Davis, White tie at top on week two of 'DWTS'Golden duo, partners receive mix of praise, criticism for performances
Week two of Dancing with the Stars had Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy scoring 25 points for their high-flying swing dance and Charlie White and Sharna Burgess also receiving 25 points for their elegant tango.
The judges praised Davis and Chmerkovskiy's acrobatic lifts, but Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli said Davis lost timing in a couple of spots, and each gave 8's. Len Goodman awarded a 9.
When it came to Davis and Burgess, Goodman was the stingy judge, giving a 7 because the couple broke hold in the middle of the dance. Both Inaba and Tonioli awarded 9's.
For their parts, Davis, 27, and White, 26, are simply enjoying the process.
"Leading up the Olympics, it was such a stressful period. We had a lot that we expected of ourselves. Going in hoping to get the gold medal was an incredibly nerve-wracking experience. So we came into this, and we had a totally different approach," White said.
"Of course, our competitive spirit is always going to be there -- that's why we are who we are. ... But at the end of the day, we feel so fortunate to have this opportunity," he added. "To make the most out of it, we have to try and enjoy every second. That means not stressing out about it."
White is quick to dispel the idea that he and Davis are experienced dancers. While they've worked with ballroom instructors to give their ice dance programs authenticity, dancing on the floor is completely different.
"Sharna is a great teacher and very patient with me, which is good because it's not easy," White said. "It takes a lot of brain power to figure out how to do everything correctly.
"What's amazing is just how opposite a lot of the movements are," he continued. "When you push in skating, you drive your hip forward to use the speed you've just gotten from your push, whereas on the floor, it's the exact opposite rotation of your body. Having to unlearn my natural way of moving when I'm performing has been a challenge.
"Working with ballroom before, it was always centered around what we were going to be able to do on the ice. It was never about what we would be able to learn and do on the floor."
Next week's theme is to celebrate a memorable year in the lives of the celebrity contestants. They're not allowed to reveal their stories but are free to disclose the dance styles. Davis and Chmerkovskiy will dance the foxtrot, and White and Burgess will dance the jive.
"The jive is quick. It's energetic, it will be tiring, but it's a lot of fun," White said.
Learning choreography and then performing the routine within a few days is also new.
"When I'm watching someone choreograph on the ice, I know all the patterns," White said. "On the floor, when I take a step with my left foot, I feel like from there -- because I don't know the patterns, I don't know what steps go from there or what shapes I can make -- I feel like I have an infinite amount of possibilities with every step.
"The amount of thinking that goes into each and every step ... it's an incredibly difficult thing. The frame always has to stay strong. The character of the dance, you throw that in, and with the time limit, it's a serious challenge, but that's where the work ethic comes into play. ... I can put my mind and body to work. That's what it takes to pull it off."
After next week's show, Davis, White and their dance partners -- who may or may not be Chmerkovskiy and Burgess, since viewers get to vote on whether they want to see celebrities change professional partners for week four -- hit the road with Stars on Ice.
They'll be back on set for show day on Monday, thoroughly enjoying all aspects that go into creating the show.
"Getting to know this cast ... is amazing for us," White said. "They're so into it and loving every minute of it. It's producing some really great dancing."