Spectacularly splendid and chillingly beautiful, Nutcracker on Ice was everything that I had ever imagined: a sophisticated portrayal of a classic 1816 piece of literature through the use of complex and daring manoeuvres on the ice. Being an ice skater myself, I was in awe at the various spins, jumps, footwork and other intricate and challenging moves performed on ice skates. The Imperial Ice Stars consists of 26 Olympic, World, European and National Championship skaters. They astounded and mesmerised the audience with their adrenaline-rich, dramatic performance, all within the intimate setting of a frozen theater stage.
It was a mean feat to turn the Grand Theater at Marina Bay Sands into a temporary ice rink. The rink was pieced together using marine reinforced plywood and waterproof timber for the edging and turned it into what looked like an enormous baking tray. About 14 tonnes of ice were created and 2,500 litres of anti-freeze used for this production. It took about 140 man-hours to build the rink but only 30 man-hours to dismantle! How I longed to be on that temporary ice rink and be part of the amazing crew of figure skaters.
The performance was split into two acts. Act 1 introduces us to the main character, Marie (played by the exquisite Anastasia Ignatyeva or Maria Mukhortova), and her family as they celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve in 19th century St Petersburg, Russia. There were many jumps executed by the performers as the guests and the hosts danced in the family home of Dr. Pavlov, the father of Marie. They ranged from toe loops to flips to axels and salchows. Of course, this figure skating terminology may puzzle a non-skater. But, do not be alarmed for these beautifully graceful moves can be appreciated even without understanding these complicated terminology.
Svetlana Nalimova added humor to the Christmas Party in Act 1 with her hilarious antics as Marie’s grandmother. Born in Ekaterinburg, Svetlana started skating at the age of five, where she took her first steps on the ice with her mother. In 1984, Svetlana won the Cup of Russia and became a member of the National Team of Russia, going on to compete and win medals in many international competitions. Clearly, her professional skating abilities shone through that night as she played with her walking stick on the ice, pretending to fumble and tumble.
After a short intermission, Act 2 started where we were entertained by the delightful performance of the talented and suave Nutcracker Prince (played by Bodgen Berenzenko or Artur Minchuk) and his Marie as they travelled to his Kingdom of Sweets. The Prince introduced Marie to the Sugar Plum Fairy where she performed her most famous dance, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to the enchanting music of Tchaikovsky.
I am a huge fan of Tchaikovsky and his pieces. This incredibly talented genius wrote many classical repertoire for concerts, theatrical plays including the ballets of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and of course, The Nutcracker. I fell in love with this magnificent piece when I first chanced upon it as a little girl. It is the most in-depth classical piece I have ever heard. And the orchestra for this performance did justice to this brilliant work with precision and articulation of every single note making the music perfectly balanced, sending its warmth and charm to the audience.
Not to be outdone by the superbly graceful performance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Chocolat, a group of Spanish dancers, amazed us with their swirling skirts and castanets clicking as they danced to the rhythms of exciting flamenco music. I was particularly impressed by the performance from Le Café from Arabia where the pair performed a stunning and daring dance in the air. No words can articulate this amazing dance and I shall let the photo speak for itself for a picture says a thousand words.
I could go on forever gushing about this magnificent display of acrobatic skills, ballet and ice skating combined but I shall not bore you with anymore details. To experience first-hand this wonderful display of intricate dance moves, do catch this amazing performance by the Imperial Ice Stars at the Marina Bay Sands. Hurry to get your tickets now (at www.MarinaBaySands.com/Ticketing) as the amazing cast will perform the last show on 28 October 2012.