinenko says. "When we touched rumba part, it was pretty much all about upper body.

"They're such amazing athletes," she adds. "They pick up on it so quick. It was very exciting to see how fast they catch onto it. Pretty amazing."

She showed Virtue and Moir a YouTube video of Latin dancers Maxim Kozhevnikov and Yulia Zagoryuchenko (who no longer dance together) performing to the music Virtue and Moir used for last season's free dance. Seeing pros utilize the music gave the Olympic gold medalists insight into how to have more Latin flavor.

One aspect of Latin dancing that requires a bit of creative interpretation is hip action. Proper hip action is one of the hardest elements of Latin dance to master, but skaters aren't really able to do it while moving.

"We did a combination of this is how it should be, now show me how you would be able to do that on ice," says Grinenko. The teams achieved a happy compromise.

"Everybody liked it, so I'm super excited," she says. "I can't wait to see all of them skate."

Grinenko looks forward to seeing her work in action at Skate America. With Davis and White scheduled for Cup of Russia, Grinenko's mother is counting the days until she gets to meet them and especially Zoueva.

"My mom remembers Marina very well from when she taught Gordeeva and Grinkov," says Grinenko. "That was my mom's favorite skating team. When she heard Marina's name she screamed.

"Charlie and Meryl are skating in Moscow in November," she adds. "My mom already getting ready to meet Marina."

To learn more about Elena Grinenko, you can visit her website.

Michigan Daily article (Reflection on Worlds)

Michelle Narov
Daily Staff ReporterJuly 4th, 2011

After winning the silver medal in the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver, LSA students Meryl Davis and Charlie White began the 2011 ice dancing season with one goal in mind: to leap to the top of the podium at the World Ice Dancing Championships in April.

Months later, after countless grueling training sessions and one ten-hour flight to Moscow, they not only achieved their goal, but also made history as the first American team to do so. On top of all of that, they still plan to take classes at the University in September.

The reality of the win didn’t set in for the pair until they were interviewed in the “kiss-and-cry” — a playful term ice dancers use to describe the area where they receive their scores after their names have been announced, Davis said.

“It was pretty surreal,” she said. “The interviewer asked us questions that made us think a bit more, and some questions about what it meant for us to win. In that context we were forced to think about the relevance of what had happened. It was so exciting.”

White said they both felt the pressure mounting as they waited to compete after being randomly selected to skate last in the competition — a daunting task even for well-seasoned competitors.

“It is really nerve wracking,” White said. “It takes sort of a mental toll because you have to wait after you warm up on the ice about 40-50 minutes where you’re just sitting there listening to everyone finish, wishing you had somehow drawn another number.”

Adding to the pressure, they were preceded by their former competitors and close friends, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who received the gold medal at the Olympics in 2010.

Davis said this was not the first time she and White had skated last in a competition and their 15 years of experience together was a substantial advantage.

“We’ve been doing this for so long that nerves are just a part of the game,” she said. “We just try to incorporate nerves, in a healthy extent, into what we do.”

Davis added that when she and White finally made it onto the ice at the World Championships, they did so with the mentality that they had nothing to lose.

“Charlie and I talked to each other a little bit right before we started our program,” she said. “We said all we can do is give it our best.”

White and Davis said their routine was a tango, which presented a greater level of difficulty for them. While it took a substantial amount of time and training for them to develop the technique needed for their performance, they both said the extra effort paid off.

“We wanted to make sure it was a good performance to represent the U.S.,” Davis said. “Despite the fact that Charlie and I tried not to think about it, everyone was saying if you win, you’ll be the first American ice dance team in history to achieve that, and so we had that in the back of our minds.”

Furthermore, Davis and White said the win was thrilling to them not only because of what it signified for them, but what it signified for the United States.

“(The victory) holds a special place for us and a special place for the country,” White said. “We’re very grateful for the opportunity to do something like that.”

Next season, White and Davis said they plan to continue their ice dancing careers, and hope to come up with new routines that persist in pushing the boundaries.

“It’s going to be interesting to see just exactly what we can do to top ourselves,” White said. “If we want to stay at the top, which definitely we want to do, we’re going to have to work that much harder.”

Despite their rigorous practice schedules, Davis and White said they plan on taking classes on campus in the fall. Davis added she loves the days she gets to spend as a University student.

“It’s funny because Charlie and I have been students at Michigan for several years,” she said. “But I still feel like I can never get enough. I just love walking around campus, and walking through the Diag and the Law Quad.”

Despite their affection for the University and Ann Arbor, their fans can rest at ease because the two have no plans to retire any time soon, despite their 15 year-long career. According to White, he and Davis are too excited about their work to stop now.

“I wouldn’t say it gets easier,” he said. “There’s always sort of that ‘why am I a figure skater, I could be sitting at home.’ But we love the feeling you get when you begin to perform.”