ICE dance has undergone something of a renaissance in the past decade, taking audiences from the cold of the rink-side and into a nice, warm theatre. What we gain in comfy seating, however, we potentially lose in speed and excitement, as the space afforded the skaters is considerably reduced.
Robin Cousins’ ICE - Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Head judge from ITV’s Dancing on Ice and general Olympic hero Robin Cousins tries to combat this by making ICE as artistic as possible. Skaters glide gracefully across the ice, tap playfully on their blades and form dynamic ensembles, successfully blurring the line between dance and figure skating.
He also populates it with crowd-pleasing moves like the “headbanger”, axel jumps (most, but by no means all, of which go well – and much as our hearts go out to any skater who stumbles at the end of a manoeuvre, it can’t help but diminish the impact) and beautiful drape lifts.
Particularly impressive is Michael Solonoski, who somehow manages to sing and skate simultaneously, both skilfully executed, while aerialist Kate Endriulaitis adds a different dimension to the show, negotiating those heavy skates as she hangs from a large hoop above the ice. Elsewhere, a range of solos, duets and group numbers keep us suitably entertained.
But Cousins’ bold claim that ICE is “skating like you’ve never seen before” falls short of the mark. Other companies, both on the ice rink and the ice-covered theatre stage, have brought more dynamism, excitement and memorable choreography to Edinburgh in recent years.