Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, the British, European, Olympic and World champion figure skaters, are widely regarded as the UK’s most famous and successful ice dancers of all time. But before 1984 they were relatively unknown until they performed their now world famous routine at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. The breathtaking four minute performance won them a standing ovation, a gold medal and a record breaking score of twelve perfect sixes launching the skaters to stardom, making Torvill and Dean household names.
The pair skated together for the very first time in 1975 when they were paired up by their coach and began winning competitions almost immediately. Before becoming professional ice skaters, the pair had to fit their demanding ice skating practice and competition schedule around their careers since Jayne was an insurance clerk and Christopher was a policeman both living in Nottingham. Things really took off for Torvill and Dean when they took on the actor and singer, Michael Crawford (of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em and Phantom of The Opera fame) as their mentor in 1981. Michael Crawford gave the pair acting lessons in order to heighten the performance of their figure skating and came along to sit at the ringside during their famous Boléro performance.
To coincide with their 10 year anniversary as professional figure skaters, Torvill and Dean decided to return to professional championships for the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway where they performed a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers-esque “Face the Music” routine. Although they didn’t sweep the boards with perfect 6.0s for this performance, they placed at a respectable third place behind gold winners Grishuk and Platov (who ended up winning gold medals for four years running).
Despite their disappointing finish and the realisation that they were no longer Olympic gold winners Torvill and Dean set off on their own “Face the Music” tour. Christopher Dean also went on to choreograph a number of dances to the songs of Paul Simon for the English National Ballet and toured with the “Stars On Ice” show. In 1998 Torvill and Dean produced a show that was performed at Wembley Stadium in London called “Ice Adventures”.
Torvill and Dean officially retired in 1998 and went their separate ways working as coaches and choreographers but in 2006 they were tempted out of retirement by ITV to act as coaches and choreographers for the TV show “Dancing On Ice”.