100 poorly children enjoy ice show

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ONE hundred children suffering from brain tumours enjoyed an ice skating show last night.

Holiday on Ice show Energia started its run at the Exec Showground in Peterborough with a gala night in aid of Anna’s Hope, which supports children and young people with brain tumours.

Founder of the charity Carole Hughes was invited to take some of the children the charity supports and their families to watch the show.

Carole, of Pilsgate near Stamford, said: “This year’s show Energia was amazing and a real treat for the children and their families who were invited.

“When you’re unwell and undergoing gruelling treatment life can really get you down so a trip to see this show gave everyone a real boost and helped them forget, for a moment, about the illness.”

Proceeds from the ticket sales last night will go to Anna’s Hope and fairies from the charity will also be bucket collecting at each performance.

Energia is an exhilarating journey through the cosmos through the use of back flips, triple axels and the death spiral in the performers’ routines.

A specially composed music score complements choreography by Kevin Cottam, a champion skater who trained and choreographed World and Olympic champions and opening ceremonies.

Melody Le Moal is regarded as the star performer, capable of fire dances and skating on stilts.

Other highlights of the show include a tango between the Sun and Moon, Cirque de Soleil-style clowns Ein and Stein, who go on a journey of scientific discovery, and a Bollywood-style celebration of Diwali, the annual Festival of Light.

Each year presents new challenges for the 64-strong crew, which boasts representatives from 24 different nationalities including much of Europe, Japan, South Korea, USA and Australia.

Hungary’s representative is tour manager Adrienne Szabo, who has been on the tour since October.

She said; “You never get bored of being involved in a show like this – there is nothing to get bored about.

“There will have been meeting months in advance about the show between the people here and our crew of experts to solve any problems.

“Things can always go wrong, but we always try and make sure everything is prepared in advance. Everyone here is professional.”

Three ice technicians are entrusted with making sure the one-metre frozen blocks are in place, after their arrival last Sunday.

An intricate pipework system and continual layered spraying with water seals the joints between the blocks.

Such is the wear and tear on the ice during the show that a tractor is even used to treat the rink during the interval.

The low dimensions of the roofing meant that there were slight changes to the set-up compared to its four other shows in Britain.

Those logistic problems were dealt with long before the performers arrived on Tuesday.

A quick tour of the back of the set revealed rows of wardrobes. Open one up and you’re as likely to see a green reindeer helmet or a seahorse skirt as a conventional costume.

Each wardrobe is labelled with names of the costumes, and the names of those who will be wearing them.

It’s a crucial part of the show – there are 340 costumes, and during each performance the principles will change four or five times, and choral performers six or seven. It’s not a time for poor organisation.

Meanwhile, a huge pot to be used to spew out flames to create fire hoops sat nearby.

And there’s also the essentials – a dishwasher and tumble dryer were lying unpacked in two other cases.

With the hours ticking away, the performers were putting the last touches to their techniques, the pairs gliding across the ice with ease beneath giant LED spheres.

The revolutionary award-winning three-dimensional set design represents the planets and constellations which performers will explore during their interstellar journey.

The giant orbs can open and close to allow the performers to burst free as they pass from Mars to Saturn and the flamboyant planet of Salsa.

Exec Peterborough East of England spokesman Barbara Spiller said: “People expect the show to be like Disney on Ice, but there is no story to this as such, although all the dances are around a theme.

“They all make it look very easy, and wherever you sit here you’ll have a great view of things.”

The audience won’t be the only ones with a great view, as last night’s gala performance was due to feature young skaters from the International School of Skating Peterborough.

Ten talented teens grabbed the opportunity of a lifetime to perform on their own doorstep after an invite by Holiday on Ice UK managing director Jilly Greed.

A specially-choreographed performance called Art on Ice before the start of the second act was the result of weeks of practice with the professionals at Planet Ice in Bretton.

The skaters come from Peterborough and across the East Midlands and have all reached competition standard.

Skating coaches Kate Locks and Sarah Massey said: “We are so proud of the skaters taking part and know the experience is invaluable to them.

“To experience the adrenalin of such a fantastic show and to share the ice with world class skaters is something the youngsters are really excited about.”

The night was also supporting Have a Heart children’s hospices charity and Stamford-based Anna’s

Hope, which each received a £500 donation from ticket sales.

It runs until Sunday. Tickets are still available for all shows, and can be purchased by calling 0844 581131.

Prices range from £24 to £30 with all children at £12 (subject to a booking fee). For more information, visit www.holidayonice.co.uk.