We are still catching our breath after this afternoon’s show – The Nutcracker on Ice – at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s an incredible mix of ice dancing, acrobatics, trapeze artists, magic tricks and even dancing with fire – and all to Tchaikovsky’s score performed by the London Concert Orchestra.
The children described the show as “beyond surprising” and “bedazzling” and I can’t disagree. I admit to having always rather preferred ice dance to ballet, so I was a ready convert. Serious ballet fans will no doubt disagree- but to me being able to dance, pirouette, twirl your partner round – lift them above your head with one hand – and do it on skates – has the edge. And the Imperial Ice Stars are a formidable team. Mostly from Russia, the Ukraine and Poland, the performers have won 250 competition medals between them. Many of them have been skating since they were three or four – and you can tell – they approach the ice as we would solid ground. The creative team behind them are all former members of the Russian national skating team and say some of the moves in the show have never been attempted before – not even in the last Winter Olympics – and some are so complex they don’t yet have a name!
During the Christmas Eve party scene in the first act so much was happening, it was hard to know which dancers to watch – although generally the show was stolen by Marie – played by 16 year old Mariia Vygalova and her nutcracker prince, Vladislav Lysol. The nutcracker doll, gymnast Alena Zmeu was equally talented – so rigid and wooden at the beginning I was not sure whether she was actually a doll – but she soon showed how incredibly supple she actually is.
The mouse king and queen went down a storm with the audience – as did all the dancers in Act Two with dances from China, Spain and Arabia – complete with spinning balls of fire – and trapezes.
If you are looking for a show that will entertain you and amaze you, and your parents, and your children – with a Wintery theme – this one would be hard to beat. Again I will let the children have the final say – nine year old Alexander’s words as we left the show : “I want to go skating!”
Nutcracker on Ice runs until January 2nd.