'Cirque de Glace' ice dancers put on quite a show in Jerusalem

Ice, fire, astronauts?

Cirque de Glace show  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Cirque de Glace show
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It was mid-August in Jerusalem, but the workers at the Pais Arena in Jerusalem were handing out blankets to everyone who walked in the doors.
That's because the 11,000-seat arena has been turned into a frigid ice rink first for the Maccabiah games, then for ice skating and now for a acrobatic ice skating show all the way from Russia.
Cirque de Glace, a unique performance combining ice skating, dancing, acrobatics and a little pyrotechnics, premiered Wednesday night in Jerusalem. The shows were slated to run through the weekend, with the final performance on Sunday evening.
Technically, the dancers were flawless with incredible skills, breathtaking jumps and twirls, and impressive feats of acrobatics while dangling in the air.
But the 100-minute show which included a 20-minute break needed more than just jumps and twirls to keep the audience tuned in. To that end, there's a fairly heavy-handed theme of "evolution" imagining the globe from its creation through man's industrialization and the damage inflicted to the environment.
While the show was technically flawless, the storyline left much to be desired. There was a booming English voiceover reciting cliches that was still often hard to hear over the music (and undoubtedly difficult for Hebrew-speaking children to understand). A screen above the arena showed accompanying video clips - some with the subtlety of a hammer, and others that left me scratching my head.
The show begins with the supposed creation of the world, with fireballs popping and a volcano spewing. We move through the creation of the wheel then much too quickly the tire, and before long there are skaters in suits and ties holding newspapers representing Wall Street. While it was clear to understand the symbolism of the dancers with chainsaws chopping down trees to make room for industrialization, when they skated out in white robes carrying torches, I was equally disturbed and confused. There were more costume changes than a Cher concert, literally an astronaut ice dancing number and a woman skating while twirling a flaming hula hoop.
There was much to marvel at during the Cirque de Glace show and some true gasp-worthy moments while skaters twirled in the air and whirled on the ice. But the show was entirely too long and in many parts entirely too kitschy to fully enjoy.