Kazakhstan's Denis TenWalking in the Richmond Training Centre last week, I was greeted with the sight of two people on the ice working in tandem. As choreographer Lori Nichol demonstrated the look she was going for, student Denis Ten matched her step for step. I was stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of Denis; his style of movement comes from the heart and is compelling to watch.

I asked Lori and Denis separately if they thought that ‘movers’ were born or if they could be taught. Lori said definitively: “It can be taught. There are more than a few out there whose skating draws you in – and I can assure you there are more that are taught than are natural.”

Denis answered it this way: “There are natural movers and there are skaters who get taught. I think that in order to win you need to be a combinaton of both.”

Hmmm…interesting. I don’t know about you – but I think I can tell the difference. Denis is one of those natural movers that I first saw on a teensy tiny TV monitor while calling the 4 Continents Championships a couple of years ago. At the time, his material was not what it is today but I could still feel his passion infusing the program rather then being superimposed on top of his skating.

Regardless of results, I still think he is wonderful to watch:


On our way out of the coaches’ room – Lori said – “make sure you get him to smile – he has a great smile”. As usual, when it comes to skaters and skating – she’s right 🙂


Fun to watch the evolution of a terrific skater and wonderful young man 🙂 The still pic by the way was taken at the Thornhill competition in the summer…looks like he has grown again??


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