Week 7: Paso Doble and Salsa


Stars on Ice Detroit and assorted photos

Week 6: Tango and Cha-cha

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Jeff Seidel: Olympic champs Meryl Davis, Charlie White stay on the move with 'Stars on Ice,' 'Dancing with the Stars'

Jeff Seidel: Olympic champs Meryl Davis, Charlie White stay on the move with 'Stars on Ice,' 'Dancing with the Stars'

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are living like rock stars.
After winning the gold medal in ice dance at the Winter Olympics, they have been living out of their suitcases. They are touring the country on a bus, traveling from Florida to New Jersey while performing in “Stars on Ice,” and then hopping off the tour once a week and flying to Los Angeles to compete on “Dancing with the Stars.”
But they are coming home, at least for a couple of days, when “Stars on Ice” makes a stop at Joe Louis Arena next Sunday.
“It’s very cool for us to come to Detroit for the show,” Davis said. “We haven’t been able to spend a lot of time at home since the Olympics. Anytime we get to celebrate with our families and friends and other people of Detroit, I think it’s very cool for us.”
How does it work? How do you train for a TV show while touring the country as part of an ice show?
Every morning, in whatever city they happen to be in for the ice show, Davis and White train with their TV dance partners for four or five hours.
Then, Davis and White go to the rink to get ready for “Stars on Ice,” and their dancing partners — Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Sharna Burgess — get in a car with a field producer from the TV show and drive to the next city where “Stars on Ice” is scheduled to appear.
It is a complicated, hectic, nonstop schedule.
Davis and White haven’t had a day off since the Olympics — not that they are complaining.
“It’s exhausting,” White said. “We are powering through, honestly. It’s pretty hard. But we are so grateful to have all of these amazing opportunities to be part of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘Stars on Ice’ at the same time. It’s nothing we take for granted. And it’s a blast. The people around us are really great people. Sometimes, we get a little bit tired, but for the most part we are so excited. We don’t let it show too much.”
They sleep on the bus.
“The buses have bunk beds and a little lounge area,” White said. “It’s great to unwind and relax as we are traveling to each new city.”

Celebration of figure skating

“Stars on Ice” features the U.S. skaters who combined to win the bronze medal in the team event at the Sochi Games.
“This year, ‘Stars on Ice’ is a celebration of American figure skating,” Davis said. “It’s a celebration of the Games, so it’s very exciting for us. The team event helped bond this group of skaters. I think it’s a really fun cast this year, so I think that Detroit will really enjoy the show.”
The show, which White described as family friendly, features several skaters with ties to Detroit.
First, there is Davis and White, of course. They used to train in Canton, until they started living on the road.
And there is Jeremy Abbott, a four-time national champion, who trains at the Detroit Skating Club and placed 12th at the Sochi Games.
Alissa Czisny, a two-time U.S. national champion who missed out on a chance to make the Olympic team because of an injury, is also performing in the show. Czisny trained with Abbott at the Detroit Skating Club.
“She seems to be doing pretty well,” White said of Czisny. “She obviously has a passion for skating and is so beautiful and graceful on the ice. She’s a great addition.”

Dancing sensations

Davis and White might have to keep up this schedule for a while. They are among the final eight “Dancing with the Stars” competitors, and it doesn’t look like either one is going to be kicked off anytime soon.
Both have excelled, drawing all kinds of praise from the “Dancing” judges, which is hardly surprising. They have a huge advantage over some of the other competitors. They are elite athletes who have trained for years, learning how to perform live, handling pressure.
And they have made it look ridiculously easy.
But you want to know a secret?
“It really is not easy,” White said. “Everything feels so alien to a certain degree and uncomfortable. We have an understanding of our bodies that if we work hard enough we will do what it is we want. It’s funny. We can make it look like we know what we are doing, but we certainly don’t feel it from a technical standpoint. From a technical standpoint, it’s certainly not 100% correct.”
White was ripped by “Dancing with the Stars” judge Len Goodman for a rumba that wasn’t exactly a rumba. “Is it a rumba?” Goodman asked. “Not in my world it isn’t.”
But White is such a good performer that it doesn’t matter.
Davis has chemistry with Chmerkovskiy — it is like one long, sizzling embrace broken up by some amazing dancing.
“I’m really enjoying spending time with Maks,” Davis said. “And with the partner swap, I spent a lot of time with his brother Val. They are both really cool, very impressive people. As teachers, they have been so incredible. I’ve been learning so much. They have really allowed me to enjoy the process from a learning standpoint, as well as just wanting to have fun with the whole experience.”
White looks like a natural, even if he doesn’t feel comfortable.
“For me, with Sharna, obviously, she is a true professional,” White said. “She puts everything she has into the dancing and into the choreography. She has only done two seasons. She is having fun experimenting with what we are capable of out on the dance floor. That really sets the tone for our rehearsals. We are out there having a good time. At the same time, we expect a lot out of ourselves and we want to go out there and look like we know what we are doing.”
When they were training for the Olympics, Davis and White made it clear that they were shooting for the gold medal. But this is different. They are just riding this train of opportunity until it stops.
“It’s a different place for us to be in,” Davis said. “We are just having fun with the whole thing.”
As far as the future, they say they haven’t thought about it, except for a June vacation.
“We are definitely looking forward to some time off,” White said.
Come on, man. What have you done to earn a vacation?
“I know, right,” White said, laughing.

Frank Beckmann show

Listen to Meryl and Charlie on Frank Beckmann show.  

Meryl and Charlie in Manchester, NH

Video on this weeks training process.  

MANCHESTER, N.H. —Charlie White and Meryl Davis won America's first Olympic gold medal in ice dancing, but they may be even more famous for their current turn on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

The two will be preforming Thursday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena as part of the "Stars on Ice" tour.
Thursday morning, they practiced their dance steps for several hours at the Queen City Ballroom on Dow Street.
"Every morning, we have four to five hours of rehearsal, and then it's straight to the show," White said. "Physically and mentally, it's a lot of stress, and it's difficult."
White and Davis have been ice dancing partners for 17 years, but they said making the switch to a professional dance partner hasn't been that difficult.
"No one will ever have the partnership that Charlie and Meryl have," said White's dancing partner, Sharna Burgess. "There's something very special about them, and it's just meant to be."
"Some of the habits that I've formed on the ice in the last 22 years are difficult to break," Davis said of her transition to dancing.
White and Davis said there hasn't been any time to reflect on their historic accomplishment in Sochi.
They said they just jumped right into dancing and now have their sights set on a Mirror Ball Trophy.

Read more: http://www.wmur.com/entertainment/dancing-with-the-stars-contestants-in-manchester/25534324#ixzz2zBxu4LFX

DWTS Week 5: Jazz and Samba

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Stars on Ice on NBC

DWTS: Charlie White and Meryl Davis Say They're "In It Together"

DWTS: Charlie White and Meryl Davis Say They're "In It Together"

Olympic ice dancing gold medalistsCharlie White and Meryl Davis found themselves in a strange position when they signed on for Season 18 of Dancing with the Stars: rather than being partners, as they have been on the ice for 17 years, they'd actually be competing against each other. But they don't really see it that way.
"I guess technically speaking, we are competing against each other, but it couldn't feel further from that," Davis tells TVGuide.com. "We really feel like we're in it together."
And it's true that, by necessity, White and Davis spend more time together than any other pair of celebs this season. When TVGuide.com spoke to the duo one morning last week, they were traveling together by car through New York City, getting ready to do promotions for the "Stars on Ice" tour, which they're currently juggling along with Dancing.The "Stars on Ice" schedule consists of several dates per week around the country, and so their DWTS pro partners, Sharna Burgess and Maks Chmerkovskiy, have been meeting them in tour cities to squeeze in dance rehearsals.
"We just have gotten into sort of a rhythm," White explains. "I think too, because we're having so much fun with both, that that really helps. As long as your spirits are high, you can get over being tired. If you're tired and you're not happy about it, then you're going to struggle. But we're having so much fun that we're sort of able to push past the exhaustion of the schedule and really make the most out of everything."
Check out our full Q&A with White and Davis to get their thoughts on whether they have an unfair advantage in the competition, as well as White's reaction to Len Goodman andCarrie Ann Inaba saying his and Peta Murgatroyd's dance last week wasn't really a rumba.
So you've started the "Stars on Ice" tour. How are you managing your crazy schedules?
White: [The first week of "Stars on Ice"] was a challenge, because we were just on the ice all day long and then had to squeeze in the four hours of training with our brand-new switch partners, either first thing in the morning or late at night.
Davis: There have certainly been a couple moments where I felt a little overwhelmed by fatigue ... but I think fatigue is kind of quickly wiped away by the excitement, and just our enthusiasm for the experiences that we're having. And also I think that last week, learning the numbers for "Stars on Ice" as well as being with different partners that we didn't know quite as well, I think that was definitely a big challenge. Now that we know the choreography for the skating, I think we feel a little bit more comfortable in our ability to tackle both things.
How did you both feel about the switch-up this week?
I felt great about the performance on Monday. Val [Chmerkovskiy] definitely challenged me with that routine, and so the beginning of the week was definitely not easy. But he's an incredible dancer and teacher, and so I felt really good about what we put out there on Monday.
It was fun to switch partners. I think it was a good challenge for all the stars to test their mettle with someone they're unfamiliar with. The great thing is that all of the professionals are so experienced and such good dancers that in a way they're interchangeable. They all have something that makes them special, but in terms of just their ability to make great things happen, they're all very, very capable. I certainly found that to be the case with Peta. I thought that she did a really, really wonderful job. I was super pleased to do the dance she put together, and I thought it was interesting having a little bit of a back and forth between the judges.
Charlie, what was your reaction to the judges' feedback that the dance wasn't a rumba?
When we looked back and saw what we did, we were very happy with it. ... From our perspective, it was quite clearly a rumba. What Len said about the hip movement, I was moving my hips. I could have moved them more, but I don't think that takes away from the steps of the dance being a rumba. But again, it's a personal preference type of thing. ... It's tough to take when you have such a wide range, but are at the same time trying to improve as a dancer. It's not like I feel like I'm at the apex of years of training. And so, it's different for me than it was for Peta, who felt like she put together a great dance, and I agree.
And Meryl, since Maks is your permanent partner, what was your reaction to Julianne Hough's comments that his routine felt "phoned in"?
Maks doesn't phone anything in. ... I think it's unfortunate that those comments were made, and I thought it was a great dance.
Meryl, were you surprised or disappointed that you didn't get paired with Derek Hough, since he choreographed one of your Olympic routines?
We were all given the option of encouraging people on Twitter to pair us with a certain pro, but I just decided I would kind of let [voters] decide. I didn't want to encourage anything in any particular direction, because as Charlie said, all the pros are so amazing that I knew I would be in good hands regardless of who I was with. So, I was really psyched to be with Val.
Now that you've worked with both Chmerkovskiy brothers, what's the biggest difference between their coaching styles?
They definitely have different styles of teaching. But I think it's really wonderful working with them, because I think they really enjoy working together. They use their differences as ways to kind of help each other. Val was sending videos to Maks all week, asking for feedback, and I know Maks is always asking for Val's opinion as well. So, it's so cool having the two of them with different perspectives and different eyes for things, because you really are getting the best of both worlds.
Has the competition been harder or easier than you expected?
It's tough to say. Each week is so different. Going from modern to tango to jive to rumba, each has such a different feeling and such a different approach, and the choreography is so different. It's such a week-to-week basis in finding how tired you're going to be, whether or not you're going to be able to get into the character, how easily you can learn the steps. I think overall, it's been about what I expected. And I think part of that is what you put into it of course, but I think the biggest thing is that it's still super enjoyable.
I think the dancing itself has been very challenging. ... Whether it's the Latin hip movement, or certain types of footwork, I think it's been surprisingly challenging for us to overcome our natural tendencies that we've gained after years of being on the ice. But at the same time, I'm having even more fun than I expected to. ... We're just thrilled to be a part of it.
How different is learning dance choreography than rehearsing for your skating routines?
We're so used to movement in general on the ice. But I think because so much of our days and the majority of our lives have been spent on the ice, we kind of like to think that the laws of physics that apply on the ice are the way it is on the floor as well. And because our previous dance experience has always been taking what we learned on the floor directly to the ice, I think it was hard for us to kind of wrap our minds around the idea of dancing on the floor for the sake of dancing on the floor.
I think the biggest difference is on the ice you know the patterns of steps. You know how one thing leads into another. And so, you don't have to remember exactly what the step is when you're doing the choreography; doing the actual steps kind of jogs your memory. Whereas in ballroom, because I'm so unfamiliar with what step leads into another, and ... if you should be walking on your heel or on your toe, or rising up or staying low, depending on the dance, it kind of seems like after every step there's just an infinite amount of possibilities, and so you really have to just focus on what comes next. And I think that's quite hard on the brain. That's what I've felt, even more so than physical exhaustion, is just mental exhaustion, trying to stay on top of everything and keep your timing up as well.
Some people say your ice training puts you at an unfair advantage.
I certainly think that it's more challenging for us perhaps than most people realize. ... We all bring something different to the table. Whether you're an actor, you're a pop star, a singer, I think everybody has these qualities that they're able to bring into their performances. And certainly, we're using our backgrounds and our previous experiences to create the best performances we can. But I think everybody's doing that.
I think what's special about [the cast] is that everyone sort of brings their own uniqueness and flavor to making their dances interesting. All the professionals are really bringing that out in their stars. Drew [Carey] or Cody [Simpson] or James [Maslow], they all have their sort of thing that they're able to throw into these dances that's unexpected to some degree, but makes it so interesting to watch. ... In terms of just an actual competition, it's really good. And it's fun to be a part of.
Is it odd to be going up against each other?
For Meryl and myself, it just really feels like we're in it together still. I don't know what it would take [for us to] actually be competing against each other. At this point, coming off of winning the Olympics ... we just have a different mindset coming in. We feel like we're doing a lot of this together. And in fact, we are. Right now we're sitting in a car together and we're traveling all over the country together and learning these steps, and we're on the same journey together. Our approach to everything is really just about self-improvement. It's not so much about competing against other people. That's how it was on the ice, and that's how it is on the ballroom floor. So, in that sense, we feel like we have each other's support, and I think that makes it a lot easier.
It's hard to explain. I guess technically speaking, we are competing against each other, but it couldn't feel further from that. We've been on this incredible journey together for 17 years, and our interests have been aligned almost our entire lives, so we just have this team mentality. We have this natural support for one another that has been formed over such a long period of time, and in this circumstance, I feel like we're supportive of one another. We are having fun together. We really feel like we're in it together.
Charlie, Erin Andrews told me last week that she feels like your personality is starting to come out more. Are you getting more comfortable in the ballroom?
It's tough, with the change of dance, to get some consistency. But at the same time, I definitely do feel like I'm a lot more comfortable week to week. I do think it's showing, and that's super sweet of Erin to say. With the jive definitely, it was fun, and that is sort of my personality. That's what I like to bring to everyday life, and not just the dance floor. Being able to sort of have that translate into a dance was special.
What are you working on for this week?
 This week is Disney week. I can't tell you the song, but we're doing jazz. I think the whole Disney thing is about cheerfulness, and so much of it for me and for a lot of the other dancers is sort of connecting with your childhood and what made you so happy back then. I think it's going to be a very fun and funny week that everyone should look forward to.
Maks and I will be dancing a samba. I'm excited to get going with it. ... I think it's going to be a fun week.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.

Qualified: Meryl and Charlie recap on gold medal

Meryl and Charlie on Good Morning America

DWTS' 'golden' couple trains in Hershey

DWTS' 'golden' couple trains in Hershey

Posted: Apr 10, 2014 1:44 PM EDTUpdated: Apr 10, 2014 6:12 PM EDT

Stars on Ice: Newark

Meryl and Charlie in NYC