Stockholm Ice 2012. English article about Stockholm Ice written by Ia Remmel below, please read!
ERICSSON GLOBE DEN 9 APRIL 2012 , Annandag Påsk Preshow 15.40, show 16.00-18.30. Stockholm Ice 2012 bjöd på en sprakande show! Den har gången i ett helt nytt format där konståkningens stjärnor och flerfaldiga världs- och olympiska mästare mötte musikartister – live och på högsta nivå! På isen kunde man njuta av bl a den olympiske mästaren från 2010, Evan Lysacek, USA, den dubble världsmästaren Stephane Lambiel, Schweiz, regerande världsmästarinnan Miki Ando, Japan, flerfaldiga mästarna i paråkning Savchenko/Szolkowy, Tyskland, isdansparet i världsklass Cappellini/Lanotte, de svenska toppnamnen med vår lysande stjärna Viktoria Helgesson, flerfaldig svensk och nordisk mästarinna, Team Surprise , ett av världens bästa lag i teamåkning med flera med flera. Bland årets gästartister fanns den omåttligt populäre Malena Ernman.
“STOCKHOLM ICE” an exclusive ice-gala in Sweden is forming a tradition. Held in Stockholm for the third year in a row, the show’s format comes from Switzerland’s “Art on Ice” company. The “Art on Ice” shows are very successful in their homeland, where for several days in a row the 13000 seats of Zürich’s biggest hall Hallenstadion are quickly sold out. “Art on Ice” is one of the most professional and well-crafted shows in the whole world. At the show, figure skating is mixed with singing, stage dancing, acrobats and artistic videos playing on a huge screen. The founder of the show, 11 time Swiss single skating champion Oliver Höner, has put together a bright and exciting production, which besides Sweden has also expanded to China, Shanghai.
This year, one of the additions to the show’s concept was in the form of opera with two great Swedish singers – Malena Ernman and Per-Håkan Precht.
While the audience gathered at the Ericsson Globe Arena, the organizers offered a pre-show, featuring the child pianist Alice Power, and an adorable program with a lot of older and younger child skaters involved. As a surprise, the show was hosted by one of the best Swedish skaters, the now retired Kristoffer Berntsson together with the energetic talent competition winner, singer Amy Diamond. The handsome Kristoffer in a tuxedo formed a really good partnership with the sparkling Amy in a flowing violet dress.
The succesful Swedish skating group “Team Surprise” opened the show with an entertaining program using spectacular synchronized skating techniques. Twirling around in light blue dresses, they drew dazzling patterns on the ice. Joshi Helgesson followed, with her optimistic program “Feeling Good”. Joshi’s performance is always energetic, bright and positive, and her programs feature music with a quick tempo. High energy and power are a part of her artistic nature.
Russian top pair skaters Yuko Kawaguti and Alexander Smirnov replaced the originally announced Russian stars Tatiana Voloszhar and Maxim Trankov. Kawaguti-Smirnov are an original and very artistic pair with an exotic flair. Coached by the legendary Tamara Moskvina, their programs stand out with innovative and complicated lifts that form striking images in the air and on the ice. Their first exhibition was to “Dark eyes”, the popular Russian song. Hot and passionate, the number was choreographed by Russian skating legends Natalia Bestemianova, Andrei Bukin and Igor Bobrin. Their second exhibition was to Per-Håkan Precht’s “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot”. Here, their presentation was very tight and had intense energy. Yuko’s Asian look was fitting for a story about a severe Chinese princess.
The Swedish ice princess Viktoria Helgesson appeared as Marilyn Monroe, wearing a glittering white dress. Viktoria has a beautiful classic skating style with excellent skating skills. She is the most successful Swedish skater, having earned good results at competitions, among them a 5th and 6th place at the European Championships and a first international medal last year at Skate America. Last year she also worked with the famous Canadian coach Christy Krall, who is also coaching the Canadian skating sensation and double world champion Patrick Chan. Victoria Helgesson’s second exhibition was performed to Bellini’s beautiful aria “Casta Diva” with Malena Ernman. This performance was one of highlights of the evening with its choreography and presentation. Viktoria was shiningly beautiful in her effervescent red dress, truly a “pure goddess”.
The ice acrobats are an important attraction at most ice shows, as they provide variety to regular skating. This time, the show featured the pair of Aidas Reklys and Akop Manoukian. Their program included many interesting elements, such as different salto throws, humorous cartwheels and some comical ice dance moves.
The first opera number, “E lucevan le stelle” from Tosca, was performed by the singer Malena Ernman and Italian ice dancers Anna Capellini-Luca Lanotte. This program first premiered last year in the amphitheater of Verona, at the grand show “Opera on Ice”. The couple’s line’s purity and precision remind me of finely crafted black and white Japanese gravures. Meanwhile their beautifully choreographed “Tosca” program featured all the important elements from the story – love, despair, tension and tragedy.
In their second exhibition, their program was different, featuring a humorous story of the quarrel and reconciliation of a drunk young man and his girfriend set to the song of “That’s Amore” (“Tu vo fa’ L’Americano”).
The talented Swedish skater Alexander Majorov skated a program to Carmen’s famous “Seguidilla”, sung by Malena Ernman. It was specially choreographed for this show and a new style for Majorov, who so far has had rather powerful and technically-oriented programs. This time, his skating had a new, deeper and more emotional character. I really hope that he continues working in this direction as he seems to have a lot of potential with this new style.
Then, it was time to introduce one of the show’s most prominent attractions – the double world champion Miki Ando from Japan. Beautiful Miki’s skating embodies everything I love about ladies’ skating. She is gracious and elegant, her movements pure and precise. Her interpretation is always deep and emotional. Her first exhibition with Malena Ernman was based on an aria from Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi”. Miki Ando’s program contained beautiful figures, perfect triple jumps, amazing spins and a lovely Charlotte spiral in the end.
Her second exhibition was the famous “I am a Thousand Winds”. The anthem-like Irish music combined well with Miki’s expressive style. It was like a beautiful landscape, evoking the power of hope over adversity and was reminiscent of her triumph at last year’s World Championships after the terrible tragedy in her homeland Japan, where the Worlds was originally meant to be held.
The evening’s most beloved performers were the dazzling French ice dance couple Nathalie Pechalat-Fabian Bourzat. Current ice-dance programs are sometimes too acrobatical and lose their dance elements. Pechalat-Bourzat’s “Dirty Dancing” was pure dancing, with it’s rhythm and excitement. The somewhat drowsy audience came alive during this performance and cheered enthusiastically. This continued with their second exhibition, featuring Malena Ernman and the song “Perdus” performed with great refinement.
The show had two especially remarkable numbers. The ice acrobat Emanuelle Balmori is always a sought-after artist at ice galas and her program with a dangling hoop is highly entertaining to watch. It was also great to see Kristoffer Berntsson on the ice again along with the show’s most original number. It was a fascinating presentation with a glowing stick that appeared to float magically in the air. Kristoffer has maintained his artistry and it is a pity that we do not see him that often on the ice.
The show continued and the excitement of the crowd began to grow. Coming next were the biggest stars of the evening. First, the multiple world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, one of the most creative and interesting pairs skaters in skating history. With masterful technique, their programs feature a lot of innovative choreographical elements, as they push the sport forward in a more artistic direction. Their first exhibition was their complex short program to the soundtrack of “Angels and Demons”. At Worlds, they executed one of the most complicated elements in pairs skating, the triple Axel throw. Their second exhibition was the dream-like “The Moon over the Lake”, originally choreographed a year ago for the “Art on Ice” Shanghai and performed with famous pianist Lang Lang. Their interpretation was masterful and the audience rewarded them with one of the biggest applauses of the evening.
The famous Swiss Stéphane Lambiel is now retired from competitive skating but continues to be one of the most popular show skaters, making appearances as one of the main attractions at the most prominent shows in the world. Lambiel is known as a very creative skater who choreographes programs for himself along with the exceptional Swiss choreographer Salomé Brunner. He has also made choreographies for other top skaters, among them Daisuke Takahashi, Denis Ten, Carolina Kostner and Tatsuki Machida. In the first half of the show, Lambiel presented an interesting story to Jamie Cullum’s “Don’t Stop the Music”. In the story, he plays the part of a young man at a party, who begins to think about the deeper meaning of his life and the future. The program also featured several innovative elements invented by Lambiel himself. Lambiel’s second exhibition to Verdi’s “Rigoletto” was performed together with Per-Håkan Precht and was originally also created for “Opera on Ice” in Verona. In this slightly humorous program, Lambiel demonstrated his balletic grace and feel of music.
The show culminated with a performance from the Olympic champion Evan Lysacek, who recently announced his comeback to competitive skating. The Olympic champion was in great shape, demonstrating a lot of technically masterful triple jumps. His energetic “Tango Roxanne” program was a marvelous culmination to the show. The festive mood rose for the last time, as all the skaters returned to the ice with a spectacularly choreographed finale.
“Art on Ice”, with its great variety, is one of the most professional and artistic ice-shows. Still, I heard people complaining about not being allowed to thank artists with flowers, as tossing flowers onto the ice was forbidden. Another problem was that after every performance, the arena was darkened, and the audience wasn’t very sure if they were supposed to clap. I felt a longing for the atmosphere at the two previous shows where Evgeni Plushenko and Stéphane Lambiel were thrown endless bouquets and the audience sang “Happy Birthday” to Lambiel because the show was held on his birthday. People always enjoy a beautiful production but they also want to interact with the stars and want to show their admiration. Using opera music with living singers was a beautiful idea but it didn’t work all that well, even with a star as famous as Malena Ernman. Maybe next year, they could invite a pop music star, so as to draw a large audience.