Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are on course for their first world championship in ice dance after a dazzling original dance performance in Turin, Italy on Thursday.
Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., set an International Skating Union record with 70.27 points in their original dance routine at the Palavela to stay in first place in the competition.
The Olympic champions rode their Farrucas flamenco to a total of 114.40 points, which includes their score from the compulsory dance.
The great performance came despite the fact that they were told before Thursday's competition that one of their lifts could potentially be subject to point deductions.
The lift, which the pair has done numerous times already this season without penalty, has Moir tossing Virtue in the air. and she then spins 2 ½ times in the air before landing in his arms.
"Somehow, [the judges] were thinking I shouldn't rotate that many times," Virtue said.
The Canadian pair have won silver and bronze at the last two world championships.
The ice dance competition ends with the free dance on Friday beginning at 12:45 p.m. ET, streamed live on CBCSports.ca.
'It was a really special year for us'
Virtue and Moir said they will relish Friday's performance to Mahler's Symphony No. 5, a routine that features their innovative goose manoeuvre, in which Virtue balances on Moir's back with her knee.
"We were laughing the other day, usually we get to this point [in the season] where we're just like, 'Sweet, one more. We've listened to this music a million times'," said Moir. "But we didn't get the feeling with either of these programs, so it was a really special year for us."
Later Wednesday, Patrick Chan will go for gold in the men's free skate. The Toronto native is second after the short program.
Virtue and Moir have a slim lead in the ice dance over their impressive training partners and friends, Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States.
Davis and White are second with 112.54 points after their Indian folk dance routine.
Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali of Italy are third with 100.01 points.
Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., moved up a spot to eighth place after achieving a season best 55.76 in the original dance. The Canadians have a total of 89.08 points.
Crone and Poirer were 14th at the Vancouver Games last month.
"We improved on our score from the Olympics by seven points," Poirier said. "It was our weakness at the Olympics, so the last few weeks we've really been focusing on improving this program particularly."
It also seems a strong possibility that the Canadian entries will finish with a combined total of 13 or less. That would mean Skate Canada could have three entries in ice dance at next year's worlds.
Great Britain's popular sibling team, Sinead and John Kerr also hit a personal best as they head into the free dance in fifth, right behind Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France.
Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski of Russia, who won bronze at the 2008 world championships, were visibly disappointed with their performance, which put them in seventh.
Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia, last year's world champions and the bronze medallists in Vancouver last month, are not competing in Turin.