Thursday, 5 June 2008

Torvill and Dean

Here are two videos from my childhood. I knew they were good - I watched on TV at the time. But I'd almost forgotten how good they were. I didn't understand what was good about it. I just knew that I couldn't speak or look away.

Here they are dancing to Barnum in 1983. Look at 01:05, and 01:15. The mimed clown costumes at 03:20. The mimed trombones at 03:40. Hear them?

And here it is - Bolero, 1984. The story enacted is about a pair of lovers who climb up the side of a volcano and throw themselves in. Notice the little dip at 01:45. Hear it?

There are no links. There was never any routine in any routine of theirs. And notice what happens to the commentary in both.

A problem with watching that last performance is that it makes it hard to watch anyone else dance anything at all to the same music. I get the same thing, listening to Plácido Domingo singing E lucevan le stelle - it seems so definitive, so fundamentally right and proper, that anyone else's recording sounds like Domingo without the Domingo. But that's how it goes.

Going to milongas, workshops, and whatnot, I see quite a lot of tango performances. And I do sometimes see dancing that's technically brilliant, and bores me stiff. It's not because it's 'show tango'. There's nothing wrong with show, and I like a good show as much as anyone. What makes any dance dull or exciting is not the style - it's the content, I think.


Anonymous said...

I find my eyes glued to beginners who give it some feeling, some sincerity, some emotion (technical ability has nothing to do with it).

And I find myself bored yawning stiff and totally uninspired by "teachers" who dance with such routine, boredom and lack of spirit.

That's why tango can be so different to other dances .. I remember instances of really bad students in a technical sense .. but they were great because they were sincere .. they felt (or tried damn hard) to feel the music .. they breathed it ...

Of all the teachers and performers in London - not many are "just right" .. but the few that are, are magnetic.

Psyche said...

I loved Torvill and Dean. I don't remember seeing Barnum, but wow, what choreography. Bolero never did it for me - I don't like the music, and that'll ruin any performance for me - but I know I'm the only one! My favourite was the bullfighting one, where he's the bullfighter and she's the cape. And Stormy Weather's a good one, too.

Anonymous said...

I have always adored T&V!!! And I agree with Psyche - the bullfighter theme was fantastic (I drove myself nuts trying to find it, so thanks Psyche). Although I must admit, the "choreography" was much more complex in Barnum. What a pair!

Plus, I must point out, no extraneous movements to muck to muck up the connection (as in "adornos"....)

Anonymous said...

Its quite strange in the ITV show "Dancing on Ice" when the finalists do their final dance to Bolero. Always an anti-climax because it can never be as good as Torvill and Dean. A bit cruel that they dance at the start of each show too - even now they show up the amateurs something dreadful. Its all in the synchronisation.

tangobaby said...

Oh! I used to love watching Torvill and Dean! They always seemed so perfect together and a wonderful partnership.

Thank you for the trip back in time and the video clips. And now I'm off to watch Psyche's as well!

msHedgehog said...

The bullfighter one was stupendous, I'd forgotten it, thanks for reminding me! Original, expressive, brilliant.

msHedgehog said...

Oh, yes - and here's Mack and Mabel.

Anonymous said...

You're the best ! Thankyou for taking the time for putting this on your website. Lovin' it!!!!!