Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY) was founded in 1984 by Canadian ice dancer Moira North and is dedicated to developing ice skating as a theatrical art form through performances and educational programs. Each year at Rockefeller Rink, ITNY puts together a Lunchtime Ice Concert Series where the artists showcase new works to the public. They also provide skating clinics for public school students as part of their educational outreach programs. Recently, I attended their first concert for 2008 at Rockefeller Rink and as usual, the pieces were great to watch. I always come away with a different appreciation of skating after attending an ITNY performance.
The piece was called Mi Andalucia, a three-part work that joins elements of Andalusian dance, flamenco and bull fighting. The choreography is by world-renown ballroom dance choreographer Peter diFalco. This is the second section, Gitano, which embodies the sorrow and exuberance of flamenco, and is performed by Olympian and co-Artistic Director of ITNY, David Liu. The piece was commissioned by ITNY and the Gertrude Vanderbilt Endowment. David has one of the best body lines in skating that I've ever seen. Like Katherine Healy, David also has extensive ballet and dance training; unlike Katherine, he chose to pursue skating over dance during his competitive years, and the skating world is thankful for that decision.
David told me that when he first started working with Peter on Gitano, he felt as though he had two left feet! The rhythms of the flamenco are "quite complicated" and the footwork was, in the beginning, "challenging." It took a few months for the two men to complete their choreography, as Peter had moved from New York to North Carolina, where he currently resides.
ITNY's next (and final) performance at Rockefeller Rink for the Lunchtime Ice Concert Series is tomorrow, April 2, at 1 p.m. (raindate following day), so if you're around the area, come on by!