Christmas on Ice 2015
March 28, 2016
By Eva Maria Jangbro (EMJO)
Photos © Eva Maria Jangbro (EMJO)
I’ve been invited by the Majorovs’ to the Christmas skating show in Luleå, Sweden, for several years now, but every year I’ve had to say: “Sorry, my schedule is too tight, I can’t make it.” Finally, this time it worked out, and I got on the plane in my hometown of Malmö in southern Sweden, and landed over three hours later in Luleå, in the northern part of Sweden. Already while taxing I looked out the window of the aircraft, and knew this would be the perfect kick off of Christmas; the absolutely most stunning winter landscape met my eyes and the mood was set.
Sandra, one of the local skaters, picked me up and drove me directly to one of the rinks (there are 4 rinks at the Coop arena in Luleå) where the Helgesson sisters and the Majorov brothers were practicing one of the group numbers for the show. The Helgessons had arrived a few hours before me, a day before the show, so they had time to create this number with the boys. Chuck, the Majorovs’ dog, was patiently watching the number from the rink side, until he smelled the bone I had brought wrapped up as a gift, and it caught his interest just “slightly” more. He clearly showed his discontent with not being allowed to sink his teeth into the gift right away.
Show day and sightseeing
The day of the show, before the dress rehearsal, there was time in the morning to go touristing in Luleå, and visit Gammelstad, located at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia. It was early in the morning (to me anyway), but it sure paid off. It was a very beautiful, clear morning and to watch the sunrise in the winter wonderland by Gammelstad was a very special experience. So what is Gammelstad anyway? I had to look it up and learned it was part of UNESCO’s world heritage. It’s the oldest and largest place of its kind in Sweden, a village built around a 15th-century stone church. The village consists of over 400 wood cabins, made to house travelers who had come from afar to attend church, fairs, markets and other events. Very interesting, and it’s still being used!
Back to the main rink at the arena, which was buzzing with activities.
I asked Alexander Majorov how many years they had put on the show?
“This is the third year. There are mostly volunteers working with it; everyone in the club takes part: parents, children and others too, but sure, some artists are paid to perform and the stage is bought. We do have some sponsors though.”
This time Alexander invited the Helgesson sisters (Viktoria and Joshi) to join the cast of local skaters. But the show offered more than skating, there was also live music, dancers, hockey players and more.
The 90-minute show was close to sold out, and not surprising really, had all the ingredients of a real Christmas show.
Lena Callne was the MC, and she knew how to be short, sharp and interesting when introducing the numbers. We got to meet Santa of course, along with Frosty the snowman, gingerbread men and women, and other Christmas related characters. Even the local junior hockey team was included in one of the numbers.
Coming from southern Sweden where there are no Sami people, it was really nice to listen to Jörgen Stenberg and his joik (traditional Sami singing). The Luleå big band provided most of the live music. In the second act there was even an opportunity for the audience to lift up their voices in a sing-along version of White Christmas (but in Swedish).
A nice surprise for many in the audience was when skater Betty Callne revealed what a great voice she has, singing Feeling good, one of the numbers she did together with Alexander on the ice. The skating numbers were otherwise performed by skaters of all ages from the Luleå Skating Club. Nicolaj Majorov, younger brother of Alexander, skated one of his numbers to La Bohème. This was a tribute to France and the victims of the November 13 attacks, and the French flag was shown on the big screen.
Viktoria and Joshi Helgesson were a nice addition to the show. Viktoria skated to My favorite things and Håll mitt hjärta, and showed everyone she’s still is the graceful skater we had the privilege to watch representing Sweden for so many years. She now works as a coach. Joshi Helgesson performed two solo numbers as well: Let it snow and Love on top, both great upbeat numbers that Joshi does so well, and she got the audience going.
It was clear though who the biggest star in Luleå was, and it was without a doubt: Alexander Majorov! The audience greeted their local hero with the biggest applause and appreciation. Alexander took part in more numbers than any other skaters, perhaps due to the fact that his dad did the same in previous years, but now Alexander stepped up. He skated a hilariously funny number with Betty Callne, had two cold spots, did two more numbers with Betty, and the group number with the Helgesson sisters and his brother to Let the good times roll. A great show indeed!
The show was even streamed and I asked Alexander if this was the first time. “Yes, the thought was that Alexander senior would be able to watch the show on his tablet, which was a fantastic idea the members of the club came up with. It turned out to be not only great for my dad, but a success as well. We had viewers in Japan, Russia, and from all of Sweden. (Alexander senior was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer known as severe MDS and couldn’t attend the show. Read Alexander’s blog to everyone following his career here.
Alexander told me he would not have time for a break during the Christmas and New Year holidays, but needed to catch up on the training he lost while helping his dad get well. Watching his show numbers though didn’t give me the impression he had lost that much practice.
There is so much more to tell, but to get the full picture it would be better to catch a flight to Luleå next December, and you will for sure find not only the perfect winter landscape, but also the perfect show to put you into the Christmas spirit.