Ice Theatre of New York is currently preparing for their annual gala on Monday, October 27. Founded in 1985 by ice dancer Moira North, Ice Theatre is dedicated to developing ice skating as a theatrical art form through performances and educational programs. This year's gala will honor two-time Olympian Nancy Kerrigan and volunteer Joan Erdheim. The festivities begin with performances by the Ice Theatre ensemble at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, followed by cocktails and dinner at The Lighthouse (both on Pier 61 at Chelsea Piers). Nancy’s friend and fellow Olympian, Paul Wylie, will emcee the event. Last week I watched some of the rehearsals at Sky Rink and for the life of me, I have no idea how these skaters memorize all these moves!
I had a chance to chat with Moira as well as Douglas Webster, a choreographer for the show, about some of the pieces that will be performed at the gala. They were excited to be presenting Appalachia Waltz, an 11-minute ice ballet, which was originally performed in 1997. Back then, modern dance choreographer JoAnna Mendl Shaw and ice choreographer Douglas approached Moira separately, without knowing one another, and expressed interest in choreographing for the same piece of music. Because Moira had just one commission of the piece from the arts council, she suggested a collaboration and to this day, Douglas told me it remains one of his favorite ice dancing pieces.
The ensemble will also be performing Skater's Swingtime Waltz (a piece choreographed by Douglas where he loves the 40s-styled costumes), a piece by contemporary choreographer Susan Marshall called Low Duet, and the finale, which is a restaging of an excerpt from Footloose on Ice. Douglas played the reverand on Footloose on Ice, starring Nancy Kerrigan, and he said that this was one of her favorite numbers, so they will be reliving some great memories. By the way, Douglas has choreographed for Disney's Worlds of Fantasy, High School Musical: The Ice Tour, and many others and was off to Los Angeles as the associate choreographer for Stars on Ice. After the Ice Theatre gala, he'll be on a plane to Germany to choreograph The Wizard of Oz. Ah, the life of an internationally renowned choreographer...
For more information about Ice Theatre of New York and the 2008 gala, contact them at (212) 929-5811 or via e-mail at itny[AT]icetheatre[DOT]org. Don't forget to replace [AT] with @ and [DOT] with .