Photo Courtesy of Justine Chiu

Ice dance at its very best is about the connection between the skaters. Paul Poirier, half of the reigning Canadian ice champion came into the summer having conducted a fairly exhaustive search for a new partner.

In mid-June of this year, American ice dancer Piper Gilles made the trek to Toronto for a 2 day tryout with Paul.  Paul says: “Carol (Lane) told me that I would know within the first 5 minutes if the skating would work out with someone else.” He coninues by saying: “Piper was the last girl I tried out with and if anyone was good fit it would be her.” Piper’s mother had heard that Paul was looking for a new partner and approached Piper’s former coach, Patti Gottwein who knew Carol,  to phone and see if a tryout could be arramged.

On the ice at the annual exhibition put on by the ice dancers from the Scarboro Ice Dance Elite school, Piper and Paul went through their paces including part of a short dance that may or may not be incorporatd into a program for the upcoming season.

Skating together for only three weeks and with brand new choreography, allowances have to be made for working out the differences in style, and yet there were some elements that jumped off the page for me: namely their speed and their unison which was very impressive. If you have never seen Piper Gilles think along the lines of American glamour girl Kate Hudson in the movie ‘Nine’. Gilles has a fresh-faced, playful quality that is a welcome contrast against some of the over the top kookiness that can be found in the international ice dance field.

Although they wouldn’t comment on whether their arrangement was ‘for good’, they both acknowledged “why wouldn’t it be?” By all accounts, they hit the ice very day training with determination and building towards the future.  Even if they were ready for the Fall’s events, they are not able to compete internationally for Canada for another year according to ISU rules.  That will not stop them from working hard and readying themselves for Nationals where they want to blow the ‘socks off’ the field. Paul says with a grin that they will be the ‘wildcard’ come Canadian nationals in January.

In the meantime, Piper continues to get used to her new life in Canada, Paul settles into a new partnership and coach Carol Lane plans how to develop the team of Gilles and Poirier:

For more from Paul (in English and French) and Piper – view my video:

Time will tell where this team is concerned although it is clear that they may be on to something.


@@@Pj’s YouTube Channel is  called PjKwongWordBroker for more videos @@@

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