Vertical Influences (5 stars)

This article is from 2015

Vertical Influences

credit: Alicia Clarke

Le Patin Libre whips up a snowstorm of contemporary ice dance

Montreal-based ice-skating troupe Le Patin Libre’s last show was a sketch piece with threads of physical comedy that didn’t always come off. They’ve ditched both these modes in Vertical Influences to create something far sleeker and saturated in panache. Not only is this two-act ice extravaganza almost crystal-sharp in choreography, it’s also joyful with subtle wit.

The first act sees tight formations gouge Celtic knots and embroider loops across the ice in dense pack dancing. The five then branch out into solos and evolve their own style – by the end you can feel their freedom, coming together again as a looser flock, with harmony but also individuality.

We change perspectives to sit down on the ice for the second half, and by golly do they know how to use this format to play on our senses; the freezing rushes of air as they fly past, the rising panic as they zoom forwards out of the dark in cold clean formation, the bite of boots on ice.

You can see the wind yank back their clothes, and their faces pushing into the acceleration. You feel it in your own body when watching these skaters up close, and it’s absolutely exhilarating.

Vertical Influences, Assembly at Murrayfield Ice Rink, 623 3030, 23, 28, 29 Aug, times vary, £15 (£12).

Vertical Influences

  • 5 stars

Double-bill of movement, wit, speed and grace. Presented by contemporary ice-skaters Le Patin Libre.