CULTURE

Globetrotting Holiday on Ice

NORWICH – As the lights were switched off, a group of slim ice skaters lightly slipped into the rink and started to move to the sounds of African drums. «Are you ready for a musical journey throughout the world with Holiday on Ice?» the singer asked, thus signaling the beginning of the performance. Kathimerini recently traveled to the city of Norwich, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) northeast of London, to watch the latest production of Holiday on Ice, the most well-known ice-skating group in the world. The legendary group, founded 60 years ago, will also perform their new production, «In Concert,» in Greece. They will give 20 performances from April 30 to May 12 at the Allou Fun Park in Rendi in Athens. The group’s public relations officer explained that «In Concert» appeals to all ages. «This production breaks away from traditional ice-skating shows, because, for the first time, the skaters are performing to the sound of live music by an orchestra and a group of singers. It is the beginning of a new era for ice-skating.» Willy Bietak, artistic director for Holiday on Ice and Robin Cousins, choreographer and former Olympic champion, are currently in the Netherlands to arrange further performances for the group, which is always touring the globe. The show itself is a constant journey of international music and dance, from Africa, Cuba and New York to Spain, the Middle East and New Orleans. From Maurice Ravel and Karl Orff to Peter Gabriel, the Gypsy Kings and Quincy Jones. The group consists of 65 skaters. They perform on an ice stage of 800 square meters which is in the center of a 4,000-seat mobile theater that they must set up in every city. Among the highlights of the production, in our opinion, was definitely Richard Swenning’s atmospheric solo to Miles Davis’s composition for the film «L’ascenseur pour l’echafaud,» as well as «Stardust» with Melanie Lambert and Fred Palascak. Also impressive was «Bodyrock,» a striking choreography for two rollerbladers with music by Moby and Brewski’s «Il me dit que je suis belle,» a tender duet with Jennifer Schmitz and Swenning. In the second part, Alex Mederic stood out, a former champion of the French national ice-skating team, who danced to Sting’s «Desert Rose.» And in «Cubeman,» the impressive skater Jens Jensen hung from the ceiling about 5 meters above the ice holding a huge cube in his hands. Finally, «Bolero,» a somewhat folk version of Ravel’s composition, and Rodrigo’s famous «Concerto de Aranjuez,» as performed by excellent skaters and acrobats Valerie Tyshler and Victor Mytnic, was particularly striking. For tickets and further information call 210.618.9300 or log on to www.holidayonice.gr.