Some of world's best ice dancers based in Montreal to skate in online show

Montreal ice dance coaches Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon are giving figure skating fans something to watch.

A day after the 2020 world figure skating championships in Montreal were cancelled, Dubreuil and Lauzon announced that their star-studded Ice Academy of Montreal would host a skating show to air online.

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Dubreuil and Lauzon, who coached retired Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, had 13 ice dance teams from around the world scheduled to compete at next week's world championships, including Canadian duos Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha and Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus.

The world championships, which were scheduled to open next Thursday, were cancelled amid the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We had a big disappointment yesterday when we heard worlds in Montreal were cancelled, so we wanted to gather all of us in solidarity with the skating community, to express our regrets, to express how we feel about this sad news," Dubreuil said in a 45-minute Facebook Live event Thursday with the 13 teams.

The teams will each skate their favourite programs of the season on Monday, in full costume, and the programs will be recorded, compiled and aired online at a later date.

"We decided not to let the season end sadly like this so we're going to do a special event. We want to make this very festive and very special, you don't have to worry about technical scores," Dubreuil said with a laugh. "Just skate from your heart and to have a really nice souvenir of your favourite program of the season."

Dubreuil and Lauzon, who were two-time world silver medallists for Canada, had said a hometown worlds was a "dream" that neither one got to experience when they were competing.

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, who finished second behind Virtue and Moir at the Pyeongchang Olympics, are among the teams training at Ice Academy.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2020.

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