IceNetwork: Skate America article

Davis, White seek speedy angst for 'Scheherazade'

Shibutanis take ownership of material; Hubbell, Donohue buck trendPosted  by Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork
When Meryl Davis and Charlie White unveiled their Scheherazade free dance at the U.S.
International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City last month, they liked what they did. Their coach, Marina Zoueva, was happy. The judges were impressed.
They also had a few suggestions. One might come as a surprise.
"The judges' biggest comment was they needed more speed," Zoueva said with a shrug.
More speed? From a couple generally acknowledged as the Andrettis of ice dance?
"Of course they have speed, but they are world champions, and the judges want to see even more," Zoueva patiently explained. "Is a good thing, this comment. More speed gives them a chance for better edges and also helps the transition and skating skills [marks], and the level of footwork."
The coach talked with reporters in Joe Louis Arena's mixed zone Thursday, after overseeing what she called a "seriously good" practice from her top U.S. team. She has a few ideas of her own on how to build on Scheherazade's successful debut.
Tops on Zoueva's list: Dial up the program's drama, especially at its climax, when after 1,001 nights White finally decides he loves Davis enough not to have her head cut off.
"The king has fallen into Scheherazade's net," Zoueva said. "She is telling story after story, and she won his heart. But he is afraid to be dependent; he wants to escape."
To help make that point, the team is unveiling a different final lift Saturday. As a "choreo" lift, it doesn't get assigned a level, but Zoueva still wants it to earn maximum grades-of-execution (GOE) points.
"This lift is technically difficult to perform; we began working on it months ago," Zoueva said. "They could not perform it in Salt Lake City because they were physically not ready. The introduction, position and ending are difficult. She can't sit on his shoulder; it has to be a transition."
"The lift certainly isn't new to us, but it will be new to audiences," Davis said.
And with fewer than 150 nights to go until they hope to go for gold in Sochi, the tweaking to perfection goes on.


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