The World of Ice Dance and Synchronized Skating are More Similar Than We Think | Moscovitch Retiring | Toller

The World of Ice Dance and Synchronized Skating are More Similar Than We Think written by Sheri Moir

Sheri competing with her cousin Danny Moir - 1999 Canadian Novice Ice Dance Champions
Sheri competing with her cousin Danny Moir – 1999 Canadian Novice Ice Dance Champions

Growing up in a figure skating family meant I spent the majority of my childhood on the ice. Whether it was free skate, dance or synchronized skating, I loved to skate! Eventually I decided to put my main focus into ice dancing with my cousin Danny Moir where I was fortunate enough to represent Canada. However, during my 13 year ice dance career, I also did synchronized skating.

The trend has usually been the ice dancer goes to synchronized skating after they are done ice dancing. Although skating on NEXXICE from 2006-2010 is where I ended my competitive skating career, I also skated on my home club’s synchro team, the Ilderton Silver Jets, during my final ice dancing years. There were many benefits for me doing synchronized skating along with ice dancing as it ultimately made me a better ice dancer.

Sheri Moir competing on Nexxice at the 2007 World Championships (second from right).
Sheri Moir competing on Nexxice at the 2007 World Championships (second from right).

Looking around to most of our younger synchronized skating teams, you’re starting to see more of this trend. More skaters are starting to participate in both disciplines. Ilderton Skating Club, for example, has 3 skaters who are involved in both competitive ice dance & synchronized skating ranging in levels from Juvenile – Junior Dance and Novice – Open Synchro levels.

Why do we think this is happening?

Synchronized skating offers a very similar foundation as ice dance with the main emphasis being on skating skills for both disciplines. This offers our young skaters more ice time where they can focus on basics, get comfortable competing as well as performing throughout the entire season. As synchronized skating builds momentum and gains popularity across the globe, it also provides skaters the unique chance to compete at a National championship and perhaps one day represent their country on the World stage.


Olympic Medallist Dylan Moscovitch Retiring from Competitive Skating

Olympic figure skater Dylan Moscovitch, 33, Toronto, Ont., announced today that he has retired from competitive figure skating. Moscovitch has been a staple in Canadian pair figure skating for over a decade. His competitive highlights include competing at six world championships, winning a national title and winning a silver medal in the team event at the 2014 Olympic Games.

“Skating was my first love and forever my passion. Representing Canada on both the world and Olympic stage has been an honour and a privilege. It has given me invaluable opportunities and experiences over the years, ones which have played a pivotal role in shaping me into the man that I am today. I look forward to taking the lessons learned and skills acquired into the chapters and adventures to come. I can’t thank my family, friends and fans enough for the endless support they’ve given me throughout the years, as well as the support received from COS, WOS, Skate Ontario, Skate Canada, Own the Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee and both the provincial and federal governments,” expressed Moscovitch.

Moscovitch continued, “I’d also like to thank all of my coaches, trainers, choreographers, training mates and clubs from all over Ontario for guiding me and supporting my dream. I’d like to thank my partners Kyra, Kirsten and Luba for the priceless memories and experiences throughout my career and I wish Kirsten and Luba the best of luck in their respective careers in the years to come. I’d especially like to thank Kris and Kristy Wirtz and the late Paul Wirtz for the 10-plus years working together and for starting my career in pairs figure skating. As well, a huge thank you to Lee Barkell, Tracy Wilson, Bryce Davison, and everyone at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club for renewing my love for skating and taking my level of growth as both an athlete and a person beyond what I could have ever hoped. Most importantly, I will cherish the incredible people I’ve met and the lifelong friendships I’ve made throughout my career in this amazing sport. Thank you to all for sharing this journey with me.”

Moscovitch began his pair skating career with his sister, Kyra. They won the Canadian junior pair title in 2006 and would go on to skate together until 2008. In 2009 he teamed up with Kirsten Moore-Towers and went on to win the Canadian title in 2011. They would accumulate 11 international medals over their time together and earn three trips to the ISU Grand Prix Final. They capped off their partnership with an Olympic silver medal in the team event at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. He ended his pair skating career with Lubov Ilyushechkina. Their partnership began in the spring of 2014. In their four seasons together, they won three national medals and five international medals, including a bronze at the 2016 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

“Dylan has represented Canada with pride and has brought tremendous leadership to our national team on and off the ice. His presence will be missed,” said Mike Slipchuk, High Performance Director, Skate Canada. “Skate Canada thanks Dylan for all his contributions to pair skating in Canada and wish him the best of luck with his future aspirations.”

Looking to the future, Moscovitch plans to stay involved with skating through coaching, seminars and mentoring. Moscovitch will also continue with his motivational speaking work, in which he has become highly sought-after on the corporate speaking circuit over the past few years. In addition, he has signed with B&M Models and is planning on perusing an acting and commentary career.

His skating partner, Ilyushechkina will be evaluating her opportunities in the coming months.


1949 – 2015

Toller Cranston would turn 69 on April 20, 2018

It is astonishing that more than three years have passed since
Toller died in in January, 2015. Not a single day has passed
without memory, tribute, recollection, or anecdote. The stories
are variously inspirational, motivational, funny, outrageous, and
powerful. Watch for the commemorative book coming later this
year. It will be entitled simply: Toller. Artist.

After retiring from competitive figure skating, Toller moved to San
Miguel de Allende, Mexico where he lived an intensely creative
life for more than 23 years. He worked tirelessly to explore the
limits of his own creativity, inspire young athletes and mentor
and support young artists.

Toller’s legacy is growing through initiatives that celebrate,
honour and memorialize the values he lived by.


The Toller Awards Canadian Olympic Foundation and Skate Canada

In a unique collaboration, the Canadian Olympic Foundation and Skate Canada originated the Toller Awards in 2017. Named in honour of Toller, the awards recognize courage, creativity and expression in young skaters in the Junior and Novice levels

at Nationals. Olympic medalist, world-renowned for innovation and artistry, Toller brought freedom of expression to the sport of skating and became a legend in the world of figure skating.

Emma Bulawka from Kelowna, BC, a recipient of a 2018 Toller award wrote:

I am so honored and grateful to be one of the few selected to receive the Toller Cranston Memorial Award. He was an artist and innovator on and off the ice. He changed skating forever through his willingness and fearlessness to push the boundaries. He created masterpieces by the way he expressed emotions through his body movement. His legacy and everything he did for the sport will never be forgotten. He revolutionized the meaning of pure art on the ice.

Toller Cranston continues to be an inspiration and role model to many, including myself, which makes me feel so incredibly honored to receive this award, written and made in his name. I am so thankful and blessed to have this rare opportunity. Thank you.

For this upcoming season, I hope to continue to honor Toller Cranston and all he has done for this sport. With this award comes responsibility. I will continue to work hard on and off the ice and follow in the legacy of this award. I want to keep developing and pushing myself, not only as an athlete, but as an artist. I hope to keep challenging myself and develop my artistry beyond my comfort zone while inspiring other skaters to do the same along the way.

Emma Bulawka


Endowment at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Toller thought of himself first and foremost as an artist and the Banff Centre is a perfect fit with his talent, vision and core beliefs. The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity has initiated a project to establish the Toller Cranston Scholarship Endowment for Visual Artists.


Kirkland Lake Centennial: Toller Cranston is Back Home!

Since the journey started for Toller on the ice in Kirkland Lake, it is fitting that six decades later it is his artistry brings him back. Toller’s painting Floating on Air (2011) is on display at the Museum Of Northern History as a preview of a Toller retrospective called The Strawberry Journey that will open in April 2019. The show is a collaboration of the Contemporary Art Committee, Temiskaming Art Gallery, Museum of Northern History, Kirkland Lake Centennial, Artworld Fine Art Gallery and the Toller Cranston Foundation.


The Toller Cranston Library in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Toller’s extensive library of art and design books has been donated to a prominent arts and culture centre in Mexico. The collection has been catalogued and a permanent Toller Cranston reference library will soon open for international scholars and researchers.


Conociéndome (Getting to Know Me): Youth Creativity, Empowerment and Career Development Program

Over the years, Toller brought hundreds of children in Mexico into his magical world. He painted with them, taught them and inspired them to express themselves with courage and confidence. Now, an internationally regarded youth empowerment and career development program created by Baran & Baran has been adapted to a Mexican context and will be delivered in Toller’s name in partnership with significant Mexican NGO’s. Conociéndome (Getting to Know Me) provides youth participants with insights and tools to take charge of their lives and career paths, direct their own future, expand their creativity, and make more effective connections with family and community.


A Song for Toller
Multiple award-winning and Grammy-nominated composer Michael Hoppé has a new collection of compositions inspired by wonderful friendships. Listen to A Song for Toller on Michael’s new CD, Amistad.

Gallery Shows and Tours
Interest in Toller’s paintings remains high. The pieces—colourful, flamboyant and intricate—continue to be sought by collectors all over the world.


The Toller Cranston Memorial Fund
The Canadian Olympic Foundation through the Toller Cranston Memorial Fund offers a way to remember Toller, to show appreciation for the artistry he brought to the world of figure skating, and to assist those young skaters with the dreams, the talent, the passion and the work ethic to reach for the stars.

Canadian Olympic Foundation
Telephone: 416-324-4282
Toll Free: 888-377-7073
Email: [email protected]

To share your memories or to support the Toller legacy projects, contact:

Phillippa Cranston-Baran at [email protected]


One thought on “The World of Ice Dance and Synchronized Skating are More Similar Than We Think | Moscovitch Retiring | Toller”

  1. Loved Sheri Moir’s commentary regarding the link between Ice Dancing and Synchronized Skating. It is so true! My beginnings as a National competitor in Ice Dance, led to my judging this discipline up to the International level. (judged Sheri and Danny many times) Thanks to John McKay, who was one of my judges during my competitive years, he invited me to ‘try judging this precision thing’ during the evolution of Canadian level team skating at the annual Ilderton competitions. I continued to work my way up to the ISU level in Precision Skating (and as it later became the discipline of Synchronized). The involvement of National and International level dance coaches has increased tremendously in the past few years, proving that the link between the two disciplines is a natural.

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