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Ice Dancers Torvill, Dean on Promo Tour

January 31, 1986|DIANE REISCHEL | Times Staff Writer

With Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, you get more than two ice dancers who won Olympic gold medals.

You get three sets of publicists, a video crew, a makeup artist and a Sassoon hairdresser trailing them with purple and red hair gels.

On a recent overnight stop in Los Angeles to promote their U.S. skating tour, which starts March 28, the blond and compact twosome were scuttled from room to room at the Forum in Inglewood, where U.S. tour sponsors from Vidal Sassoon wanted them to talk to the press, and where the hairdresser with the colored gels (new Sassoon products) was inching closer to Christopher Dean.

No Color Now

"I think I can miss it for now," 27-year-old Dean says, holding off the hair color.

The champion ice dancers from Nottingham, England, say such post-Olympic hoopla doesn't make them feel indulged.

"Not really. Because we hate it," says Dean, the "spark plug" male half of the couple. "Our main emphasis is to do what we want to do--which is to skate. But at the end of the day, we do other things that are allied to this."

Translated, Torvill and Dean must promote their act through interviews--or "tea parties," as the Forum press conference was billed.

"In the Olympics, we were concentrating on the competition, the marks. Now we've taken on a lot more responsibility," Dean says. "The last four days we've been grabbing four hours of sleep. This isn't good for us."

Shortly after the Sarajevo Olympics, where Torvill and Dean won a record nine perfect scores for ice dancing, they created an 18-member skating "family," as Torvill calls it. No Ice Capades or Holidays on Ice for them. Dean says they didn't want "a slot" in someone else's show.

"We always knew we wanted to form a company and have our own show," 28-year-old Torvill explained.

The Torvill and Dean company has toured Australia, England, New Zealand and Canada. The couple also competed in the 1985 NutraSweet World Professional Figure Skating Championships, which will air Feb. 9 on NBC's "SportsWorld."

Though they look like soul-mates on ice, put the couple on warmer ground and their styles hardly mesh.

Dean, a former policeman, arrived for an interview in baggy pants, a hip WilliWear shirt and green loafers.

Torvill, a one-time insurance-office worker, wore a prim white blouse, black skirt and pumps.

"He's always been the glamorous one," she says quietly, noting that at least she's less conservative than she used to be.

The skaters say their chemistry remains that of a high-strung Dean and a more placid Torvill.

"She's a Libra, I'm a Leo. Astrologically, I suppose, that works," Dean says. "But you can't be passive and get on with what we're doing. There's got to be some aggression you feel together."

Torvill says she doubts their images will change, despite tour sponsorship in the United States by the Sassoon hair-products firm.

The wildest thing she says she has in store is to grow her hair a tad.

"I'm still down to earth and sensible," she assured.

The couple--"platonic friends," according to Dean--perform several times a week with their new company, compared to three or four times a year when they were amateurs. They say they will remain with the company in coming years and hope it will keep their names after they retire.

For despite the entourage and growing pressures, the ice is still home. Recently each of them was on a month's vacation away from the ice, and both say they soon started itching for the rink.

"After about two weeks," Dean says, "I was ready to start skating again."

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