The Imperial Ice Stars’ Swan Lake on Ice is a night of magic, beauty and a magnificent exhibition of athletic artistry
View Auckland, New Zealand
by Fiona McLaren
Under the direction of Tony Mercer, this team of 26 Olympic, World, European and National Championship skaters—who between them have won over 200 medals—performs a refreshing interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.Mercer’s choreography touches on the near impossible, breaking many of the figure skating rules and displaying dangerously beautiful moves never seen before. He combines romantic ballet with the daring speed and athleticism of ice skating to create an awe-inspiring performance.
The story of Prince Siegfried and his love for Odette and Odile is told with powerful characterisation and clarity. The accomplished Vadim Yarkov skates with authority as Prince Seigfried. Olga Sharutenko (as Odette) and Olena Pyatash (as Odile) both demonstrate grace, combined with astounding speed, agility and prowess.
The fabulous Andrei Penkine shines as Benno; Siegfried’s best friend. His evanescence and cheeky energy ensure he is a crowd pleaser. Even the evil Rothbart, played by Anton Klykov, has such power and formidable athleticism, that you can not help but like him.
Mercer’s spectacular choreography maintained some of the traditional features of the original ballet, but included additional lifts, leaps, high speed, aerial work, acrobatics, stilt work and even a ring of fire to enthral the audience.
Moments of delicate pointe work convene with a world of speed and steel skates. With not a tutu in sight, Mercer creates an effortlessly dramatic performance.
Particular appeal in this interpretation of Swan Lake on Ice came from the dominant role of the male cast. It was refreshing to see outstanding acrobatics and mesmerising grace of the male dancers throughout the entire piece.
The audience was captured by the intense emotion between Siegfried, Odette and Odile. This trio is simply poetic. Danger, precision and power bring together the final duel between Siegfried and the evil Rothbart, leaving the audience feeling tense yet exhilarated.
Finally, Prince Siegfried and Odette’s embrace depicts pure tenderness and draws Swan Lake on Ice to a close.
Exquisite early 20th-century-inspired Russia costumes—with subtle tones and beautiful draping—emphasised the fluidity of the dancers’ movement as they travel around the ice.
Eamon D’Arcy, one of Australia’s leading set designers, renowned for his production of the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games, created a magnificent and historically researched back drop.
The lake was a place of mystery and beauty; the ballroom full of splendour; and the delightful St Petersburg Square during spring time (my particular favourite) was simply stunning.
The Imperial Ice Star’s mesmerising interpretation of Swan Lake on ice is a must see … a magical theatrical experience that will appeal to any audience. Even ballet purists will appreciate this spectacular rendition.