5 Ice Shows with Ballet “References”

5 Ice Shows with Ballet “References”

These productions have borrowed more than just their names from classical ballet performances. In them, you can hear the music from the ballet or see familiar pas performed on ice.

Carmen by Ilia Averbukh

For the first time, the audience saw this ice musical in 2015. The music by the French composer Georges Bizet served as the musical material, and the recognizable character of fatal Carmen, known to many thanks to the ballet, became the central figure.

The authors not only got the characters of Merimee's story up on skates, but also "blended" the classical musical accompaniment with modern pieces: some of the compositions were written by Roman Ignatiev, known for his participation in other Russian musicals. 

The production turned out epic: more than 80 artists took part in the performance, over 200 costumes were sewn for them, several tons of scenery were made. Carmen on ice was given several hundred times - it is obvious that this performance found its audience and fit in with the classical opera and ballet interpretations of the famous plot. 

Romeo and Juliet by Ilia Averbukh

This ice show premiered in July 2017. In two years, over a million people watched the new version of the eternal love story - so the production deservedly received the status of one of the most successful and popular Russian ice shows. 

The authors used the music by Sergei Prokofiev from the ballet of the same name, as well as works by Mozart, Bach, Mendelssohn, supplementing this range with pieces by contemporary composer Roman Ignatiev. The main cast is packed with stars - seven Olympic champions! More than 400 costumes and over 100 people are involved in the production - the work on the performance was large-scale. Ilia Averbukh once admitted that he was inspired to create the ice musical based on Shakespeare’s tragedy for the most part by the play - numerous dramatic interpretations of this plot. However, one can still see the connection with the classical ballet production in both music and plot.

The Sleeping Beauty. Legend of the Two Kingdoms by Tatiana Navka

The ice show premiered at the end of 2019. Participation of figure skater Alina Zagitova in the production was the major event. In terms of format, it’s a musical with professional figure skaters taking part. Over 1,500 people worked on the show, including professional figure skaters, choreographers, screenwriters, composers and graphic designers. They used the BlackTrax technology, a unique scenographic solution allowing you to synchronize 3D video, graphics and musical parts. 

Although the name of the ice show refers to the name of the classical ballet to the music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, they have little in common, as far as the plot is concerned. Tatiana Navka once compared this production with The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights by Pushkin:  

“Everyone knows Pushkin's Sleeping Beauty, but we didn’t take it because the main character falls asleep right away and sleeps through the whole fairy tale. We decided to diversify it, come up with a move so that everything is much more dynamic, more fascinating, make several storylines.”  

The supporting music in the production is also far from canonical: the artists perform their parts to the accompaniment by Russian pop stars. 

The Nutcracker by Evgeni Plushenko

Five years ago, Evgeni Plushenko already showed The Nutcracker on ice, and now the performance has returned modified. The updated production, which the authors defined as a fairy tale show with ballet, premiered at the end of December 2021. It is based on the classical ballet libretto, and the main audience of the ice performance is children. The show was choreographed by the People's Artist of Russia and ex-principal of the Bolshoi Theater Sergei Filin. In addition to adult professional skaters, children from 3 to 12 years old take part in the show - they are students of the Evgeni Plushenko Figure Skating Academy (Angels of Plushenko), the Armida Ballet School headed by Maria Timofeeva and the Galina Ballerina Ballet Studio. 

The sets used in the production have a 270-degree panoramic view, the front side of the ballet stage is equipped with multimedia scenery. The performance received contradictory reviews, but the musical and storyline sources can be guessed in it unmistakably. 

Swan Lake by Tatiana Navka

The premiere of this show, which the authors designate as a ballet on ice, took place on December 25, 2021. The production combines the skill of figure skaters and dancers with the use of modern technologies. The show features over 40 tons of equipment, including 11 projection surfaces, heavy and light kinetics, as well as state-of-the-art lighting effects that turn the ice surface into a rippling lake. Star figure skaters - multiple champions and soloists of world productions - take part in the ballet on ice. The authors approached the original "text" of the classical ballet quite boldly: they replaced the usual libretto with a new script and added storylines. As for the musical score - the world-famous compositions by Tchaikovsky - it was arranged by the pop stars. 

Tatiana Navka, the author of the idea and the lead performer, said about the production as follows:

“For the first time, Swan Lake was presented in the genre of a fairy tale. Since today there are many versions of Swan Lake - from classical to avant-garde, I’ve got a huge responsibility on my shoulders - to show something absolutely new, something that no one has ever done before. We’ve managed to create a performance that, in terms of its scale, bold visual and scenographic solutions, in large measure surpasses everything that has been created before.”