Ice Theatre of NY Honors Paul Wylie
and Lar Lubovitch
by William Gooch
published November 29, 2009
In approximately three months, the Winter Olympics will be upon us. The networks will turn super athletic men in
sparkly onesies and graceful women in sequined skating dresses into media stars. And though we hoop and holler over the triple axels,
quadruple toe loops and combination jumps, it is sometimes easy to forget that figure skating is a lot more than the pyrotechnical
feats we see splashed across the screen.
On October 26, the Ice Theatre of New York reminded audiences that behind the glitzy costumes, strobe lights,
and big jumps is an artform that begins with the simple glide of a thin blade across a smooth, icy surface. Since 1984, the Ice Theatre
of New York has delighted audiences with performances that go beyond athletic prowess and emphasize the beauty and creativity of figure
The 1992 Olympic silver medalist Paul Wylie was the highlight of the evening. Though the triple jumps are gone
from his arsenal, Wylie still has the ability to mesmerize with his elegant lines and musicality. Skating to music by Rodrigo and
Gabriela, Wylie still has the speed, deep edges and warm personality that made him a crowd favorite for over two decades.
Artistic Director Moira North should be commended for bringing in former Graham principal dancer
Jacqulyn Buglisi and Tony-nominated choreographer Lar Lubovitch to choreograph works for the company that require more than jumps and
spins but also integrates theatricality and sophisticated themes. Buglisi’s The Dreame
performed by Elisa Angeli and Tyrrell Gene employs angular, off- center extensions and expressive contractions that are so endemic to
the Graham technique. However, Buglisi softens the familiar Graham-like style with her unique, sculpturally curved movement style,
rendering this ice pas de deux a romantic extension of the lush Franz Lizst score.
Lar Lubovitch’s Tilt-a-Whirl was the hit of the evening. Originally
choreographed for Peggy Fleming and John Curry, this seminal favorite demonstrates that Lubovitch is a master at creating dance pieces
that transcend trends and ice personalities. Choreographed to music by Philip Glass, this piece is a dance compendium of dervish-like
spins, twizzles and circular footwork, all effortlessly strung together as one continuous movement phrase. And ice dancers Elisa Angeli
and Jiri Prochazka rose to the challenge of this difficult but highly entertaining ice pas de
If this program of dances performed by the Ice Theatre of New York is indication of the course this group is
charting, their success is not only guaranteed but they will also expand perceptions of what figure skating is and can be.
williamgooch @ stageandcinema.com
read William Gooch’s interview with Paul Wylie