15 December 2013

South Africa: Sleeping Beauty On Ice - Ballet Meets Cirque Du Soleil


I love Tchaikovsky. It's easy to be evil to the magnificent melodrama of his music, making it perfect for the latest show by Russia's Imperial Ice Stars.

This year's show is Sleeping Beauty on Ice, and everything about it is absolutely astonishing. The music was pre-recorded by the Moscow State Cinematic Orchestra, rather than played live, but the acoustics are so good at Montecasino's Teatro that not having a live orchestra doesn't really detract from the show. Besides, you don't take your eyes off the skaters for a second.

If you read the synopsis it's actually quite a complicated story. The cast can be incredibly eloquent without speaking a word, but I've no idea how well the kids in the audience understood who was who as the characters came and went.

But with ballet, and ice ballet in particular, the plot is often incidental to the spectacle. "If it moves, clap it" as my partner proclaimed. Especially with the Russians, who thrive on our adoration.

The choreography is perfectly matched to the dramatic score, with stunning acrobatic leaps and daring throws contrasting with the ever-present elegant ice dancing. Although the stage is large for a theatre, it's...

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