ICE THEATRE OF NY
May 9, 2022
The air was crisp and chilly as the audience arrayed themselves of the bleachers of Sky
Rink at the Chealsea Piers to watch Ice Theater of New York’s Home Season program. A family
event through and through, the atmosphere of the rink was jovial, and the show—running a tight
50 minutes—left the audience sated but certain to attend again. This is in no small part due to the
immense talent of the performers who collectively hold a considerable number of ice dance and
figure skating titles and awards.
The audience certainly appreciated the technical skills on
display erupting in applause as impressive lifts, turns, and jumps were landed with ease.
Equally compelling was the choreography, as in Mauro Bruni’s Body Parts, which stood
out as a glowing example of modern dance on ice. The five performers wore bright
monochromatic outfits, and moved with the flowing grace of waves crashing on a shore, shifting
seamlessly between gentle lyricism and roiling bedlam.
Often, the dancers arrived to moments of
stillness with knees, hand, and sides pressed against the ice to great dramatic effect.
Between each dance the sound of skates on ice was titillating, the gentle scraping of
dancers setting themselves kept the audience leaning in for the appearance of the skater in the
Such a moment was the opening of Emanuel Sandhu’s performance to Madonna’s
Vogue, where he snapped along to the song’s rhythmic start. Then, oozing with charisma, he deftly executed the choreography by Joanne McLeod and Cesar Valentino -- full of smart footwork and
dynamic gestures that brought the music to life. In a particularly delightful moment, he threw off
his black suit jacket and dynamically spun on the ice, revealing the glittering back of his crisp
dress shirt. But as fun to watch as Vogue was, it’s sparkling queerness put many of the other
dances into an odd perspective, reminding the audience that (much like classical ballet) ice dance
easily falls into heteronoramtive pairings, where men and women perform very specific gender
roles dictated by the form.
But by the end of the show, such worries were far from mind, instead one might marvel
at the map that spread itself across the vast plane of ice, a myriad of rivulets cut into the rink by
skates, tracing how the performance unfolded in gentle arcs, tight spirals, and delicate piles of ice
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Noah Witke Mele