UNSHACKLED from their celebrity partners on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, in this show the professionals finally get a chance to shine in their own spotlight – which, once you factor in the theatrical lighting, glistening ice and copious sequins on display, is really quite bright.
The Professionals on Ice
Murrayfield Ice Rink, Edinburgh
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What catches the eye the most, however, is the talent. Ten skaters who have dedicated their entire lives to finding new and dynamic ways to glide across the ice.
Performing solos, duets, trios and group pieces, they packed the show with the kind of lifts, throws and spins that bring out the spontaneous whoops and applause in everyone.
It would be easy to dismiss this kind of spectacle as thrills and spills, with little artistry behind it. But even if there are times when Gymnastics on Ice would be a more appropriate title, there is no shortage of creativity here – in particular from Glasgow-born Mark Hanretty, whose quirky solo proved why he was the recent recipient of an international choreography award. There’s no disputing the excitement of watching a “headbanger” (a female skater spun round by her skates, head perilously close to the ice) up close, or marvelling at the power needed to hold a skater aloft with one hand, yet ice dancing also has something genuinely beautiful to offer, which the professionals weren’t afraid to show.
A romantic duet by husband and wife duo, Sean Rice and Jodeyne Higgins, demonstrated how strength, grace, tenderness and skill all have a part to play on the ice.