Monday, August 24, 2009

Canton ice dancers use non-traditional methods

U.S. ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White are looking for a little something extra this season to vault them onto the podium at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

The ice dancing event at the upcoming Olympics promises to be one of the closest in history. Fewer than six points separated the top four teams at the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships and three of those teams had been slowed by injuries during the year. This year's gold medal could be decided by a tenth of a point.

With the technical side of the sport already being pushed to the limits allowed by the Code of Points, every couple is looking for that one little thing that will make the color of their medal gold and not silver or bronze.

With so much riding on the Olympics, Davis and White have added new dimensions to their training to try to get an edge on their rivals.

Each of their dances requires a bit of special training. Their original dance is a traditional folk dance from India, a concept that sprang to coach Marina Zoueva's mind when she was shopping in a Hermes store in Madrid and saw a display of new scarves.

"There was a display of big Indian scarves that looked very colorful," Zoueva said. "I immediately saw Meryl in an Indian costume with the red dot on her forehead. The costume for Meryl would be amazing."

"I knew the Indian dances had very intricate arm and hand movements that could talk," Zoueva added. "Everything means something. It's not necessary for the audience to know the meaning of the movements but it keeps their interest."

The dancers found Anuja Rajendra, founder of BollyFit, Fitness through (Indian) Dance, to teach them the right moves and find authentic music for their original dance.

"It's a very different, unique style of dance," Davis stated. "There's a stark contrast between Indian folk dancing and Mideastern dances."

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