Le Patin Libre present, in their latest show
We become shocked and mesmerised as they skate up close, staring us down, causing an array of responses and emotions from the audience, and an awe-inspiring atmosphere.
One of the biggest challenges this company faces, in trying to reinvent the art of figure skating, is how to transform a bland and freezing cold ice rink into a theatrical space. In their first piece called Influences, the audience are positioned on one side of the rink and we watch the performance from above. The idea for this first piece is that the performers are individually and as a group trying to find harmony. This seems to resonate with us as an audience as we are trying to get used to the idea of sitting in an ice rink watching art, while they experiment and get used to the space.
However, although this first piece is beautiful to watch, it's only a starter to whet our appetites. By being positioned above the skaters, it means we feel very distanced and out of the loop; their movements and tricks don't come across as spectacular as they might do otherwise.
But in the second half the group really comes alive. We change position and are made to sit on chairs on the actual ice. Our whole perspective of these skaters changes as we share eye level with them, turning the stage into a deep, vast space. There are some truly spectacular moments as the performers can now play off the audience. We become shocked and mesmerised as they skate up close, staring us down, causing an array of responses and emotions from the audience, and an awe-inspiring atmosphere.
This is a show which feels somewhat in its infancy as the group continue to experiment with turning an ice rink into a theatrical space. However, their graceful movements and beautiful choreography means that we can definitely expect to see even greater things from them in the future.