A whimsical, fairytale setting and Tchaikovsky’s music transports us to the world of Swan Lake, not the Classical ballet but the Ice skating ballet.
Performed by ‘The Imperial Ice Stars’ who hail from Russia and as the website tells us “have performed to nearly 3 million people across five continents…even in Cyprus in an outdoor amphitheatre in temperatures of 40C!”
The sets and costumes are traditional and as expected are lovely and glamorous. The Ice Stars are award-winning performers and most of them have been on blades since they could walk, so you get the idea of how talented they are.
The Lyric Theatre seemed somewhat limiting size-wise for the ice skaters. As a spectator I found I wanted them to have more freedom to build up to some of the tricks and flips and there were a few near misses where a few raggy fingers socked the side of the set.
The stand-out artists were the two female Ice Stars who played Odette (white swan) and Odile (black swan) who were both lovely, very balletic with long, lithe lines, graceful and elegant.
There are elements of Swan Lake being performed as an ice ballet as opposed to a traditional ballet which made me cringe a little. Firstly, ballet in boots doesn’t allow the artists to point their feet, therefore every-time they perform an arabesque or do lifts with extended legs the boot spoils the line. Secondly, the lifts aren’t as seamless on the set- down because of the skating boot and blade.
Don’t get me wrong, I love skating and always watch the ice skating competitions when they’re televised, however if I see Swan Lake, which conjures up images of the ballet I want something more along the lines of Sylvie Guillem with death-defying arches. The subtle and pure aesthetic beauty gets lost when performed on ice. Also the flashy trickery of lifts and spins breaks the audience mid-choreography into clapping frenzies which loses the mystique of the ballet-world and turns it more into sport, which by definition it is but I don’t think that’s what the Imperial Ice Stars are trying to convey in this production.
An absolute highlight for me was the visual spectacle of the group of swans on the lake which is simply stunning. Absolutely beautiful patterns and symmetry creates mesmerising images, almost like a moving painting.
This show is fun, a little kitsch and filled with tricks, lifts, spins, splits and more including a flame ring which blazes from the ice and Count Von Rothbart ends Act I surrounded by this crackle of fire. If you or your family love ‘wow-y’ lifts and spins that are so fast they look like they’re going to drill through the stage grab a ticket now this is definitely a fun night out.
By Emma Bell

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    helgardt.petrus joubert says:

    I saw this Swan lake on ice show at Monti casino Twice ! !
    Amazing ! Beautiful !
    The skaters were like fairies on ice !
    I tried to obtain foto’s of them all but they were too far from where I sat !
    now they have left to go to Capetown !
    They made me feel 20 years of age again ! but I am 70 !
    Bravo !

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