Reviews

Do you really know the story of Swan Lake?

15 Jun 10 - Have a Go News, Australia - Ara Jansen

IF YOU know the story of Swan Lake, think again. Watch it on ice and you have a show which tells both a classic story and truly allows the swans to take graceful flight.

Director Tony Mercer is widely regarded as the world's foremost creator of contemporary theatre on ice. His Imperial Ice Stars' original production of Swan Lake on Ice was created four years ago in a classical style with elements of contemporary ice dance.

Coming to Perth in Au¬ gust, a new and up-dated two hour production fea tures new sets and costumes while rewriting the story to take contemporary ice dance to a whole new level. Tony - who has just wrapped up an extended international season of Cinderella on Ice - says Tchaikovsky wrote about three and-a-half hours of music for Swan Lake. Along with musical arranger Tim A. Duncan, they've created a soundtrack which he feels is much closer to the composer's original intention of the piece which debuted in 1877.

"I remember seeing Swan Lake a long time ago and thinking that given it was for grown-ups, it didn't really make sense to me," he says. "So in our first production I brought the original story back so there were no unanswered questions. "In Moscow I was able to read Tchaikovsky's original notes and his notations on the music. There's probably about a 39 per cent alteration to what you might know. For example Tchaikovsky has a prologue which explains how Odette has been cursed. Normally we have to just know that but we're using that."

The Imperial Ice Stars comprises 26 Russian skaters who have all won accolades during their competitive skating lives and between them have won around 250 competition medals. The company's youngest skater is 17 and the eldest is in their early 30s. - Using a unique style of storytelling which fuses ice dancing, ballet, gymnastics and acrobatics, the skaters execute stunning feats, some seen only in Olympic arenas and others never before seen.

They perform on a frozen theatre stage (kept at -16C) which allows the audience to be up close when they execute breathtaking triple flips, triple toe loops, double axels, death spirals, camel spins, aerial gymnastics and incredible lifts. Tony says these talented skaters have been given the freedom to experiment outside competitive skating as well as working alongside some of the world's top figure skating coaches and choreographers which has resulted in pushing ice choreography to new limits. He says it's certainly a compliment to see some of those moves finding their way into international competition skating, like the Olympics.

Swan Lake on Ice runs from 13 - 22 August at Burswood Theatre. Tickets on sale through Ticketek 1300 795 012 or www.ticketek.com.au WIN WIN WIN To be in the draw to win a family pass for four to see Swan Lake On Ice, send an envelope to Swan Lake On Ice Comp, c% Have a Go News, PO Box 1042, West Leederville, 6901. Only over 45s eligi¬ ble. Competition closes 30 June, 2010.

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  Cinderella on Ice

  Swan Lake on Ice