Do you like dance, ice-skating, art, fantastic music and Canadians? We just found your perfect Melbourne Festival show.
Canada’s Le Patin Libre realised the possibilities opened up when you combine ice-skating with contemporary dance. During their show, Vertical Influences, five performers discard the classic figure skating images of sequined outfits and tragically tacky music in favour of adrenaline-pumping athletics and theatrical sophistication.
The show is held at Dockland’s only ice skating ring on the same court that is often used by Australia’s ice skating league (yes, we do have one of those). As we took our places high up on the grandstand, so as to look over the protective Perspex walls, we were told that the show would be split into two performances.
The first show was fantastic, with just enough hints at a narrative plot to keep the audience wrapped up in the athletic and beautifully choreographed dance. After the audience paused for intermission by defrosting next to the bar, we were guided back into the stadium and down onto the ice for the second show. This change of perspective from high above to the performers level made a huge impact on the experience.
The freedom that ice-skating allowed for the choreography means many of the dancers gliding movements are unlike any other form of contemporary dance you might have seen. The skill of the performers, technical expertise of the lighting, the unusual setting and a moving musical score made ‘Vertical Influences’ one of the best shows we have seen this year.
Tomas Zagoda is a filmmaker, writer, coffee addict and tall person who does not play basketball. You can follow him @TomasZagoda