But somehow the vital connection is made…

Wembley Arena is really quite far removed from my spiritual home (and that’s just the overwhelming stench of junk food and beer when you walk through the door ;)) but it does me good every now and again to get out of my comfort zone and go somewhere else.  I’ve been to the Dancing on Ice tour every year since 2008 (do not judge me or my collection of tour mugs and t-shirts) in a variety of guises – with my housemate, on my own, in a gaggle of friends (the latter is always more enjoyable) sitting everywhere from front row to right up on the roof – because there is no greater privilege than getting to see the people I’ve adored, admired, respected and loved from the age of twelve doing what they do best in front of my very eyes. That’s Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean in case you missed the memo. Probably the only thing that could just pip them to that post would be Fonteyn and Nureyev but that’s never gonna happen. I wasn’t going to go to Wembley last night to see the tour – too late on a school night for the schlep home was my main excuse, but a casual browse for tickets last week threw up one I couldn’t refuse and so I accidentally wound up going. Never mind (and, yes, it was FAR TOO LATE on a school night, I am eyeball burningly, earth shatterlingly exhausted today).

Torvill and Dean's 2009 Bolero

I cry at ballet fairly often: Giselle makes me sob buckets, Rom and Jul at least provides a lump in the throat, a really well done sad ending Swan Lake makes my heart clutch and the tears prickle at the back of my eyes. And then there are the ones that make me cry through the sheer joy of being alive: Symphony in C, Suite en Blanc, Jewels… There’s a connection I have with ballet that I’ve never quite found with skating. Okay, admittedly, I guess something I largely watch through my fingers because COULD YOU JUST NOT DO THE HEADBANGER/THROW THAT POOR GIRL AROUND LIKE THAT/DO THAT MOVE WHICH IS NOT DESIGNED TO BE DONE BY A HUMAN BEING. Yeah, okay maybe I have a few issues (and, yes, my friends do mock me severely when I know a move’s coming up that I won’t be able to cope with and pre-emptively bury my face in my hands). For a while I worried about my lack of connection with skating – come on, guys, I was a little emotional watching Torvill and Dean skate Bolero live the first time but I didn’t have the ~feelings I thought I would and that made me sad. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching them skate: they could just skate round in a circle for two hours and I’d be enthralled but something in my make up wasn’t connecting with the skating.

Sean Rice & Jodeyne Higgins (not from the DOI 2012 tour!)

It changed last night. But it wasn’t the people I’ve loved since I was twelve who changed that for me, it was for a couple who burst on to my radar last year. Momentarily I wasn’t sure how to ~feel about that but then I decided I was totally and utterly okay with it. Sean Rice and Jodeyne Higgins skated a routine that was out of this world to Josh Groban’s Thankful and right there, right then was the connection I’ve always felt missing when watching skating. And yes, I channelled Karen Barber and CRIED MASCARA ALL OVER MY FACE (but I didn’t walk into any walls after, unlike after I’d watched Alina Cojocaru and Johann Kobburg in Giselle and cried so hard when I left the amph I still couldn’t see straight and walked into the wall, don’t mock). It wasn’t Giselle or Swan Lake crying, this was Symphony in C or Suite en blanc crying with just the sheer joy of being alive. Everything about this routine was spectacular: the choreography, the moves, the flow, the connection with the music and, most of all, the connection between Sean and Jodeyne. I’ve never known an atmosphere like it for the tour: a hushed, almost reverent silence, broken only by the sound of their blades across the ice. Finally, after twenty years of never quite making the connection, I understand. (But yes, okay, if you must know: I closed my eyes when they did the headbanger ;))

Definitely the highlight of the night.

Unless you want to count Christopher Dean fluffing his lines, being determined to get it right ‘for the DVD’ and in the end turning round and wailing ‘are you laughing at me?’. I’m sorry, yes, I was, bless you. If I say ‘but your face was so adorable when you did it and I wanted to pinch your cheeks’ would that make it better? Thought not…

[images via the google machine, click to link back to original source]

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