The Imperial Ice Stars’ Swan Lake On Ice had a brief but spell-binding run with new moves and scenes.
Contributed By Annie Wong
Ballet is hard enough an art to master on its own, as last year’s Oscar blockbuster Black Swan would have you know, but even with the added challenge of a slippery stage, the Imperial Ice Stars make it look like the easiest thing in the world to do.
Returning to Singapore after four years with a brand-new interpretation of Swan Lake On Ice which included new stunts and surprise scenes, the Imperial Ice Stars had a brief but enthralling run at Marina Bay Sands from Aug. 30 to Sep. 4 as part of their two-year world tour.
The cast, comprising 26 world European and national championship skaters, have collectively won over 250 competition medals. That alone gives you an idea of the level of technique on display. Combined with the artistry of director Tony Mercer, it was a memorable outing even for those who stepped into the hall unacquainted with the tale.
Swan Lake tells the story of Prince Siegfried, who falls in love with the Swan Princess, Odette, trapped under a powerful sorcerer’s curse that turns her into a swan by day and human by night. As they make plans to be reunited at the Grand Ball at the palace, the evil sorcerer hatches a scheme to make Prince Siegfried break his vow to his true love by disguising his own daughter in Odette’s form and having the prince profess his love to her instead. Tragedy and triumph ensue as the star-crossed lovers battle to be with each other, even unto death.
With the dashing Andrei Penkin and the lithe beauty Olga Sharutenko leading the cast as Prince Siegfried and Odette, the skaters executed never-seen-before moves—some of which are apparently so new they haven’t yet been given a proper technical term. It was a testament to the power of well-choreographed dance that the audience was thoroughly immersed in the story that unfolded despite the fact that not a line of dialogue was uttered throughout the whole show.
Many times, the crowd either broke out in spontaneous claps or gasped audibly as the skaters cut through the air in effortless twirls and dizzying spins. Daring acrobatics were part of the show too, as the muscular male performers propelled their female compatriots high into the air, catching them gallantly on the rebound. Along with the timeless score by Tchaikovsky, the special effects of falling snow, blazing fire and otherworldly glows were well employed; rather than detract from the tale of passion and tragedy, each added a magical touch to climatic scenes already charged with emotion. As far as the Imperial Ice Stars are concerned, ballet is a dish best served cold.