Devised by the performers, led by Alexandre Hamel.
Music by Jasmin Boivin
Reviewer: Elizabeth Vile
Led by Alexandre Hamel the five members of the Montreal based company Le Patin Libre (Free Skate) have created an evening of ice dance like nothing you will have experienced before. The evening is formed of two performance pieces that push the boundaries of ice skating and experiment with a range of physical and emotional elements through group and individual skating routines.
Divided into two parts the performance is held together beautifully by the powerful music created by skater and composer Jasmin Boivin. The music had a strong beat that set the atmosphere very well and cleverly built the tension throughout the pieces. Sound was also created by the skaters themselves through their skates and bodies; these moments were particularly effective and created a range of emotions and images.
Working together as a tight ensemble the performers focused on creating visual pictures and atmosphere over story although there was plenty of opportunity for the audience to create their own stories and each skater clearly put their own personality into the piece.
The experimentation isn’t just confined to the skaters themselves but also to the audience. For the first half the audiences are seated in the ice rink viewing area but in the second half we were invited to sit in a specially constructed area on the ice itself (so wrap up warmly!). This change of perspective and intimacy really changed the atmosphere between the two halves as well as allowing the audience to see the skaters up close. Some lucky people ended up with ice on them after a particularly well timed stop by the performers.
This is not your typical ice show with glitzy costumes and make up, it is real, gritty, and experimental. At times it becomes very intense and the music can get to you at moments, with its continuous, unforgiving beat but overall this is an enjoyable and very interesting piece that crackles with talent and innovation.
Vertical Influences runs at Alexandra Palace Ice Rink till 31st October 2014. | P