I’m intrigued by Theater On Ice (TOI). I heard about it several years ago via Facebook and it appealed to me. While I have participated in dance shows on stage, I had never seen anything like this and it always sounded like a lot of fun. In Canada, we don’t have TOI competitions and apart from Patin Libre , we have no professional TOI groups either. The closest we come are figure skating club’s year end shows; these can be major productions, especially in smaller communities where pretty much the whole town gets involved. So, this week, I did a bit of research this week to learn more and I discovered how popular this event is in US and Europe. And yes, there are adult Theater on Ice events!
Theater On Ice is a form of competitive figure skating which combines the grace of ice skating with the excitement of theater and dance. Teams consist of between 8 and 30 skaters and solo skating is discouraged, although it is permitted in limited amounts if it enhances the overall telling of the story. The programs are judged on the basis of a “technique of performance” and “artistic” marks. There are many club TOI teams and competitions around the in the US. It seems to me like it is a cross between Showcase and Synchro events.
As in a dance performance, the production must be meaningful and use symbolism to allow the audience to feel emotions through simple suggestive elements. Theater On Ice skaters must express imagination and give shape to abstract images thanks to body gesture.
As in a synchro competition, two competitive programs may be skated: the choreographic exercise and the long program.
Choreographic Exercise is based on three elements: theme, choreographic process, and type of gesture or movement. No scenery or props are allowed. Natural or minimal make-up is required and hair must be worn pulled back or in a bun and secured with plain barrettes. Team members must wear all plain black – including legs and long sleeves on arms. In fact, any violation of this dress code will be a 0.1 deduction.
The Free Skate performance should be original, and express a theme, emotion or story. Like in Showcase events, vocal music is allowed and teams may use costumes, props and even scenery to help tell their stories.
There is also a professional Theater on Ice company as well, see below for a video of a work created by Ice Theater of New York.
Founded in 1984 by Moira North, Ice Theatre is the nation’s first non-profit ice dancing ensemble to be awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts. Modeled as a dance company, Ice Theatre has trained a professional ensemble of skaters and built a critically acclaimed repertory of performance pieces that have been presented both nationally and internationally. The enormously talented cast of Ice Theatre is comprised of national and international champions. See the video below for an example of their work.
Do you skate in Theater On Ice? Send us a video or picture of your team and tell us how often you practice, and if you are in an adult or mixed team.