Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Backwards and on ice skates

Congratulations to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the young Canadians who won the gold medal in ice-dancing on Monday night...

I think they're just adorable--classy and elegant in a sport that is not necessarily known for those qualities, with a beautiful rapport while skating. The commentators made a big deal about this being the first time that a North American team has won the gold medal in ice-dancing, but the funny thing is that Virtue and Moir's skating seems to epitomize old-world European romanticism. I mean, they look like they should be gliding on the frozen Neva River through old St. Petersburg... meanwhile, the actual Russian team, who won the bronze medal, were the tackiest skaters in the competition!

I even found myself thinking of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers while watching Virtue and Moir skate. Partly because Tessa Virtue's costume reminded me of the gown Ginger wore for the "Never Gonna Dance" number in Swing Time: white, backless, with a low v-neck, criss-cross rhinestone straps, and floaty skirt.

I think this is my all-time favorite Rogers costume... and "Never Gonna Dance" is definitely my favorite Astaire-Rogers dance number. In fact, I semi-facetiously say that I am ill-equipped to deal with real life because I watched Swing Time too often at an impressionable age. I was obsessed with it when I was three, four, five years old. And somehow it made me believe that that was what adult life would be like: nightclubs with sparkling lacquer floors, gorgeous evening gowns every night of the week, gentlemen in tuxedos confessing that they loved me--sometimes with the easy grace of "Just the Way You Look Tonight," sometimes with the heartbreaking pathos of "Never Gonna Dance." And it's been a long, slow process to divest myself of those childish illusions.

And now, I bet that all across North America, little girls are forming unrealistic ideals of romance and beauty and grace after watching Virtue and Moir's ice-dancing performance. Lord love 'em for it.

1 comment:

Dr.J said...

Not that I´ve ever seen the point of ice-skating (probably because in my hometown snows once in fifty years) or why the marks are up to six points. Do you know "Austerlitz" by the late W.G.Sebald? there the narrator tells that the actual name of Astaire was Austerlitz, so he probably was translating the "old Europe" charm to Hollywood.