It’s probably fair to say that it was in 1984, when Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean performed to Ravel’s Bolero that we sat up and noticed that if you took dancing and you took ice skating and you put them together, the result could be something really quite spectacular.
It is amazing to think that that moment, at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, was almost three decades ago – and the spectacle of watching dancing on ice has not only grown old and tired, but if anything, has grown in popularity. For evidence, look no further than Dancing on Ice, the hugely popular ITV show which came back to our screens for a final series on Sunday. The viewing figures go to show that the public remain hungry for the elegance of skaters dancing across a frozen surface. Lead judge on Dancing on Ice, Robin Cousins, is banking on that, with his show Robin Cousins’ Ice skating into theatres around the country and gliding into Bradford early next month. The show, at the Bradford Alhambra February 4-9, features skaters performing to a soundtrack of modern classics – and original music. For Cousins, who is an Olympic champion in his own right, bringing the show to UK theatres is a continuation of a career in the theatre which was a natural continuation of his role as a performer.
“It’s been 30 years since I created ‘Electric Ice’ which took to the theatrical stage and changed the look of ice shows. I am very excited to bring the daring and dazzling world of figure skating back into an intimate theatrical setting. Both of my previous shows, Electric Ice and Ice Majesty, were created in the UK, and I’m very proud that the World Premiere of Robin Cousins Ice will happen here too.”
When putting an ice rink inside a theatre, you have to have a pretty good reason – not least because of the technical demands.
“The show is not an adaptation of a ballet, or borrowed from the world of musical theatre. There are no judges, just the audience. It is a show where the choreography is driven by the music, where the movement has room to breathe, and the skaters can let their blades do the talking. To be able to move like a skater is every dancer’s dream. To be motionless, yet travelling at great speed. Skaters are able to soar across the frozen stage in ways a dancer can only dream of doing.
“I have been working ‘on ice’ for over 40 years, from my start in regional club competitions to World and Olympic Championships, choreography and performance for film, television, theatre and award winning arena Ice productions. Every new project brings its own challenges and I relish the chance to try something new with tried and tested ideas. I’m always pushing myself in new directions.”
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, 01274 432000.