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SWAN LAKE

Sensitive spin on an all-time classic

by Mariko Kato

Britain’s world-famous Imperial Ice Stars arrive in Japan for the first time to perform “Swan Lake on Ice” in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture and Tokyo this summer.

Despite the company’s origins, the Imperial Ice Stars are made up mainly of Russians — a country long celebrated for producing both talented ballet dancers and skilled figure skaters.

That said, the performers have been training in Britain since childhood — some since they were as young as four — and have since gone on to win a total of 200 medals at world championships and other competitions.

Since the great classical ballet “Swan Lake” was presented in its most familiar form in 1895, it has been performed regularly around the world.

This particular production, which arrives in Japan after a successful run in the U.K. that ended in June this year, stays loyal to the original score written by Russian composer Tchaikovsky (whose much-loved ballets also include “The Nutcracker” and “The Sleeping Beauty”).

The Imperial Ice Stars carry off a sensitive portrayal of this famous love story, as well as difficult triple flips and axels, on an ice rink whose size is an eighth of those used at international competitions. They will also adorn more than 120 outfits during the show, on a beautiful set bathed in ethereal blue light, created by Eamon D’Arcy, set designer of the opening ceremony at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The Imperial Ice Stars will perform “Swan Lake on Ice” at Hyogo Performing Arts Center on Aug. 22-26. There are matinee performances every day and evening performances on Aug. 22, 24 and 25. Tickets are ¥2,000-¥10,000 (tel. [0798] 68-0255 or visit gcenter- hyogo.jp).

“Swan Lake on Ice” then runs at Tokyo Kosei Nenkin Kaikan in Shinjuku on Aug. 29-Sept. 9, with matinee performances on Aug. 29 and 31, Sept. 1-2, 4 and 7-9. Evening performances are held on Aug. 29-31, Sept. 1 and Sept. 4-6.

Tickets are ¥7,000-¥11,500 (tel. [03] 3234-9999 or visit ints.co.jp/swanlake/index.htm).

For more information on all shows, visit swanlake.jp.