Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews
 

 

Ice Theatre of NY Honors Paul Wylie and Lar Lubovitch 

 

picture - Ice Theater of New Yorkby 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 skating.

 

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.

 

picture - Ice Theater of New YorkArtistic 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 deux.

 

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

 

 
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