Pj's Top 10 Performances: Ice Dance | Figure Skating | CBC Sports

Figure SkatingPj's Top 10 Performances: Ice Dance

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 | 02:31 PM

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Tessa Virtue, front, and ice partner Scott Moir's performance of Mahler’s 5th in the free dance is the reason the Canadians won the Olympic gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press) Tessa Virtue, front, and ice partner Scott Moir's performance of Mahler’s 5th in the free dance is the reason the Canadians won the Olympic gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

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I am a sucker for a good story. Ice dance captures the idea of possibilities for me. Whether it's a relationship between a man and a woman, the pursuit of a common goal, or the expression of a theme from the past, present or future - ice dance lays it all out for me. I believe that there could be as many top-10 lists in ice dance as there are ice dance fans!

Editor's Note: For Pj's latest series of top 10 lists, she's ranking her favourite performances of all time, including the best ladies and men's skates.

If you missed her last series on the top 10 skaters of all time, you can go back and read her ladies, men's, pairs and ice dance rankings.

I am a sucker for a good story. Ice dance captures the idea of possibilities for me. Whether it's a relationship between a man and a woman, the pursuit of a common goal, or the expression of a theme from the past, present or future - ice dance lays it all out for me. I believe that there could be as many top-10 lists in ice dance as there are ice dance fans!

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to set me straight with your own top 10. I want to hear from you! Leave your comments at the bottom of this page or give me a shout on Twitter @skatingpj.

1. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Canada) 2010 Olympics, Mahler's 5th free dance

This was the reason that Virtue and Moir won the Olympics. In the building in Vancouver when they skated their free dance, you could have heard a pin drop. As they came to rest in their final pose all I could think about was how lucky I was to have been there to see them that night. Talk about a memory!

2. Meryl Davis and Charlie White (United States) 2009-2010 season, Indian Folk music original dance

I loved the creativity of this original dance. It stands out for me because it wasn't just different, it was great skating! I loved the attention to detail and the harmony of the choreography, costume and concept.

3. Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko (Russian) 1990 Worlds, My Fair Lady free dance

As I mentioned, I love a good story. To see Klimova's delicate beauty contrasted against Ponomarenko's handsome and gallant frame was perfect.  In my eyes as a spectator, the fact that I can still see them flying around the rink at the worlds in Halifax in 1990 makes this performance a standout for me.

4. Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz (Canada) 1998 Olympics, Riverdance free dance

I never thought that this free dance got the respect it deserved. It is a wonderful representation of traditional Irish dance without ever becoming overdone. This for me was the program that really put the versatility of Bourne and Kraatz on the map.

5. Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon (Canada), 2007 Worlds, At Last free dance

In this free dance Dubreuil and Lauzon take us late into the evening at the tail end of a very special night. You can't help but feel the energy of young love.

6. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (Great Britain), 1994 Olympics, Face the Music free dance

Torvill and Dean were the ones that really changed the sport forever. They created theatre on ice without being overly theatrical. What makes this free dance special for me is that it was their comeback season. They had won the Olympic Games in 1984 and wanted one more shot in 1994. I love the courage it took in the attempt and I really love this free dance!

7. Isabelle Duchesnay and Paul Duchesnay (France), 1988 Worlds, Jungle themed music free dance

This brother and sister team clearly couldn't portray a love story convincingly so they found another way.  What makes them unique was that they redefined ideas about ice dance. They offered stories and ideas that were interesting, challenging, sometimes thought provoking yet always entertaining.

8. Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto (United States) 2003/2004 season, West Side Story free dance

Belbin and Agosto have lots of things to recommend, including an Olympic silver medal in 2006 and four world medals. I included them on this list because when I saw them perform this free dance in Beijing at the Grand Prix Final in December of 2003, I was struck by the difficulty of the program and its technical superiority. West Side Story is one of my favourite movies and I loved how this program stayed true to the feeling of the story.

9. Tracy Wilson and Rob McCall (Canada) 1988 Olympics, Elite Syncopations free dance

The team of Wilson and McCall proved that it wasn't only the Europeans who could express themselves through ice dance. Alone in my basement rec room, I watched the Calgary Olympics in 1988. The energy and speed of this free dance and the harmony of the competitors is what makes this program stand out for me.

10. Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviskiy (Bulgaria) 2002 Olympics, Tango/Paso original dance

There is something about the tension and the attention to detail in this team's original dance that gives it that authentic Tango feel.  The first part of Denkova and Staviskiy's OD is the tango, and it practically smoulders.

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