Gilles and Poirier reaching next level after bond with European buskers
Canadian ice dance duo have been skating to Govardo's cover of Don McLean's 'Vincent'
Two Canadian ice dancers, a couple of European buskers, and an unlikely bond.
When Carol Lane first stumbled upon Govardo's cover of Don McLean's hit song "Vincent" on Facebook, the figure skating coach's discovery couldn't have foreseen the partnership that would develop.
Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are skating their free dance to "Vincent (Starry Starry Night)" this season, and have become friends with Jack Rose and Dominik Sky, the British duo who make up Govardo.
"We keep in touch all the time," Poirier said.
"We talked to them on ... what was it, Wednesday? They're friends of ours now, and I think they're very attached to the piece, as much as we are, because they've invested so much and it's such a unique opportunity to present something in a completely different world," Gilles said.
"So we're very, very lucky to be a part of this journey with them, and celebrate their art with ours, it's very special."
Rose and Sky were at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, when Gilles and Poirier debuted the program last fall. Then Gilles and Poirier watched Rose and Sky perform in the Oberstdorf's city square.
Gilles and Poirier first reached out to Govardo on Instagram. They had to rework the song slightly to fit the ice dancers' needs, adding an up-tempo middle segment they all worked together on via Skype.
"We just thought the Vincent song was the perfect song to tell a story that we wanted to tell, and a story that would be accessible to people and that they would be able to understand and connect with," Poirier said. "It was just a matter of making the music actually happen.
"We obviously didn't know at the start if that was going to work or not, but that was the risk that we were willing to take, and I think it was a good risk, and I think we're happy with the decision that we made."
"Absolutely," added Gilles.
McLean wrote "Vincent" as a tribute to Vincent van Gogh. The opening line references his painting "The Starry Night," and is reflected in the skaters' costumes. Poirier dresses as the painter, Gilles in the midnight blue and gold of a night sky.
New project in the works
Gilles, from Toronto, and Poirier, from Unionville, Ont., said they're working on another project with Govardo, but said it's too early to divulge details.
The ice dancers were eighth in the Pyeongchang Olympics and sixth at the world championships last season, and with the absence of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will continue to battle Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje for top spot in the country.
Their partnership with Govardo isn't the first skater-musician connection. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford skated last season to April Meservy's cover of U2's "With or Without You."
The American singer/songwriter saw Duhamel and Radford skate the program live twice, including at the Pyeongchang Olympics, thanks to a generation fan who sent her the tickets as an anonymous gift.