«Christopher Dean» - biography, albums, songs, video clips

Christopher Colin Dean, OBE (born 27 July 1958 in Calverton, Nottinghamshire) is a British ice dancer who won a gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics with his skating partner Jayne Torvill. They also won a bronze medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Early life

Dean grew up in Calverton, Nottinghamshire. When he was six, his mother left and another woman took her place. Dean never talked about this with his father or stepmother, both of whom have died. He has regained contact with his mother.

From 1974-1980, he was a police constable with Nottinghamshire Police.

Skating career

Christopher Dean began to skate at the age of 10 after he received a pair of skates as a Christmas present. His parents were keen ballroom dancers. At school he was captain of the football team and he saw ice skating as a sport that was athletic and graceful. Dean's first ice partner was Sandra Elson. They began skating together when he was 14 and competed as ice dancers for a few years. However, despite becoming British Junior Dance champions, the team parted, as Dean and Elson did not get along well. Dean then agreed to try out Jayne Torvill, another skater at the Nottingham rink. The pair were first coached by Janet Sawbridge but in 1978 Betty Callaway became their coach.

Dean left school at age 16 and joined the Nottingham Police Force in 1974. It was challenging for him to undergo police cadet training, as his schedule often clashed with his skating training sessions. Thus Torvill and Dean had to practise during his off-hours. These difficult times brought them closer and gave them a sense of discipline that was to prove vital throughout their career.

By 1980 Torvill and Dean had progressed to not only become British National Dance Champions but were in medal contention in international competitions as well. It was then that Chris realized he could no longer balance his skating and police careers, and he resigned from the police force. Torvill soon left her job as well. Dean also served as the chief choreographer for the Torvill and Dean team.

Torvill and Dean's free program at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, performed to the music of Maurice Ravel's Boléro, became world famous. They received nine 6.0 marks for artistic impression, (three more for technical merit for a total of twelve 6.0 marks) the highest possible score and the only time ever that an all-perfect score was achieved. It was one of the most popular achievements in the history of British sport, watched by a British television audience of 24 million people. Since the time limit was four minutes and ten seconds and their music was four minutes 28 seconds, they moved their bodies to the music for 18 seconds before starting to skate.

Torvill and Dean turned professional after their 1984 Olympic win. Under then existing Olympic Games rules as professionals they became ineligible to participate in Olympic competition. In 1993 the International Skating Union relaxed the rules for professional skaters, allowing the pair to participate in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer where they won a bronze medal.

Torvill and Dean were admitted to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1989.

In January 2006, Torvill and Dean began starring in the ITV show Dancing on Ice. Each year, the show runs from January to March and then goes on tour to arenas across the United Kingdom.

In January 2012, Dean said he was open to working with the National Ice Skating Association to help British competitive skating. Torvill and Dean were ambassadors for the 2012 European Figure Skating Championships in Sheffield, England. In February 2014, they visited Sarajevo for the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Olympics, and recreated their Bolero routine in the same arena where they won the gold.


Dean was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1999.

Personal life

Between 1991 and 1993 Dean was married to French-Canadian World ice dance champion Isabelle Duchesnay whom he met while choreographing for her and her brother Paul Duchesnay in the late 1980s.

On 15 October 1994, Dean married American skater Jill Trenary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have two sons, Jack Robert and Sam Colin, and resided in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dean's agent confirmed in March 2010 that the couple had separated. He and Trenary remain on good terms.

Dean also remained close friends with partner Jayne Torvill, although they did not skate together again until 2006.

In January 2011 it was confirmed that Dean is in an on-going relationship with Dancing On Ice judge Karen Barber.

He is a supporter of Nottingham Forest.

Competitive results

(Ice dancing with Torvill)

Amateur career

Event 1975–76 1976–77 1977–78 1978–79 1979–80 1980–81 1981–82 1982–83 1983–84 1993–94
Winter Olympics 5th 1st 3rd
World Champ. 11th 8th 4th 1st 1st 1st 1st
European Champ. 9th 6th 4th 1st 1st WD 1st 1st
NHK Trophy 1st
Nebelhorn 2nd 1st
Rotary/St. Ivel 2nd 1st 1st
St. Gervais 1st
Morzine Trophy 1st
John Davis Trophy 1st
Northern Champ. 1st
Sheffield Trophy 1st
British Champ. 2nd 3rd 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
WD = Withdrew

Professional career

Event 1984 1985 1990 1994 1995 1996
World Professional Championships 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
Challenge of Champions 1st 1st 1st
World Team Championship 3rd 1st 1st

The professional years 1984–1998, 2006–

Song of India 1984

  • Music: Rimsky-Korsakov

Encounter 1984

  • Music: “January Stars” written and performed by George Otis Winston
  • Known performance period 1984–1995
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes
  • Competition: World Professional Championships Washington 1984
    • Result: 1st (10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10.) Artistic piece
  • World Team Championship 1994
    • Result: 1st

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.

Heaven and Hell 1985 (Group Number)

  • Music: derived from the Seven Deadly Sins Ballet
  • Known performance period: 1985–1986
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: none known

A ten minute group number, with Torvill and Dean taking part in the Heaven section, dressing in cream-white outfits.

Venus 1985

  • Music: Gustav Holst (The Planet Suite)
  • Known performance period 1985–1986
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes
  • Competition: World Professional Championships Washington 1985
    • Result: 1st (10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10.)

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.

Jupiter 1985 (Group Number)

  • Music: Holst (The Planet Suite)
  • Known performance period: 1985–1986
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: none known

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).

Diablo Tango 1985

  • Music: ‘Valentino Tango’ Janko Nilovic
  • Known performance period 1985–1987
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes
  • Competition: World Professional Championships Washington 1985
    • Result: 1st (10, 10, 10, 10, 9.9, 9,9, 10.) Technical piece

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 1920’s outfit, complete with arm-length gloves and basin hat.

Shepherd’s Song 1986

  • Music: Baylero – A Shepherd’s Song from Songs of the Auvergne
  • Composer: Joseph Canteloube; Sung by Kiri Te Kanawa
  • Known performance period: 1986
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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.
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,

Bailero, lero, lero.”

The dance begins and ends most unusually, with the dancers lying entwined together asleep on the ice. The opening depicts 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, and 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.

Fire and Ice 1986

  • Music: Carl Davis
  • Written by: Tom Gutteridge
  • Directed by: Tom Gutteridge
  • Produced by: Nick Elliot
  • Produced and Filmed for LWT: 1986
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: Available on the Dancing on Ice 2006 DVD

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.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Medley 1987

  • Music: Irving Berlin: Stepping Out / Change Partners and Dance with Me / Cheek to Cheek / Putting on the Ritz/ Top Hat
  • Known performance period: 1987–1990
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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 “Putting 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.

Eleanor’s Dream 1987

  • Music: Eleanor Rigby – Paul McCartney
  • Known performance period 1987
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: None known

Little is known about this piece and it has never been released commercially and possibly never recorded. It was also created as one of their pieces for the 1987 Ice Capades Tour. In their autobiography Chris states that he actually passed on the dance for Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay to perform in 1988, stating 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.

"It's sort of our version of a dream sequence," says Dean, referring to their routine.
"And I'm Eleanor," Torvill says simply.
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...

Hat Trick 1987

  • Music: “Street Music” written and performed by William Russo
  • Known performance period 1987–1996
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes
  • Competition: Challenge of the Champions Innsbruck Austria 1990
    • Result: 1st
  • World Professional Championships Landover Maryland 1996
    • Result: 1st (Artistic Performance)

Also designed for the Ice Capades Tour, and continuing to be performed throughout the Russian All Stars Tour, this became their most enduring professional piece next to Encounter, entered for various professional competitions between 1990 and 1996 and regularly performed for audiences all over the world in various tours and special exhibitions. It even bred its own kind of full company sequel with Red Hat in the 1997 Stars on Ice Tour.

The premise of the dance is pure and very simple comedy almost of the Laurel and Hardy silent movie era – Chris owns a black hat but he spots a red hat which he sets out to claim, but Jayne literally cartwheels in the last minute and claims it for herself, leaving Chris to re-don his rather battered-looking old black hat. The rest of the dance sees the two dancers trick each other continually throughout the number into stealing the red hat and leaving the other with the black hat. This does not even stop at the end of the performance; instead they continue throughout the whole bow call until Chris leaves Jayne with both hats and walks off in disgust. Realising that she “really has done it now”, she mimes mock shock/concern and hurries off after him.

The dance is brilliantly carried out and relies on perfect timing between Torvill and Dean throughout, not only in the juggling of the hats while skating at speed but in the many varied moves they carry out.

Paganini 1987

  • Music: Nicolò Paganini
  • Known performance period 1987
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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.

Missing 1987

  • Music: Dolencias – Incantation
  • Known performance period 1987–1994
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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 1987

  • Music: Akhnation – Philip Glass
  • Known performance period 1987–1989
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: none known

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.

Ragtime Poker 1987

  • Music:
  • Known performance period 1987–1990
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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.

Snow Maiden 1987

  • Music: The Procession of the Tsar Berendy – Rimski-Koraskov
  • Known performance period 1987–1990
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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.

Echoes of Ireland 1989

  • Music:
  • Known performance period 1989–1992
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes
  • Competition: Challenge of the Champions Innsbruck Austria 1990
    • Result: 1st (10,10,10,10,10,10,10 – Artistic) (10,10,10,9.9,10,10,9.9 – Technical)

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- white dress with embroidered collar and sleeves and white apron for Jayne.

Revolution / Imagine 1989

  • Music: Revolution – The Beatles / Imagine – John Lennon
  • Known performance period 1989–1990
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes
  • Competition: World Professional Championships
    • Result: 1st (10,9.9,10,9.9,10,10,10)

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”.

Arc of the Bell 1989

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.

Iceworks / Tilt 1991

  • Music: Andy Shepherd
  • Known performance period: 1991
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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 completely for transmission as part of Omnibus in 1991, and achieved the highest viewing figures ever for the programme.

Skater’s Waltz 1992 (Group Number)

  • Music: Waldteufel
  • Known performance period: 1992
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: none known

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.

Stormy Weather 1992

  • Music: Harold Arien and Ted Koechier
  • Known Performance Period: 1992
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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.

Low Commotion 1992

  • Music: Ry Cooder
  • Known Performance Period: 1992
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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.

Drum Duet 1993

  • Music: Genesis
  • Known Performance Period: 1993
  • Versions available on video/DVD or internet: yes

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.

1994 onwards

  • In Trutina 1994
  • Paperback Writer 1994
  • In My Life 1994
  • Lucy in the Sky 1994
  • Cecelia 1995
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water 1995
  • Still Crazy 1995 (performed again in 1998 as their final dance before retiring)
  • Six Gestures 1996
  • Take Five 1996
  • Mumbo Jumbo 1997
  • Red Hat 1997
  • Winter Express 1997
  • Exotic Fish 1997
  • Jazz Fish 1997
  • Flying Fish 1997
  • The Hockey Event 1997
  • Only He Will Do 1997
  • New Year's Eve Final 1997
  • Still Crazy 1998
  • Lets Face the Music / Mack and Mabel / Barnum / Sing Sing Sing / Bolero tributes 2006
  • Viva Las Vegas 2006
  • Let Me Entertain You 2006
  • Foot Loose 2006
  • Angels 2006
  • It’s a Kind of Magic 2007
  • Imagine 2007
  • Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend 2007
  • I Like the Way You Move 2007
  • These Boots are made for Walking 2007
  • Shine 2007
  • Putting on the Ritz 2007
  • Moon Dance 2007
  • Over the Rainbow 2007
  • Bolero Unplugged 2007
  • Gold 2007
  • Get this Party Started (Shirley Bassey version) 2006
  • Feelin' Good 2008
  • World of our Own (Westlife) 2008
  • One (Jayne with ensemble) 2008
  • Fields of Gold 2008
  • Sixities Group Number 2008
  • Valerie 2008
  • Sway 2008
  • Footprints in the Sand 2008
  • Bolero revisited (with Julian Lloyd Webber) 2008
  • The Best is Yet to Come 2008
  • Swing with me baby 2009
  • From a distance (with Bette Midler) 2009
  • Wake me up (Group Number) 2009
  • Let it go (with Will Young) 2009
  • It's raining men (Group Number) 2009
  • Save the last dance 2009
  • Untouchable (with Girls Aloud) 2009
  • Guest judge on CBC's Battle of the Blades 2010


External links

Media related to Christopher Dean at Wikimedia Commons