The Nutcracker... on Ice

07 Jun 12 - Brisbane Times - Sommer Tothill

International ice dance sensations The Imperial Ice Stars return to Australia this winter with a new production of The Nutcracker on Ice.

Seriously. The Nutcracker. On Ice.

If you’re not sure how to feel about this, let me help you. The appropriate reaction is ‘face-melting excitement’. (Just keep away from the ice.)

The Nutcracker on Ice features four-time figure skating World Champion and dual Olympic gold medallist Evgeny Platov, and dual World Champion Maxim Staviski. Together they attempt high-speed leaps and throws, awe-inspiring acrobatics, and graceful ice dancing.

In case your face hasn’t hit critical temperature yet, let me add that they will be accompanied by a 25-strong cast of World, European and National Championship skaters.

Set in early 1900s St Petersburg, The Nutcracker on Ice is directed by Tony Mercer, the world’s leading creator of contemporary theatre-on-ice. (That’s got to be a small niche to be the king of, but still.) It also features sets by leading Australian scenic designer Eamon D’Arcy, opulent costumes, and magical special effects.

The Imperial Ice Stars’ Artistic Director, Tony Mercer explains, “The art form of ice dance lends itself beautifully to this well-loved tale. Not only does the story entail some beautiful romantic ‘adagios’ with lifts and jumps, but the exotic ‘divertissements’ from Spain, China, Arabia, Russia and Egypt allow us to introduce some gymnastics, flying, acrobatics and special effects.”  

The Nutcracker, just so you know, is traditionally a ballet which doesn’t usually take place on any form of water.

It follows the classic Russian tale of Maria, the little girl whose love brings to life her cherished Nutcracker doll – a magical Christmas gift from her mysterious godfather – leading to adventures with the Mouse King, the enchanted Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

If those last three words sound familiar it’s probably because Tchaikovsky’s ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ is one of the most famous pieces of music ever written.

While you Google that track, here’s how the story came to be a ballet:

The story was originally penned in 1816 by German author E T A Hoffman, and was later adapted by the French writer Alexandre Dumas in 1847. As if that weren’t enough of a pedigree, Tchaikovsky used Dumas’ adaptation to score the ballet, The Nutcracker, which was first performed in St Petersburg in 1892 and has since become a perennial Christmas favourite the world over.

‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ is in your head now, isn’t it?

You’re welcome.

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