Swan Lake cuts ice

02 Jul 10 - Herald Sun, Australia -

IN a taste of what Melbourne audiences can expect, the world premiere of Swan Lake on Ice received a standing ovation on its opening night in New Zealand.

The skaters wowed the audience with rings of fire, sword fights and breathtaking lifts in their interpretation of the ballet.

This stylish production in Christchurch was worlds away from Disney on Ice. The troupe, kicking off a two-year tour that will land in Melbourne on August 3, consists of former Russian champions and top competitive skaters with more than 250 medals between them.

The Imperial Ice Stars last brought Swan Lake on Ice to Australia in 2006 but this production features new choreography, moves and story ideas. It combines sport skating, ice dancing, acrobatics and ballet. Freed from the rigid rules of competition skating, the skaters thrilled with flashy, show-off moves including backflips and double lifts.

A move where a skater spun unsupported on her partner's head drew a gasp from the audience. Artistic director Tony Mercer, who formed the Imperial Stars seven years ago, said Swan Lake was more than ballet on ice.''There's lots of stuff that we've created that nobody has ever seen before,'' he said.

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