Torvill and Dean happy to be back, breaking creative ice

December 07, 1990|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,Evening Sun Staff

They will skate to center ice during the World Professional Figure Skating Championships at the Capital Centre tomorrow night and a hush will fall over the house. They will be introduced as Torvill and Dean and anticipation will take over.

Torvill and Dean. These are but aliases. Better that Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean assume the more appropriate last names of Creativity and Innovation.

Two years these all-time greats have been waiting for just such an occasion. Dean explains: "When you do a show, as we've been doing for the last couple of years, creativity stops. You have to live with what you've prepared for that show, six days a week and seven shows. We enjoy doing new pieces."

An understatement. Perhaps more so than any other skaters ever, these Brits have pushed at what can be accomplished when finely honed blade is put to a sheet of ice.

It's the 1984 Winter Olympics. Torvill and Dean move to the strains of "Bolero" that any good dance official knows breaks every standing rule of the competition. Regardless, they can't help themselves as perfect 10s are registered across the board.

Subsequently, Dean choreographed the routines of the French team, the Duchesnays, for the 1988 Olympics. The skating fraternity won't soon forget the reaction to their jungle-inspired performance in Calgary: shock.

"My reaction to the reaction?" Dean says with a smile. "Vindication, I guess. The audiences loved it. And it gave them a tag. They took a risk and did something different. They could have played it safe and taken their position [in the standings]. Instead, now they're known as a team you can expect something creative out of."

Of their partnership, Jayne Torvill says, "We enjoy seeking out new ways to do something."

"At the same time, it's a challenge to find out what we can do," adds Dean. And he doesn't keep all those wild things shifting around in his head to himself, either.

He has choreographed the number the Soviet dance team of Natalia Annenko and Genrikh Sretenski will try to win with tomorrow night. Would that be a gig, the pupils beating the teachers? Forget it unless Annenko and Sretenski score a string of 11s.

"Another good thing about this and the show we do next week in Barcelona is it's not a long commitment. It gives us a platform to do something new, to experiment and move on," says Dean.

Two years they have been spoiling for the chance to unleash their unmatched creative juices. The audience, if not the competition, doesn't have a chance.

The combatants in men's singles of the competition getting under way at 7 p.m. are two-time defending champion Brian Boitano, past winner Robin Cousins, Brian Orser and Gary Beacom.

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