10 years with D10. A tribute to elegance

This is a journey into Denis Ten’s career, into his 10 years of presence on senior stage.

From the very serious teenager that he was, tough, determined, stubborn even – to the bright, carefree and radiant young man he had become.

In 10 years, he gradually opened himself to the world, to embrace it fully, wholeheartedly. No better metaphor of his complete transformation than his buttery skate in Moscow, to the voice of Vittorio Grigolo, at Rostelecom Cup last November.

And so this is a multi-layered, generous story of Denis Ten becoming The Artist.

More prosaic, this is a collection of programs and emotions as seen, and lived, and kept by people who never stopped following him through the years. As one of them candidly said, „I took many pictures of Denis and I really want to share them. I want his memory to live…”

Photos by Julia Komarova, Natasha Ponarina, Wilma Alberti, Ksenia Nurtdinova, Veronika Potaturko, Olga Dynina and Florentina Tone


SP: Flamenco, Once Upon a Time in Mexico (choreo. by Tatiana Tarasova)
FS: Piano Concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninov (choreo. by Tatiana Tarasova)

2008 Russian Cup (November, Moscow, Russia)

15-year-old Denis Ten, skating his flamenco short program in Moscow, on November 28, 2008, at Russian Cup; Denis was training in Moscow at the time – and he was allowed to skate in an otherwise domestic event.

Julia Komarova remembers: „Since Russian Cup is only meant for Russian skaters, Denis skated as a guest, outside official competition, only for competitive practice. And I remember being amazed by him – he looked much better, much stronger than the other boys. I thought: «Who forgot him here?». And though I only found these pictures of him from 2008, it occurs to me that I saw him more at a young age in small Russian competitions – that much he is imprinted in my memory”.


SP: Sing, Sing, Sing by Louis Prima (choreo. by Tatiana Tarasova)
FS: Pasodoble, Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo (choreo. by Tatiana Tarasova)

2010 Worlds (March 22-28, Turin, Italy)

The last group of skaters, Denis Ten among them, ready to take the ice for the warm-up before their SP

A very focused, serious Denis right before his free skate in Turin. And a symphony of red and black to go along with “Concierto de Aranjuez”

Receiving gifts was always a joy; and the black panther finds its way to Denis

Grateful eyes to the fan offering him the gift

The Teddy-bears in the Kiss and Cry have a long, long story behind… Remember, this is 2010.


SP: Primavera Porteña by Ástor Piazzolla (choreo. by Stéphane Lambiel)
FS: Totentanz by Franz Liszt (choreo. by Lori Nichol)

2011 Worlds (April 25-May 1, Moscow, Russia)

One final word of encouragement from Frank Carroll before Denis’ short program in Moscow

Intriguing, peculiar free skate in Moscow to music by Franz Liszt; and a costume to match the music


SP: Elegie Op. 3 No. 1 by Sergei Rachmaninov
FS: Adios Nonino by Ástor Piazzolla

2011 Nebelhorn Trophy (September 21-24, Oberstdorf, Germany)

Practice session in Oberstdorf

Opening pose of Denis’ short program in Oberstdorf – and a flowing, layered costume for Rachmaninov’s Elegie

It’s a Piazzolla-themed free skate for Denis in 2011-2012 season

2012 Junior Worlds (February 27-March 4, Minsk, Belarus)

Ready for the Rachmaninov short program in Minsk – and Denis also shows the final version of his SP costume

Wonderful opening pose of his short program

Seconds before taking the center of ice for the free skate

And it’s a new “face” for the free skate as well, to Piazzolla’s Adios Nonino – even the opening part has changed – and a proof of how much a program develops throughout the season.

2012 Worlds (March 26-April 1, Nice, France)

At the fifth floor of a building in Nice there’s a real factory of diamonds…

Coach Frank Carroll attentively watches Denis

Practice session and advice as the warm sun of Nice enters the large windows of the skating rink

It’s time for the final showing of his SP to Rachmaninov’s Elegie no. 1

Stéphane Lambiel, careful observer in the audience

Adios Nonino – free skate at 2012 Worlds in Nice


SP: The Artist by Ludovic Bource (choreo. by Lori Nichol, Stéphane Lambiel)
FS: The Artist by Ludovic Bource (choreo. by Lori Nichol, Stéphane Lambiel)

2012 Nebelhorn Trophy (September 27-29, Oberstdorf, Germany)

2012-2013 was a season of innovation for Denis, since he opened the story of The Artist in his short program, and continued it in the free skate. Here you have him in September 2012 in Oberstdorf, with Stéphane Lambiel at the boards.

The Artist: Part One.

The Artist: Part Two. Watch and be amazed.

The very definition of elegance – just look at his posture

Julia Komarova, photographer: „It always seemed to me there was a part of aristocracy in Denis. He was so kind to all people. Without anger or pride. So pure and honest, like from a different era. And such a multifaceted talent, so versatile.

I took many pictures of him throughout the years – I saw Denis growing up, witnessed his successes and failures – and I really want to share them. I want his memory to live…”

2012 Rostelecom Cup (November 8-11, Moscow, Russia)

In Moscow, it’s another showing of The Artist; but first, there’s Denis refining details of his programs during practice.


SP: Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns (choreo. by Lori Nichol)
FS: The Lady and the Hooligan by Dmitri Shostakovich (choreo. by Lori Nichol)

2014 Olympics (February 7-23, Sochi, Russia)

Denis Ten at the end of his short program in Sochi

Postcard from 2014 Olympics – Denis Ten makes history for Kazakhstan by winning his country’s first ever Olympic medal in figure skating


SP: Caruso by Lucio Dalla performed by Joseph Calleja (choreo. by Lori Nichol)
FS: The Silk Road, music from the album “New Impossibilities”, Yo-Yo Ma, the Silk Road Ensemble
(choreo. by Lori Nichol)
Exhibition: Money on My Mind by Sam Smith

2014 Trophée Éric Bompard (November 21-23, Bordeaux, France)

…as if time were suspended: a glimpse of Denis’ Caruso in Bordeaux

“I was born on a Silk Road” – Denis becoming one with the story during his free skate

2014 Ice Legends (December 18, Geneva, Switzerland)

Smooth as silk. To music by George Gershwin

Alongside Stéphane Lambiel and Nobunari Oda, to Gershwin’s Trois préludes

Skating to “Money on My Mind” by Sam Smith

The beautiful cast of Ice Legends 2014

2015 Worlds (March 23-29, Shanghai, China)

Caressing the air during a practice session in Shanghai

The final showing of Caruso

Travelling through the wavy lines of desert while on the Silk Road

Exhibition time at 2015 Worlds

Wilma Alberti, photographer: „To anyone who has ever met Denis in person, he was a level-headed boy with a noble soul. He possessed this genuine, calm generosity, and deep rooted ethics.

Throughout the years, I met him several times, sometimes to congratulate him on his performance, on his elegant style, in other occasions to encourage him, not to kick himself too harshly for not doing enough, or not be disappointed with the results that didn’t reflect his talent.

He always responded with genuine class. Both his gestures and words personified excellent manners and gentleness. It’s no wonder he was loved by all the fellow skaters, fans, by the entire world of figure skating.

I particularly remember the speech he gave during 2015 Worlds in Shanghai. 22-year-old at the time, he was on the podium alongside Javier Fernández (gold) and Yuzuru Hanyu (silver). He praised the two skaters and friends with whom he had shared past competitions ever since their Junior days. He described Javi as the most kind and approachable person, a great skater as well as a generous soul (even with the reporters who chased him for interviews). And he praised Yuzuru’s incredible technical skills, and said the Japanese was literally born to skate.

His words were the essence of his humble generosity coming from his heart.

But what struck me the most were his words regarding the sport itself. Figure skating, he said, united the skaters and the audience. The very essence of the sport, beyond the required technical elements, is the fact that it offers different ways to express oneself, to bring out the special personality of each and every athlete. His words are still vivid in my memory: «While we are jumping triple axels and quadruples we may look all identical. But what makes the real difference is the unique talent each of us possess to put oneself in a program, to become one with it».

And Denis has always done that, through and through – even when he fell or his jumps weren’t perfect he always skated his heart out, and made us feel it”.


SP: Misa Tango by Luis Bacalov (choreo. by Lori Nichol)
FS: Romeo and Juliet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (choreo. by Lori Nichol)

2015 Trophée Éric Bompard (November 13, Bordeaux, France)

In Meriadeck Ice Rink in Bordeaux, Denis skated an emotional short program to „Misa Tango” by Luis Bacalov; due to the unfortunate events that happened in Paris on November 13, the second day of competition was cancelled.


SP: Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev (choreo. by Nikolai Morozov)
FS: Tosca by Giacomo Puccini (choreo. by Nikolai Morozov)

2016 Trophée de France (November 11-13, Paris, France)

…as if continuing a story that was left unfinished, Denis skated to “Romeo and Juliet” (this time by Prokofiev) in Paris, in November 2016

2017 Worlds (29 March-2 April, Helsinki, Finland)

In Helsinki, Denis’ Romeo and Juliet short program looked very modern, very avant-garde, and Nikolai Morozov’s influence was undeniable. Ready to be impressed?

The costume itself was a work of art

Free skate to “Tosca”, a favorite of his, in Helsinki

Not the best showing of his free skate in Helsinki, but Denis was never a quitter; he fought through and through


SP: Tu sei by Vittorio Grigolo (choreo. by David Wilson)
FS: SOS d’un terrien en détresse by Luc Plamondon, Michel Berger, performed by Dimash Kudaibergen
(choreo. by David Wilson)

2017 Rostelecom Cup (October 20-22, Moscow, Russia)

Wings in the air. Practice session in Moscow

Just like a dove

Denis’ unique qualities found the best vehicle in his short program to beautiful, emotional Italian music: “Tu sei” by Vittorio Grigolo.

“Tu sei per me la storia che il filo d’erba dice alla rugiada.
Sei il viaggio della nuvola che al vento va prima che pioggia cada
Sei il sogno che non finirà quando l’aurora illumina la strada
Tu sei per me il fiore che rinascerà qualunque cosa accada…”

(To me, you are the story that the blade of grass tells to the dew drop
You are the journey of the cloud blown by the wind before the rain falls
You are the dream that will not end when the dawn illuminates the street
To me, you are the flower that will bloom again, whatever happens…)

[“Tu sei”, composed by Roberto Musumarra and Giorgio Flavio Pintus, performed by Vittorio Grigolo]

A calm, serene Denis in the mixed zone after SP

Music-wise, choreography-wise, interpretation-wise, this free skate, to „SOS d’un terrien en détresse”, was a jewel.

Skating to „Lose Yourself” by Eminem during exhibition in Moscow

2017 Internationaux de France (November 17-19, Grenoble, France)

“Tu sei” – Denis’ short program in Grenoble, in November 2017

Wilma Alberti: „The last time I talked to Denis was during Internationaux de France de Patinage in Grenoble, in November 2017. There he stressed again the importance of giving his all to each performance, of skating from his heart, without ever holding back. He said his mother taught him that – and her teaching was precious to him, and he always felt inspired by it.

We all know Denis was a person with profound ethics, even beyond his valued friendships. His heart was always close to his family and the tradition of his country, but his spirit was always open and embracing all others”.

Reaching for the sky in his „SOS d’un terrien en détresse

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