Torvill and Dean (Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean) are British ice dancers and former British, European, Olympic and World champions. At the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics the pair won gold and became the highest scoring figure skaters of all time (for a single programme) receiving twelve perfect 6.0s and six 5.9s which included artistic impression scores of 6.0 from every judge, after skating to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. Their performance was watched by a British television audience of more than 24 million people. The pair turned professional following the 1984 World Championships, regaining amateur status briefly ten years later in 1994 to compete in the Olympics once again. The pair retired from competitive skating for good in 1998 when they toured one last time with their own show, Ice Adventures, before rejoining Stars on Ice for one more season. Their final routine was performed to Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years", a routine they had devised a few years earlier for competition. Although remaining close friends, the pair did not skate together again until they were enticed out of retirement to take part in ITV's Dancing on Ice.
Both are from Nottingham, England, where the local National Ice Centre is accessed through a public area known as Bolero Square, in honour of the pair's Olympic achievements. There is also a housing estate in the Wollaton area of the city with a street named 'Torvill Drive' and another named 'Dean Close' which is located just off Torvill Drive, with many of the surrounding roads named after coaches and dances associated with the pair. In a UK poll conducted by Channel 4 in 2002, the British public voted Torvill and Dean's historic gold-medal-winning performance at the 1984 Winter Olympics as Number 8 in the list of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.
Around 1975, Jayne Torvill was a former British Junior Pairs champion, and Christopher Dean and his partner had won a British Junior Ice Dance competition. Nottingham coach Janet Sawbridge put them together, and shortly afterwards, they started their ice dancing history. They took their first trophy in 1976. They changed coaches to Betty Callaway in 1979. After a 5th-place finish at their first Olympic Games, in Lake Placid in the 1980 Winter Olympics, and 4th place in the Worlds that year, they never took lower than first place in any competition they entered except the 1994 Winter Olympics.
Singer-actor Michael Crawford was the fourth member of the team, along with their trainer. He became a mentor to them around 1981, and went on to help them create their 1983 and 1984 Olympic routines, and "taught them how to act". Crawford said of them, "I found them to be delightful young people, the kind you want to help if you can." (The Times November 1982). He was present with their trainer at the ringside, when the team won their perfect Olympics score with their Boléro routine. (Source: Torvill and Dean's 1996 autobiography partially cited at)
Although Torvill and Dean had been able to leave their jobs as an insurance book clerk and policeman, respectively—thanks to grants from the City of Nottingham—they were not allowed to earn any money from skating as long as they wished to remain eligible for the Olympics. Turning professional in 1984, they took advantage not only of the financial but of the artistic possibilities of their new status. They worked with Australian dance choreographer Graeme Murphy at first, and they were able to create not only routines for themselves but entire ice shows with a thematic coherence, which toured Australia, the U.S., and Europe. Their projects included a filmed fairy tale "Fire and Ice." In general, Dean would imagine the sequence he wanted to perform, and Torvill would work with him to refine it technically. They choreographed, as a team, for other ice dancers and skaters, particularly the Canadian brother–sister team Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay, who skated for France at the Albertville 1992 Winter Olympics, taking the silver medal with their West Side Story routine.
After ten years as professionals, Torvill and Dean decided to return to the amateur arena for the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway (along with other great skaters of the 1980s, such as Brian Boitano and Katarina Witt, following a change in eligibility rules). The couple moved to Hamar, Norway, in 1993 in order to practise at the Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre which hosted the figure skating events. Their free dance was designed to re-establish some of the ideas about ice dance which they themselves had been instrumental in dismantling; "Let's Face The Music and Dance" had no swooning lovers, theatrical accessories, or strong ideological message; instead, the emphasis was upon pure, light-hearted dance in the Astaire and Rogers tradition. The routine did have one move, an assisted lift, which pushed the envelope of the rules, though they had danced the routine at the European Championships with no indication from the judges of any problems. According to their joint autobiography, Facing the Music, the lift was technically legal because the rule prohibited lifts "above the shoulders," and the lift they used was not above the shoulders. The judges placed Torvill and Dean third, giving the second to perennial silver medalists Usova and Zhulin, and the gold medal to Grishuk and Platov, who continued to win gold through the next four years.
After the disappointing finish at Lillehammer, Torvill and Dean "retired from competitive skating" on 2 March 1994. Instead, they continued with their planned and very successful "Face the Music" tour, to be followed by numerous other projects: Dean choreographed a suite of dances to the songs of Paul Simon for the English National Ballet, professional competitions, touring with Stars on Ice, and collaborating with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and director Patricia Rozema on the video Inspired by Bach: Six Gestures. In late 1998, they produced an ice show at Wembley Stadium in London, "Ice Adventures," which included a "flying" ice ballet and other wonders. In the meantime, they were still choreographing, notably for the dynamic French Ice Dance team, Anissina and Peizerat, who won first place in the World Championships in 2000.
In 1998, the pair officially retired, each continuing to coach and choreograph separately. Since 2006, they have acted as coaches, choreographers and performers in ITV's Dancing on Ice and its Australian version Torvill and Dean's Dancing on Ice. The ITV show returned for a fifth series in January 2010. After the 2007 and 2008 UK series of Dancing on Ice, Torvill and Dean took the show on the road for a British tour; a similar tour, the "25th Anniversary" (of their Sarajevo Olympic success) took place in 2009.
In 2014, Torvill and Dean returned to Sarajevo to dance the Bolero one more time, celebrating the 30 year anniversary of their Olympics performance. Invited by the mayor of Sarajevo ahead of the Youth Olympic Games in 2017, the event helped raise funds for a permanent ice rink and reminded the world of their efforts to bring back the Olympics to Sarajevo. 2015 saw Torvill and Dean make their pantomime début at the Manchester Opera House, performing in "Cinderella".
After winning the 1981 World Figure Skating Championships (which brought the distinction of MBEs), and with three more years before the Olympics, they began to plan routines which used a single piece of music and had some narrative or thematic element. At that time, Ice Dance "long" routines typically used several pieces of music, often with different rhythms to show off the command of different steps (thus their Free Dance in 1981 used "Fame", "Caravan", "Red Sails in the Sunset", and "Sing, Sing, Sing"); the Original Set Pattern dance used only one piece of music, but the entire routine had to be performed three times in sequence, exactly the same way. In 1982, they presented a long programme to the overture from the musical Mack and Mabel, which evoked the emotions of a sweet but stormy romance; at the World Championships in 1983, they enacted a visit to the circus with music from Barnum, a performance which brought them the honour of receiving the world's first perfect score, with help from the stage show's star, Michael Crawford; in 1984, at the Olympics, they stunned the world with Boléro, and also with their dramatic Paso Doble (Capriccio Espagnol) short routine, in which Torvill was the bullfighter's cape. They had learned to choose and edit music carefully and design routines that were appealing both technically and imaginatively, and their completeness of presentation included thematically appropriate costumes.
In 1989, during the duo's visit to Australia, they recorded an album Here We Stand, produced by Kevin Stanton with arrangements by Warwick Bone and Derek Williams, and recorded while Christopher Dean was laid up in Sydney, recuperating from a torn ligament. Sales of the album were poor, and this may have been due to the fact that the album featured the dancers singing the material ghosted by backing vocalists, instead of the music they danced to, however it survives on iTunes.
Torvill and Dean's 1984 Olympic free dance was skated to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. Ravel's original Boléro composition is over 17 minutes long. Olympics rules state that the free dance must be four minutes long (plus or minus ten seconds). Torvill and Dean went to a music arranger to condense Boléro down to a "skateable" version. However, they were told that the minimum time that Boléro could be condensed down to was 4 minutes 28 seconds, 18 seconds in excess of the Olympics rules. Torvill and Dean reviewed the Olympic rule book and found that it stated that actual timing of a skating routine began when the skaters started skating. Therefore, they could use Boléro if they did not place their skates' blades to ice for the first 18 seconds. They timed the performance so that when Torvill first placed a blade on the ice, they would have the maximum skating time remaining.
|Winter Olympic Games||5th||1st||3rd|
|St Ivel International||1st||1st|
|John Davis Trophy||1st|
|Rotary Watches Competition||2nd|
|1979||Slaughter on Tenth Avenue||Evergreen|
|1980||Sing Sing Sing etc.|
|1981||Fame etc.||History of Love (version 1)|
|1982||Summertime||Mack and Mabel||The Hop, Kiss Me Kate, Fast Tap|
|1983||Rock n Roll||Barnum||Putting on the Ritz|
|1984||Paso Doble||Boléro||I Won’t Send Roses|
|1994||History of Love (version 2)||Let’s Face the Music||Boléro|
|World Professional Championships||1st||1st||1st||1st||1st|
|Challenge of Champions||1st||1st||1st|
|World Team Championship||3rd||1st||1st|
|World Professional Championships||Song of India, Encounter||Diablo Tango, Venus||Oscar Tango, Revolution/Imagine||Still Crazy After All These Years, Cecilia||Take Five, Hat Trick|
|Challenge of Champions||Echoes of Ireland||Still Crazy After All These Years, Cecilia||Take Five, Hat Trick|
|World Team Championships||Let’s Face the Music, Encounter||Bridge Over Troubled Water, Cecilia||Sarabande, Hat Trick|
Designed in Autumn 1984 for the World Professional Championships held in December 1984 (source Facing the Music: 1995:148).
The piece was choreographed jointly between Jayne and Chris together with Graeme Murphy, Artistic Director with the Sydney Dance Company at the time. The costumes consisted of both Jayne and Chris wearing billowing orange/red trousers with brief top pieces adorned with India jewels. The piece consists of a tremendous amount of drawn-out lifts, twisting, intertwining, and even sitting and rolling on the ice to create a balletic piece which they describe at evoking Indian sculptures.
The piece was first performed at the 1984 Royal Variety Show in London, before going on to win with straight 10s at the 1984 World Professional Championships. An extended Company version of the dance was devised for the 1985/1986 World Tour. It is also known to have been performed again for the one-off televised production with the Russian All Stars at the Luzhniki rink in Moscow in 1987.
The piece contains a unique move of immense technical balance, design, and strength, whereby Dean lifts Torvill feet-first, allowing her to take hold of his lower calf. He then lifts his one leg back with Torvill held horizontal across his body as he completes the lift gliding forward on one leg. The obvious difficulty and stunning symmetry of the lift made it quite a show stopper, and they can be seen to repeat the lift during the 1993 Skates of Gold Exhibition in Boston USA when they take to the ice with their peers from their amateur period: Marina Klimova & Sergei Ponomarenko, and Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin. Dean and Torvill showed that the years have done nothing to detract from their skill, strength and balance when they incorporated the same lift into a re-worked version of Bolero for the 2007 series of Dancing on Ice.
Encounter runs at over six minutes and was for Torvill and Dean their most enduring professional performance, winning them the World Professional Championships in 1984 and known to be used as performance piece until 1987. They resurrected the piece in 1994 to win at the World Team Championships. It is last known to have been performed at Wembley for the Face the Music World Tour filmed in June 1995.
The theme of the piece involves two people who walk past each other in the street, notice each other, do a double take, and instantly fall in love. What follows is a brief encounter of two people very much in love but destined to be apart. The costumes were minimalist and unobtrusive, in keeping with the understatedness of the piece, consisting in the 1980s of a small sleek light grey-blue dress for Torvill cut like a mini-skirt and a silver-grey outfit for Dean. When Encounter was performed in the 1990s, Torvill wore a dress designed to look identical to the original, while Dean now wore shirt and trousers to match the colour of Torvill's outfit exactly.
A ten-minute group number, with Torvill and Dean taking part in the Heaven section, dressing in cream-white outfits.
This dance was devised as part of their first World Tour, and formed their number in the Planet Suite, with various members of the Company performing the other planet pieces and the whole company performing Jupiter.
The premise of Venus is that Jayne is the Goddess of Love looking after the world (source Facing the Music: 1995:167). The world is actually physically represented in the piece by large globe lit up inside and suspended by a wire (controlled by a boom operator) orbiting Torvill and Dean throughout the dance. The opening of the number was most unusual, consisting of an immensely tall Jayne skating on in a large voluminous cloak and sending the globe/sphere into orbit. Chris was in fact concealed within the cloak, lifting Jayne throughout the opening sequence, to then be revealed as the dance begins. The dance is extremely graceful, with many unusual lifts and intricate moves. The costumes were white, with Jayne wearing a white headscarf adorned with a gold coronet.
The dance was used as the artistic piece for the 1985 World Championships which they won for the second year in a row.
The spectacular finale piece for Torvill and Dean’s first World Tour involving Torvill and Dean spinning like heavenly bodies with half a dozen fliers around them in orbit on wires. At the end, all the lights would go off except for ultraviolet, leaving them apparently spinning in space (source Facing the Music: 1995:167).
Another dance devised as part of their first World Tour, and also used to win as the technical piece in the 1985 World Professional Championships.
This dance was Torvill and Dean’s first real venture into humour. Later notable comic dances would be Hatrick, Low Commotion, and Trunk Tango, but this remains arguably the most slapstick. Dean’s costume is Spanish in appearance, reflecting the Spanish music, consisting of an open-neck white shirt with a loose black tie, black trousers, and a large purple sash around his waist. Jayne is in a black 1920s' outfit, complete with arm-length gloves and basin hat.
This dance was designed specifically for the 1986 Sports Aid Gala, the proceeds of which went to causes in need in Africa. It is not clear whether it was ever performed again thereafter, but the photo caption on page 76 of Fire on Ice (Wilson:1994) suggests that it was then incorporated into the World Tour, at least for its next visit to Wembley.
The lyrics are in fact those of a very simple old folk song depicting a Shepherd and Shepherdess calling to each other across mountain pastures. The booklet with the CD "A La Francaise" gives the following translation of the song:
“Shepherd, across the water, you are scarcely having a good time,
Sing bailero, lero, lero.Bailero, lero, lero.”
Scarcely, and you?
Sing bailero, lero.
Shepherd, how do I get over there, there’s a big stream, sing bailero, lero.
Wait, I’ll came and get you,
The dance begins and ends most unusually with the dancers lying entwined together asleep on the ice. The opening depicting daybreak and the end nightfall. In the reverse of Bolero, it is Dean who steps onto the ice first and brings Jayne to her feet. The dance is highly balletic, with operatic movements incorporated. At one point in the dance Torvill and Dean encircle each other catching hold of each other's ice skate in constant succession creating a very beautiful, intricate and highly technical fluid movement. The costumes are very simple, with Torvill in white and Dean in a loose fitting armless shirt piece and brown trousers with white leg ties.
Torvill and Dean devised Fire and Ice in Australia with Graeme Murphy, sold it to LWT (London Weekend Television – part of ITV). It was written by Tom Gutteridge and Carl Davis and rehearsed and filmed in Germany ready for its UK television premier in Christmas 1986.
Fire and Ice is a full length company piece creating narrative ballet on ice. Set between the Planet of Fire and the Planet of Ice, it tells of a love story between a Prince of Fire and a Princess of Ice. It is a full set piece with visual designs and effects depicting different locations on the two planets and telling the story. The piece opens with Dean performing actually ballet within the catacombs of the Plant of Fire, while seeing Torvill in the blue flames of their altar. Upon diving in, he finds himself upon her planet. He meets her and, after taking some time to adapt to her planet, they fall in love. She gets called away to a Royal Ceremony but she rejoins him later. The following morning they are discovered and a violent attack is carried out on the Fire Prince by her own people. She pleads with her father to have mercy on him but he banishes her from his sight and the Fire Prince is left trapped in a prison of ice. Later the Ice Princess sneaks back to him and melts the ice with all her strength, leaving her close to death. The Fire Prince revives her and they are together once more. Meanwhile, the Prince’s own people have witnessed his fate in the flames and have arrived on the Planet of Ice. A war breaks out which ends in the death of both the Prince’s and Princess’s fathers. Devastated and alone, they find each other once more and grieve. As time heals their wounds and their love endures, a distant archway appears towering over the icy mountains. We watch them make their journey towards the arch and finally enter and make their break for freedom and a new life together.
Released all over the world on video and DVD, the production is unique in Torvill and Dean’s repertoire – their feature film. The piece contains many dances between the two of them, some of them comic (including one where Dean is actually wearing ordinary shoes on the ice as he is learning to adapt), some of them romantic and passionate, and some of them highly dramatic, including dancing separately with the company dancers representing the people from their respective planets. For the most part, Dean wears a costume almost identical in design to his Song of India costume, only this time, rather than being red and orange, this one is red and burgundy, representing his fiery origins. Torvill wears an Ice Queen costume complete with crown, silver hair, and silver blue dress cut like icicles at the bottom.
This medley of Irving Berlin numbers danced in tribute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was devised for the brief tour Torvill and Dean did with the Ice Capades in 1987, but continued as the final number throughout their long Russian All Stars Tour into 1990. For costumes Chris wore full white tie, waistcoat, and tails, while Jayne wore a flowing near full-length blue dress complete with blue feather boa. Although neatly choreographed with spectacular music and lighting effects, it was arguably not as evocative of Fred and Ginger or as technically accomplished as the amazing "Puttin' On the Ritz" routines that they performed at the Skate Canada Amateur exhibition in 1982. One impressive component however was the incorporation of tap steps on ice during the middle of the routine. During the All Stars Tour (and possibly the Ice Capades as well) they kept to a similar theme for the final bow, skating on with the company to I Got Rhythm.
Little is known about this piece and it has never been released commercially and possibly never recorded. It was created as one of their pieces for the 1987 Ice Capades Tour. In their autobiography, Dean states that he passed on the dance for Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay to perform in 1988, and that the dance was about the relationship between a boy and a girl, with the boy breaking in upon the woman’s dreams
Excerpt taken from: Torvill and Dean: Romancing the Ice – Ice Cycles 1988
Both Dean and Torvill seem eager for responses to their new routines in the show and gratified with the verdict that everything is just great, with special accolades going to "Eleanor Rigby". It was their newest routine and it's a very interesting version of the song, undertaken with Paul McCartney, having little relation to the earlier Beatles recording. The version used was from the soundtrack of McCartney's film Give My Regards to Broad Street. Dean and Torvill hated the movie but really liked that version of the song.
Torvill is the fragile title character, clad in muted white with pastel tones across the costume. He is a kind of dream lover to her, dressed in mostly black; he is both exciting and dangerous. She fears him, but she wants him too, and eventually her desire overcomes her fear. That is ultimately her undoing, as he twirls her round and round his body and she can do nothing but be manoeuvred at this will. It ends with her in a crucifix form across his back as he carries her off into the fog. She was right to fear him after all...
- "It's sort of our version of a dream sequence," says Dean, referring to their routine.
- "And I'm Eleanor," Torvill says simply.
Paganini is a full Company Ballet choreographed by Tatiana Tarasova, with Torvill and Dean, together with lead dancer Yuri Ovchinikov as the leads. The performance consists of many highly balletic dances between Torvill and Dean and a few solo performances with the other company members present on the ice. The piece does evoke traditional Russian ballet and both Torvill and Dean perform extremely well throughout with many beautiful and unique moves. The costumes are simple – Chris in a flamboyant white shirt piece and Jayne all in white, very similar to, if not the same as, as her costume in Shepherd’s Song. Originally filmed and performed for the one-off televised production with the Russian All Stars at the Luzhniki rink in Moscow in 1987, it is not clear whether it became a permanent part of the Russian All Stars Tour, but it seems likely that it was performed in at least the first five months of the Tour. It is not clear whether another company performance they were working on under Chris’s choreography at the time, La Ronde, was ever completed or performed. It would appear that it was probably disbanded and replaced with Akhnaton.
Excerpt taken from Torvill and Dean’s autobiography:
Tatiana wanted to do a story of Paganini, portraying two sides to his character. Niccolo Paganini was many things: the greatest violin virtuoso of the last century, a composer, the megastar of his day, and romantic adventurer devoured by melancholy. He had seemed to Tatiana to be a perfect hero for Russian – a soul in conflict with himself. Yuri Ovchinikov would be dancing Paganini’s crazy persona, Chris dancing the creative one, with Jayne as the great man’s muse. Neither of us took to the number, but restrained ourselves for the sake of a peaceful life.
Performed to South American music, this routine was always very dimly lit for performance, giving the impression of two people on the run, traveling at night and contending with the elements. Chris wears grey-brown trousers and shirt, with Jayne in a simple one-colour burnt red dress. The symmetry in this dance is stunning, particularly the spinning moves created specifically to demonstrate the despair of the dancers/characters. They performed this throughout the Russian All Stars Tour and at various exhibitions including the 1990 Sports Aid Gala and recreated it in 1994 for the American Artistry on Ice documentary.
Excerpt taken from Torvill and Dean’s autobiography (Facing the Music: 1995:201):
One thing that required our attention was Chris’s response to some Andean music, which reminded him of the terrible things – particularly the officially sanctioned kidnappings – that had been happening in Chile and Argentina in recent years. The subject was very much in the air after the Falklands War, and more recently the Costa Gavras movie, Missing. Chris saw in his mind those who had vanished, the fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, lovers, friends and children, and devised a series of movements linking two people who could be seen as friends or brother and sister, confronting authority, cowering before it, searching for lost loved ones, and ending where they started, in limbo.
Akhnaton is another company performance devised for the Russian All Stars Tour that was never commercially released on film, and no known copies exist. The costumes were of traditional Egyptian royalty design. The piece received good reviews including repeated praise in the New York Times, and they refer to the piece regularly in their autobiography.
Excerpt taken from Torvill and Dean’s autobiography:
Chris had been interested for a while in ancient Middle Eastern history, and on a trip to London immersed himself in the Egyptian room of the British Museum. He liked the feel of the mythology, Isis and Osiris, Pharaoh as god, the idea of dying as rebirth into the real world, the richness of the funerary ornamentation, all that gold lapis lazuli, the stylised poses in the paintings, the hieroglyphics, and in particular the love story of Akhnaton and his queen Nefertiti. Then by chance we came across the CD of a new opera by Philip Glass, called, of all things Akhnaton. This is not exactly top ten material – minimalist style, vastly long phrases of repeated notes, but in mood just what Chris was looking for. All we needed was to reduce a three-hour epic to 30 minutes. To do that demanded total immersion in the story and imagery. It was an odd thing to do, which involved some long negotiations on our behalf with Philip Glass himself.
The dance opened with a strong image to seize and hold the audience. A huge pyramid of silk, 25-foot square at its base, was being admired by modern tourists. Suddenly, a line attached to the top whipped the pyramid up and away, revealing the world of ordinary Egyptians in the 14th century BC, all in skirts and sandal-like skates. Chris as the Pharaoh made his entry carried on a throne, which led into a love sequence with Jayne as Nefertiti, then a rebellion by the people and a royal death, leaving Jayne/Nefertiti in mourning.
Widely available on the Russian All Stars video realised in 1990, the group number involved the whole company dressed up as a pack of cards – representing different suits, numbers, and court characters. It is a very lighthearted piece with little substance and was clearly provided as accessible comic relief from the other more demanding group pieces. Jayne and Chris come on at the end with the spades. Each dancer carries a large representing card, Jayne’s is the Queen of Spades and Chris’s is the King. Jayne skates mainly with the female skaters in a group with Chris joining them, defending them from the comic advances of the Joker in the pack. Chris wears black trousers, white shirt and waistcoat, with a sparkly red bowtie and jacket with gold lapels. Jayne has a very short flashy red dress with a spade in the middle.
Presumably designed at the beginning of the All Stars Tour, though possibly not until later in the run, this is something of a forgotten masterpiece, even though it has always been available on the Russian All Stars video. Both are dressed in shiny white outfits with blue and mauve embroidery. The ice is lit a wintry blue and the movements take full advantage of the images of Husky-drawn sleighs, winter pageants, and snow-covered landscapes that the music evokes so successfully. The dance is immensely fast and yet graceful at the same time. It actually begins in a static lift already posed as the lights go up, and it contains many large lifts from then on. Jayne leaps effortlessly onto Chris’s shoulders on a number of occasions and, in one move, even leaps all the way round him, going above his head, with seemingly very little assistance (they later incorporated this move into Mack and Mabel for their Face the Music Tour in the mid '90s). It contains many symmetrical dance steps and large sweeping arm gestures, with a succession of impressive lifts and a series of symmetrical jumps and leaps carried out in perfect unison with each other, giving the impression of animals running through the forest. Unique to this dance is a series of two symmetrical steps where they literally leap high into the air together but leaning forward with their inside leg bent as they plunge back to the ground, putting their outside leg straight out behind them. The move actually makes them look like two stags leaping and bounding and thrusting their antlers forward. The piece ends with Jayne throwing herself onto Chris, who bends with Jayne balanced on his knees and allows himself to fall flat on to his back, ending with Jayne suspended in the air held up by Chris, forming a dramatic and very beautiful final tableau as Chris continues to glide across the ice on his back. Hi grace
Devised initially as one of the new extra pieces for the second leg of the Russian All Stars Tour, this piece went on to be performed for competition to win the World Professional Championships in 1990, and they were still performing a section of it by their 1992 Ukrainian Tour. In the 1992 “Simply the Best” documentary, Chris states “in Echoes of Ireland we visited the country to get an idea of the people and their music before we choreographed this piece for the ice”. The finished piece is actually an ensemble of three quite separate routines, which they later performed in different orders or simply on their own. The first is a tradition lighthearted Irish jig with some very clever footwork. The second is a more sombre dance done to older tradition Irish Folk music. The third piece is a more modern piece, a very beautiful new age number done to a song sung by an Irish female artist. This final dance includes an unusual lift where Jayne jumps up and sits high upon one of Chris’s shoulders facing the opposite way from him. The costumes consist of brown trousers, cream shirt, yellow neckerchief, and green-check waistcoat for Chris, and an off-orange dress with embroidered collar and sleeves and white apron for Jayne.
Performed during the latter half of the All Stars Tour and also used to win the 1990 World Professional Championships, this piece is very different from any other they performed. It was highly technical, physically demanding with a lot of high and drawn-out lifts, and visually very impressive. True to the style of the music, Revolution is extremely fast-paced and performed with an aggression that neither had displayed before. The movements express violence, dissent, anguish, and entrapment. The costumes were very sophisticated in style: Chris wore back trousers, white open-necked shirt, and a smart black and purple waistcoat, while Jayne wore black trousers and a voluminous white silk blouse. What was particularly unusual about Jayne’s costume was that she actually wore black skates to blend right in with her trousers. While Chris always wore skates the dominant colour of his costume, even when in trousers Jayne rarely did, consistently skating in white skates in nearly all routines.
Excerpt taken from Torvill and Dean’s autobiography (Facing the Music: 1995:227–228):
Revolution was most ambitious. Its inspiration was a Montréal dance group we had seen in Sydney with the odd name of La La La Human Steps, whose rapid, machine-gun, staccato movements were unlike anything we had seen before. Chris thought the technique might be adapted for the ice, if we replaced the dancers’ lifts and throws with quick-fire upper-body movements. It was long, fast and very testing, not only of our abilities as dancers, but also as actors, in particular Jayne, who had to go completely against character, with vicious movements and displays of anger. That was new, not only for her: nobody to our knowledge had done anything like this on ice before.
In the 1991 Blade Runners documentary Jayne says:
“I didn’t like Revolution at first because I’m not an aggressive person, so it was good that he pushed it because it brought out another side of me – another character that I could portray”. Chris then goes on to explain the theme of the piece, and explains how it leads into imagine and why the perform the two pieces together: “the idea is of it’s a young couple that have been married for a few years and it’s not that fairytale life of happiness. Which happens to a lot of people – that something goes wrong and tension builds and anger grows within that. And I wanted to put that onto the ice – this raw aggression – and overstate it – so that, for people sitting right the way back, it becomes literal though body. But it follows on in a sort of resolve – not necessarily a happy ending – it then goes into Imagine. Maybe there is something else, maybe there is a compromise or at least an understanding of their situation. They may not get back together or it may not be resolved but they’ve analysed that they have a problem and maybe there is something to work towards and achieve a happier solution”.
Music: Arvo Part Known performance period 1989–1990 Versions available on video/DVD or internet: none known
Little is known of this piece other than it is a modern piece by composer Arvo Part (source: Facing the Music: 1995:227). It has never been commercially available and no footage has come to light on the internet. It was the third routine designed in 1989 for the second leg of the Russian All Stars Tour.
When Torvill and Dean decided to compete professionally again in 1990, they used three pieces already designed for both the Ice Capades and the Russian All Stars, but Oscar Tango was the one new piece specifically designed as the technical routine for the World Professional Championships, which they went on to win. The piece is entirely unique in that the first minute and a half is skated in total silence, with the music only beginning after this time. In that time Jayne and Chris stamp out a series of extremely precise, sharp, and fast tango steps entirely separately from each other, but in complete unison and perfect split-second timing. In the “Story So Far...” video released in 1996, Chris explains that “the movements in the silence represent the typical tango, but as the music begins we wanted to express the inner feelings of these two dancers”. However, it could also be interpreted that they are dancing with other partners during the silence (both hold a stance as if miming holding an invisible partner) for whom they feel no connection, only to lose all rigidity when they find each other, instead experiencing total connection, fluidity of movement, and emotion through dancing with each other. The costumes were a patterned blend of sky, royal, and navy blues starting light at the top and getting gradually darker. A lot of new moves were created for this piece, many of which they would call upon again throughout the routines they devised from 1994–1998. This included a whole series of moves that were lifted direct from Oscar Tango and placed within the Olympic version of ‘Lets Face the Music’, moves that were to be repeated in ‘In My Life’, and a highly strenuous move whereby Chris lifts Jayne upside down and she puts her legs vertically in the air high above his head before swinging them back down to lie vertically across Chris balancing on his bent knees. This move was used again in ‘In Trutina’ during their 1995–96 World Tour and again for ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ also devised in 1995. They created the move once more in 2006, this time incorporating it into their shortened and redesigned version of Bolero.
In 1990, the BBC programme Omnibus approached Torvill and Dean to do a programme on their choreography. The documentary focused on how their choreography had advanced during their professional years, away from the rigid rules of amateur competition, focusing on the comic performance of Hat Trick, the political expression of Missing, the technical accomplishment of Oscar Tango, and the stylistic performance of Revolution / Imagine. The documentary also scored a first by persuading Chris and Jayne to produce an entirely new dance especially for it. The piece was named Iceworks for the documentary but later named Tilt when performed at events. As a televisual piece Iceworks was able to have dry ice effects, an artistic backdrop, and highly evocative lighting effects. The up-and-coming Jazz composer Andy Sheppard was asked to compose an entirely new piece of music specifically for the routine, and Chris worked closely with him on the composition process. The music was derived initially by blending saxophone with the sound of Chris and Jayne’s blades gliding across the ice; thereafter a beat kicks in together with a slightly ethereal simple tune. The costumes consisted of matching (though not identical) all-in-one tight-fitting pieces consisting of a mix of pastel colours: yellow, pink, mauve, and blue.
Designing this dance was fraught with difficulty for both Chris and Jayne:
“I couldn’t relate to the stark, modern music that had been commissioned by the Omnibus people. To be frank, I couldn’t understand Chris’s ideas for the music, couldn’t understand what he was trying to get me to do” (source: Facing the Music: 1995:227–228). They were working to a tight deadline for the programme but in the end the pressure became too much and the programme was delayed with the BBC’s agreement. Jayne took a two-week break with her just-married husband Phil Christensen before returning to start work with Chris on Oscar Tango. Iceworks was later completed for transmission as part of Omnibus in 1991, and achieved the highest viewing figures ever for the programme.
This was the opening number of the 1992 Best of Torvill and Dean Tour that they performed with a Ukrainian ice dancing company. Only a small clip of it is known to be available on the internet, so not an awful lot is known about the dance except that it is a group number with Torvill and Dean performing with the whole company. Their costumes in this piece are possibly their most unusual of any of their performances. Jayne wears a white fur hat and a blue velvet dress with white fur finish and ornate and decorative gold ties and buttons pattern in the middle. Chris similarly wears a blue velvet top piece with the same gold effect, white trousers with a single blue stripe on each leg, and a velvet blue jacket with fur finish slung over his shoulder throughout the routine. The final section of this show had a weather theme, and the final bow call was done to Over the Rainbow which has the whole company skate on, with Torvill and Dean arriving last to take their bow last with the whole company.
A love-on-the-rocks number, with similarities in theme to Revolution, but this piece is more suggestive of heartbreak and rejection, possibly that of a couple going through divorce or the discovery of an affair or some other deception. Chris wears the same pale grey-blue outfit that he wears for the later performances of Encounter, while Jayne wears a stunning silky grey-silver dress that swirls out at the bottom and genuinely does conjure an image of storm clouds. It is a very fluid piece with a lot of swinging motions.
Another unique piece where Chris and Jayne really experiment with a new type of music and a very different type of footwork. The routine is very fast and demanding, including a section where they skate backwards away from each other and back in a series of three, each time bringing their inside blades within inches of each other, relying on absolutely perfect judgement. Many of Torvill and Dean’s routines involve the display of one particular move three times in a row and this routine plays a joke on this concept when Chris flips Jayne over 360 twice in a row, with Jayne flipping Chris the third time and then flexing her muscles at the audience. They perform the routine in Texas-style barn dance costumes, both in straw hat and blue denim dungarees, Jayne with a red and white check lumberjack shirt, pigtails, and freckles, and Chris wearing a neckerchief. In the 1992 Simply the Best documentary Jayne explains that the characters are based loosely on those in The Tales of Tom Sawyer. The dance is extremely fast, but then when the music peters out at the end, the dancers seem to lose interest or even remember what they were doing and they just stroll off the ice. There was a company piece called Hoedown which either preceded or followed this routine, but it is not clear whether or not Torvill and Dean were actually in the group number.
This was the last new routine that they choreographed before they began work on their Olympic routines. The costumes are extremely colourful and deliberately clashing. Torvill wears pink leggings, red shirt, and orange waistcoat, and Dean wears blue trousers, purple, pink, and blue shirt, and garish blue waistcoat. The music is a series of drumbeats/percussion to which they skate in a long series of intricate steps at speed across the ice. This includes a lot of fast backwards sections, separate jumps, twists, and turns in complete unison. The piece was designed for their stint as guest artists on the Tom Collins Tour of World Figure Skating Champions.
Torvill and Dean have performed several times during each TV series.
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