Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Magic of Torvill and Dean

Torvill and Dean are widely regarded as the best ice dancers in history and arguably the greatest skaters in history for their combination of artistry, creativity and technique. Long before ice dance became all about twizzles and performing lifts with a stop watch, dancers created difficulty by skating close together, changes of holds and the intricacy of steps.

Torvill and Dean were masters of innovation and storytelling.

For their second world title, Torvill and Dean performed 'Mack and Mabel,' a free dance about the silent film era.

The next year, they performed 'Barnum,' a free dance expressing the theme of the circus.

While 'Bolero' was the most famous piece, many felt that their Paso Doble was actually their strongest dance in 84.

Bolero left the world spellbound in Sarajevo.

After continuing to invent, improve and entertain for a decade, Torvill and Dean reinstated under the Boitano rule and were the world eagerly anticipated their return to competition. Torvill and Dean skated professionally during a time when they were certainly not "out of sight" or "out of mind." Their tours and presence at professional competitions sold out arenas around the globe.

Torvill and Dean's rumba from Lillehammer ('History of Love') may indeed be their finest dancer. It was emotional, romantic, difficult and mesmerizing.

Despite their victory in the original dance, Torvill and Dean were only awarded the bronze in '94 in one of the great highway robberies in the history of the sport. The ISU used Torvill and Dean for TV ratings and advised them on what they wanted in the free dance and suggested they make changes between the European Championships and the Olympic Games. After doing as they were instructed, the ISU judges gave the most successful professionals in history (and skating's most heralded stars) a giant middle finger upon their return to competition. Judges would later claim that Torvill and Dean arguably violated a rule with the final somersault Jayne performs over Chris' head despite the glaring rule-violating of Grishuk and Platov who skated apart for periods far greater than was permissible.


  1. YESSSSSSS. That '94 rhumba is still FTMFW, ad infinitum.

    (Sit yo' self-roofy'd ass down, Pasha.)

  2. That rumba was smokin hot

  3. I can still remember how shocked I felt after it became apparent that they weren't going to win the gold in 1994. I stopped watching ice dancing for a few years after that.

  4. Where do you think they'd place today?

  5. I honestly think they'd win under any system. Jayne and Chris look like good twizzlers.

  6. The fact that they did not win in 1994 with no obvious errors showed how corrupt the system was. It is interesting that ice dancing has made negative progress since they left the sport. Interesting really. Neither of the top two teams today could touch torvil and dean.

  7. Virtue and Moir and Marlie are both very good teams. They could be competitive with Torvill and Dean, but I don't know if they'd win. Torvill and Dean were strong all-around. We don't know about their twizzles. Ice Dance is so different now with all of the combination lifts, but I venture to say that Torvill and Dean would manage to adapt to the new system just fine.

  8. That paso doble is just so freakin cool. They never drop the theme, not for one movement. Strange that there were no lifts, but I never tie of that one!

  9. Highway robbery, indeed. I also stopped watching ice dancing for several years after that travesty, until Anissina and Peizerat sucked me back in with "Romeo and Juliet" at the '98 Olympics.

    It's only the last couple years that I've finally been able to step back and appreciate Grishuk and Platov and Usova and Zhulin again.

  10. "one of the great highway robberies in the history of the sport." I can only agree.

    Are "History of Love" and "Let's Face the Music" available on DVD?