Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean were the British ice dancing couple who in 1994, at the European Championships introduced me to the unique world of figure skating. They had returned after a hiatus of a decade from amateur competitions to re-claim the Olympic gold in Lillehammer. They were ranked first after their original program, and became third after the free dance. It was, for me, a severe disappointment… to this day I believe that the artistry, the precision of the compulsory elements and the glamorous style was unprecedented, and is still unbeatable. I have been watching figure skating ever since… but not one ice dancing pair managed to reach the heights of emotion Chris and Jayne reached with most of their routines.
Their most famous one, the Bolero, will forever stand the test of time, and, I’m sorry Evan Lysacek, but your choreographer has failed to grasp the gist of the piece, the fact that there is no build-up simply destroys the original piece of art, and it becomes a fast, loud, and pointless marathon of movements. (I am, by the way, a true fan of Evan Lysacek.)
Encounter is my favourite piece by Chris and Jayne… for so many reasons. I first heard the melody by George Winston on the radio, years before, I instantly fell in love with it but they gave no composer. I had been looking for it for such a long time- and then come these two and perform this incredible routine which is more like a two-character mini-play/ballet than an ice dance program. I fall in love with the routine each time I see it. And January stars (from the album Winter into spring) will always be one of the most haunting, gripping melodies ever composed for the piano.