Fri, Jan 06, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Holiday on ice skates into town

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hollywood on Ice , one of the world's most popular shows is being performed at the newly opened Taipei Arena.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF COURTESY OF TAIA

The glamour and excitement of Hollywood comes to Taipei this weekend, when the world famous Holiday on Ice team performs its two-and-a-half-hour spectacular Hollywood at the Taipei Arena (台北巨蛋) and takes local audiences on a delightful movie-based journey that incorporates magical moments from some of Hollywood's finest musicals, historical epics, comedies, love stories, thrillers and far-flung science fiction flicks.

Formed in 1943 by Carl Snyder and Donn Arden, they reportedly chose the name Holiday on Ice for the simple reason that the show debuted during the Christmas holidays. It has since become the oldest and most respected ice-skating performance group in history.

Since being founded over 60 years ago Holiday on Ice has traversed the globe and performed in front of a wide array of audiences. Holiday on Ice shows have taken place in 620 towns and cities in 80 countries and have been seen by a staggering 300 million people. This means that since 1948 the show has, on average, generated audience figures of roughly 5 million people per year.

Some of the show's most famous fans over the years have included Soong May-ling (宋美齡), also known as Madame Chiang Kai-shek who was reportedly bowled over by the performance she saw in Taipei in 1962; former Indian prime minister Nehru and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, who saw Holiday on Ice in a sweltering Mumbai in 1959; Nikita Krushchev who saw the show when it broke the frosting of the Cold War and debuted behind the Iron Curtain in Moscow in 1959; former Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan who attended the Spartacus show in Tel Aviv in 1972; and Princess Diana, who was known to visit the cast and crew backstage whenever it performed in London.

The current Hollywood show, which is the 45th special show to be produced by the skating company since it began introducing themes in 1957, was first performed in 2002 and cost an estimated 4 million euros (NT$156million) to produce. It was created by Holiday on Ice's long serving creative director Anthony van Laast and is choreographed by the UK's Olympic gold medal winning ice skater Robin Cousins.

Holiday on Ice: Hollywood is a fast paced, dazzling show that is guaranteed to conjure up fond memories. Each scene is accompanied by music typical of old films, with many of the musical scores adapted from the movies themselves. From the early silent movies of Charlie Chaplin to the glitz of Busby Berkeley musicals and present-day blockbusters, the ice show re-enacts some of the most famous scenes from a wide array of movies.

When the skaters aren't taking on the roles of Tinsel Town favorites such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the ice floor is transformed into a giant film studio and the cast of Holiday on Ice-Hollywood treats the audience to a behind the scene glimpse of what its like to make a movie, albeit on ice. Regardless of whether the skaters are re-enacting a high-energy sequence from Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock or a more sedate love scene from Doctor Zhivago, the skater's costumes, acrobatics and figure skating are all equally impressive.

On a passing note there is a word of warning for readers planning to take the icy trip to Tinsel Town this weekend -- the taking of photographs with a flash unit is strictly forbidden. Camera flashes can, according to Holiday on Ice's Web site,

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