“Art on Ice” in Stockholm

It was great to see interesting skating show “Art on Ice” coming this year to Sweden. Globen Arena in Stockholm is one of the most beautiful ice arenas with its interesting spherical outside view lit with colors in the evening. The arena also has great facilities for skaters and spectators.

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“Art on Ice” is a great quality show which is highly popular in its origin country of Switzerland. It is not just only a figure skating gala. The aim of the organizers is to offer variety and have an original mixture of figure skaters, singers, dangers, exciting visuals and lighting effects.
The creators of the show have such exquisite artistic taste. I have seen several different shows try to combine singing and skating but “Art on Ice”  does it best, and always make a highly creative and unique show. The “Art on Ice”  team always has a different concept for their show, this year the theme was “Magic world”.

Before the main show, young Swedish skaters showed up to perform their skills.

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“Art on Ice” opened with one of their most impressive numbers called “Energia”. In an enigmatic blue light, the Swedish skater Kristoffer Berntsson drew amazing figures with a light stick. Then, beautiful “fairies of light” appeared, which included the Swiss European champion, Sarah Meier. Her performance had many spectacular moments. The whole concept was very poetic and somewhat reminiscent of the movie “Avatar”.

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The host of the show was René Bazinet from Cirque du Soleil. Swiss media criticized him a bit,  however, his German and English comments were useful for the more international audience as in past years the show moderating has been only in Swiss-german.

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The white figures appeared on the ice that was smooth like a mirror. The fancy costumes of the group skaters reminded me a bit of costumes from the movie “Conan the Barbarian”. Among the group was the main skating star, the two-time world champion Stéphane Lambiel. Surprisingly he combined skating with singing with the young singer Larissa Evans. Stéphane has a lovely voice and charmed the audience with his artistry.

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Sweden’s Alexander Majorov gave an intriguing performance. His program was very intense and passionate and was reminiscent of “Phantom of the Opera”. His costume was also spectacular – he wore a white mask and a had a white flowing sheet in the first half of his program.

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The show’s first part was a collaboration between the skaters and the Swiss soul singer Seven. I greatly admired the singer, who had a very sincere and natural style.

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Young Russian champion Adelina Sotnikova was a lovely addition to the show. Her performance was entertaining, while having great skating skills.

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One of the most interesting and deep pieces in the show was Aliona Savchenko-Robin Szolkowy’s who skated to Seven’s “Windows, Shadows, Roses, Cages”. It’s a special song with its psychological content and gripping refrain. The skating drew the same beautiful patterns as the song, and skaters costumes were very fitting as well.

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Following this, the next musical performance was by 2Cellos, made up of two charismatic cello players Luca Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. Their music was very inventive and a real treat. It was accompanied with exciting special effects. In one part of the song, a vertical beam of light began to shine. Then, we were treated to an illusion where a human figure (the acrobate Emanuelle Balmori) was seemingly walking on a beam of light.

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It’s important for the “Art on Ice” to have two leading stars from Switzerland, its home country –two time world champion Stéphane Lambiel and 2011 year european champion Sarah Meier. I was a fan of Sarah when she competed and I am glad to see her in galas. I love her classical and beautiful style, with precise spins, spirals and perfect polish in her moves.

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Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov make up a beautiful skating pair. They skated to 2Cellos “Benedictus”, which was as beautiful as their skating. The combination of skating and music was like a flow of magic over ther ice. The skaters gave a marvelous performance, with amazing chemistry and dazzling skill.

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The French champion Florent Amodio was next after replacing Evgeni Plushenko when the latter withdrew. Amodio gave a spectacular and energetic performance, with crowd-pleasing numbers filled with electricity and spirit. He had great flair during the performance. After his silver medal at the European Championships he is in really good shape and hit all of his jumps perfectly.

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Every show would be honored to have the classy show skater Shizuka Arakawa. The Japanese olympic champion is always amazing with her great shape and marvelous programs with beatiful artistry. She gave a great impression with her flawless technique, such as the perfect execution of the difficult 2axel-3toeloop combo in her “Swan lake” program.

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The organizers had a clever idea for that piece, as they combined Shizuka’s elegant and classic performance with a comic performance by Russian acrobats Vladimir Besedin and Alexei Polishuk.

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The show’s first part ended with Stéphane Lambiel’s performance to the Rolling Stones rock tune “Paint it Black”. The choice was novel and unexpected, as this was the first time Stéphane had used rock music.

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He said that he wanted to have two different programs, with one being energetic and crazy. “I had already chosen music from Leona Lewis songs for my program, “Run” and then I was looking for something very different, very energetic and crazy. “Run” is romantic and passionate and I wanted to break this kind of lines and do something more wild. I was hearing many songs and I found that “Paint it black” was something interesting for me, something new.” The program was electrifying, as Stephane skated in a costume that made it seem like he had tattoos. His powerful performance seized the audience and brought them into a wild psychedelic world.

It was a pleasure to see Swedish star Viktoria Helgesson open the second half of the show. Her appearance was so colorful and frisky, having pink hair and looking a little like a doll in her white dress.

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This year, “Art on Ice” paid homage to two of its former singing stars – Robin Gibb and Donna Summer who passed away last year. As credit to the great singers, the show featured parts of their previous programs, such as Lambiel’s piece to Robin Gibbs “Stayin’ Alive”, Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” and Sarah Meier’s piece to “Like a Woman”.

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The rest of the show was headed by Leona Lewis. She was introduced with captivating light effects as a dancer crew gave the diva worthy entrance. I greatly enjoyed this performance.

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Then, Leona Lewis performed mostly her beautiful ballades like such as “Bleeding Love” and “Happy”, “A moment like this”, “Better in Time”, “Run”, “Fireflies”. The skaters performances to these songs were fittingly soft and filled with romantic movement. Acrobate Emanuelle Balmori did an interesting appearance on her hoop to Lewis’ “Fireflies”.

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Shizuka Arakawa gave another magnificent performance to song “Happy” wearing a marvelous glittering dress.

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Aliona Savchenko-Robin Szolkowy and Tatiana Volosozhar-Maxim Trankov performed well-fitting romantic stories to Leona Lewis songs “Happy” and “Better in Time”.

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The climax of Leona’s songs was Lambiel’s touching “Run” where he told a story of human feeling and love which you need but then sometimes want to run away. And in the end you realize – far or wherever, you cannot live without.

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