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Thread: One of My Favorite Free Dance Programs of All Time

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    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    One of My Favorite Free Dance Programs of All Time

    In 1990 Paul and Isabelle Duchesnay won the free dance portion of the World Figure skating championships held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their outstanding performance garnered them five 6.0 perfect marks under the old judging system and brought the audience to it's feet. Of course, this program was the creation of the brilliant Christopher Dean. I always thought that Paul and Isabelle was Canada's loss as a wonderful dance team because they chose to represent France instead of Canada. However on that day one would never know with the amount of proud Canadians cheering for them on home ice that they were actually skating for France. Paul and Isabelle both have duo citizenships with Canada and France, they figured they would always be in the shadows of the champions Tracy Wilson and her partner Rob McCall and it would take too long for them to be recognized in Canada. Too bad. Anyway, check the performance out here. It still has me on the edge of my seat and glued to my screen just as I first saw it after all these years. It's still thrilling to watch. Oh yeah, I also get a kick out of the way Scott Hamilton mispronounces the Duchesnay's name at the end!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coM4d1CQZfs

    You might also want to check out more World championship performances that were held in Canada at CBC Bold:
    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/figureskati...in-canada.html

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    That was a wonderful, electrifying performance by the Duchesnays

    I heard they left to skate for France because they felt they would never get ahead in Canada. Lad, do you have any idea why they would have felt that way, and whether they were just being unnecessarily pessimistic?

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    My research = my mom says there was a Canadian brother and sister team which were like the shibutanis but not as hghly regarded They were around so it was hard for the Duchesney's to qualify for world's and they didn't wnt to wait until Canada got three spots or whatever.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I remember them; Karyn & Rod Garossino. They were in second when the Duchesnays were in third in 1985.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadia...ps#Ice_dancing

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabelle_Duchesnay

    It's interesting that Isabelle's bio does not show their 1985 Canadians results.

    At the time, the commentators on Canadian TV told that story, that Isabelle & Paul left because they thought in Canada they would never pass the Garossinos.

    I do wonder why they would have thought that, because looking at the list of top Canadian dance teams, there are cases where a younger team passed a more experienced team, although it didn't happen particularly often

    And frankly, the Garossinos were not massively impressive or anything like that. Their highest finish at Worlds was 8th, in 1989, at which the Duchesnays were third.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Wo...ps#Ice_Dancing
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 03-11-2013 at 02:16 AM.

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    In short they weren't great ice dancers. I know, bold statement, but they weren't. They were innovators. THey had interesting programs but they were not highly skilled in the qualities that made a top ice dancer. They didn't get the results they wanted fast enough in Canada and were apparently told they lack the technical skill they needed. Instead of working on that France made an offer to skate for them and they took it. It was the faster route to international competition. Even international judges didn't know what to do with them the first few years they skated for France but with the political bonus of being the #1 team for France and the fact they did produce very fan friendly programmes with the Dean name attached they were finally getting the results they wanted in the last few years competing.

    Don't get me wrong. I LOVE some of their programmes. "Missing" being their best imo. But Canada had their standards for judging ice dance and the Duschenay's didn't meet them at the time they wanted. Just have to look at this video to see why:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9B0tmaPaGo

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    One of My Favorite Free Dance Programs of All Time

    A great moment this was and here is another clip featuring their parents in the crowd. What a moment for Mr. & Mrs. Duschenay.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgo5-w7smSM


    I am also proud of the warmth of the crowd...my hometown, Halifax. These were quite the Worlds!
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 03-11-2013 at 07:27 AM.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Welcome to Golden Skate, Osmond4gold, and thanks for sharing that video!

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    Great program, Lad, thanks for highlighting it!

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    I knew even before I opened the link that it would be "Missing." What an astonishing program on all counts: the gorgeous music, Christopher Dean's genius choreography, the Duchesnays' execution. Those lifts! The emotional projection. Even the costumes work perfectly. One revealing moment is when Klimova and Ponomarenko stand ready to skate next, and they're wearing some typical matching satiny concoctions. (Mind you, K and P are one of my top five favorite couples.) This program of the Duchesnays is something new and splendid; it's modern but not off-putting, and it actually says something. Thanks for linking to it; it's a great way to start a workday.

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    Custom Title FSGMT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osmond4gold View Post
    A great moment this was and here is another clip featuring their parents in the crowd. What a moment for Mr. & Mrs. Duschenay.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgo5-w7smSM


    I am also proud of the warmth of the crowd...my hometown, Halifax. These were quite the Worlds!
    Welcome!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAS View Post
    In short they weren't great ice dancers. I know, bold statement, but they weren't. They were innovators. THey had interesting programs but they were not highly skilled in the qualities that made a top ice dancer. They didn't get the results they wanted fast enough in Canada and were apparently told they lack the technical skill they needed. Instead of working on that France made an offer to skate for them and they took it. It was the faster route to international competition. Even international judges didn't know what to do with them the first few years they skated for France but with the political bonus of being the #1 team for France and the fact they did produce very fan friendly programmes with the Dean name attached they were finally getting the results they wanted in the last few years competing.

    Don't get me wrong. I LOVE some of their programmes. "Missing" being their best imo. But Canada had their standards for judging ice dance and the Duschenay's didn't meet them at the time they wanted. Just have to look at this video to see why:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9B0tmaPaGo
    I don't know enough about technique to say yea or nay to your argument, but all I can say is I'm glad they were here. That program, along with others, added a dimension to skating that no one else was able to give it.

    By the way, Torvill and Dean themselves performed this piece, on a pro tour. I'd love to hear people's comparisons of it and Paul and Isabelle's version, so I know more what to look for. Please discuss!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTCktwVMcsc

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    I don't know enough about technique either but I think Lad is on to something. I remember the Duchesnay's as really going against the grain when they competed. The Russians had a stronghold on IceDance and along came this wonderfully talented and original pair that kind of raised eyebrows with their dances and their costumes. Paul always seemed like the angry young man but was so exciting to watch. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. They were innovative and fresh but didn't fit in with the rest of the competitors. I didn't know at the time they had started out in Canada. But Missing is my favorite.....

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    The Duchesnays created a sensation at the 1988 OWG in Calgary with their "tango" OD and then their jungle FD, but only placed 8th there because they did a lot of two-footed skating, which was frowned upon by dance judges. But they certainly made a name for themselves using Dean's innovative choreo and also improved their basic skating skills by the time they won the world title. They certainly were great fun to watch. Their tango OD remains one of my favorite ice dance programs to watch.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    And it wasn't like the Duchesnay's didn't feel particularly Canadian; they moved back to Canada when they retired, and I have heard that one of the problems in the Dean-Duchesnay marriage was that Isabelle wanted Chris to devote himself to working for the Canadian teams only.

    So it's clear to me that CAS's point of view that the Duchesnays were horrible ice dancers must have been fairly prevalent in ice dance circles in Canada, because The question is not how the Duchesnay's compared to the Russians, but how they compared to the Garossinos, who frankly, were not wonderful even a little bit.

    So have a look for yourselves and see what you think:

    At the 1988 Olympics, the Duchesnay's were 8th in all 3 segments of the competition (CD's, OSP, FD)
    The Garossinos were 12th in all 3 segments.

    At the 1988 Worlds, The Duchesnays were 6th & the Garossinos were 11th.

    Here's what the the Killian should look like: Bestemianova & Bukin at the Olympics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y3do9T5SoI

    Here is the Garossino's 1988 Olympic CD1 (Killian)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYTXQh6u1e8

    Garossino's 1988 OSP Tango Olympics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiGNDUCv-B4

    Garossino's 1988 FD from Worlds (Canadian commentary)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtuCC8u5pps

    Duchesnay's 1988 Olympic CD1 (Killian)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVV_44_rPXo

    Duchesnay's OSP Argentine Tango Olympics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMFxoLjFJr0

    Duchesnay's FD Savage Rites Olympics (Canadian commentary)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAMObOa1cZk

    Why I'm beating this dead horse over the head is that there seems to have been a disconnect between what the scoring rules really were for ice dance in 1988, as perceived by the Canadian ice dance establishment, and as they were perceived by pretty much every group of international judges who ever saw the Garossinos skate.

    And if any team needed some advice about how to improve their performance at Worlds, it would be the Garossinos, who were
    1985 tenth
    1986 ninth
    1987 tenth
    1988 eleventh (twelfth at Olympics)
    1989 eighth (once Wilson & McCall, Semanick & Gregory, and Bestemianova & Bukin had all retired)

    Basically, stalled for their entire career.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 03-11-2013 at 01:34 PM.

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    For what it's worth, at the 1988 Olympics the Canadian judge (Ann Shaw) had the Duchesnays 9th and Garossino's 8th in the compulsories, but the Duchesnays 6th in both the OSP and free dance and the Garossinos 9th and 10th respectively. (I.e., she had both teams higher than the consensus of the panel in all phases except for the Duchesnays in the CDs.)

    http://winter-olympic-memories.com/h...igure_d_ex.htm

    So it's hard to say how Canadian judges would have judged the two teams against each other domestically if the Duchesnays had continued competing for Canada but still made the technical and especially the artistic improvements that they did make after 1985. Judging just by that one judge at that one event, it seems that for the 1988 performances the thought was the Garossinos were slightly better at some important aspect(s) of compulsory dances (precision of edges and/or timing??) but not as strong either technically or artistically in the more creative portions of the event.

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