Ice Fantillusion from World of Color to Dreams
April 18, 2017
By Mireille Geurts
Photos © Absolute Skating by Mireille Geurts & Joy
Upcoming weekend the anniversary edition of Ice Fantillusion will take place, called Dreams. We have been told it will be the a culmination of the highlights of the previous shows, combined with all which they've wanted to do forever before, as unfortunately, it will probably also be the last time the show is held. If you're a frequent visitor of Absolute Skating, you will know by now that this show was created by Jenna McCorkell and Kevin Van Der Perren, which they thought up by themselves, they find and cut the music, make the choreography and find or make all costumes themselves. Including the stage design, of which parts get created and painted in their own basement.
"Because then we can work on it in our pyjamas if we want."
We laugh, as we can totally picture that.
Of course we'll also be going this time, starting with the last (dress) rehearsals earlier in the week. With that in mind, I can't help but think about the amazing show that was last year, World of Color.
"It was the best show we've ever done" said Kevin. "Maybe next to Magical, in 2014. Of course we needed to do a 10th edition, we cannot quit at a 9th. But it will be hard to top that one!"
It's true, it was amazing. So to get you in the mood, we'll take a look back. The show was set around a themed format and I asked Kevin how he came up with it.
"It started because I always wanted to do something with The Little Mermaid, as that is basically what kicked off my own career. I saw the movie, then went to Disney on Ice, and tadaa, I wanted to skate. I never used it before, because I wanted to do it properly, meaning when I had enough money! And this was the year! We couldn't do only that, so we were brainstorming how to frame it. The ocean is blue.. don't think I need to explain that –laughs – and then I happened to watch our own dvd of the year before, which consisted of Chicago. It was so awesome to do; I started to think of something in that spirit and that's how I came up with Moulin Rouge. Rouge… red.. and the theme was born!"
And not just the theme, also the title World of Color. The show did not actually start with the colors blue or red, but with green, illustrated by nature, the jungle. It opened with just a giant globe on the ice, big enough for skaters to hide behind it, and the countries were beautifully lit up by sparkling lights. The birth of nature. The globe would open and the skaters appeared. Abbie Forman (pic above) from Great Britain, coached by Kevin and Jenna had the honor of being the first, followed by Amber de Maesschalck. We were a bit surprised to see Amber, as she had missed almost the entire season because of an injury.
"She broke her leg the year before in July and couldn't be on the ice till November. She had to sit in a wheelchair with her leg up. We took her with us to the camps and when she had to go to the bathroom we had to help to keep her leg up. When the plaster came off there was nothing left of the muscles in her leg. I was first afraid it wouldn't be okay again, but in January suddenly everything was better, she could do all jumps, except for the double Axel. Last week she had her first competition again! Unfortunately she twisted her foot there and we had to bring her back to the hospital. I really had a deja vu of last year and was thinking "can't be can't be can't be" so we wanted to be careful, . I told her she can participate at the shows, but not jump."
Frankly, we didn't even notice that. She sparkled, just like before.
The birth of the world included flora and fauna followed by animals, flowers and the first people, tribes, like native Indians. This was all performed in fun and cutely by the smallest skaters of the Ice Fantillusion group. And then it was time for the next theme, blue. The sea was formed, cleverly illustrated by skaters holding a blue cloth and letting it wave over the ice. We enter the World of the Little Mermaid and after a concert by King Triton we see Prince Eric sail his ship and end up in the wild waves of the ocean. This being done by Kevin jumping off the decor in a giant block of foam. Scary!
"Nae –laughs – it's not scary, but the landing is a bit hard. It's difficult to get out fast, and I have to take the skate protectors off still as well. "
To uphold the idea of him drowning, it has to be done quite quickly. He ends up between the ‘waves', and being rescued by Ariel, as the story goes.
"Jenna played Ariel reluctantly. She doesn't skate as much anymore and felt Charlotte Vandersarren would do a better job. Plus she's very scared of the part where she is lifted up the air, but it's needed to show the change from fins to legs."
Jenna did fine, no need for worries and Charlotte had a beautiful part at the end of the show, which I'll get to later. The story is well known; Ariel saves Eric, gets legs and they fall in love. So they have to kiss – always fun for the audience with a real life couple, and Jenna and Kevin are not shy to actually do so. In the middle of all this we're treated to fun and tight programs of the mermaids to Single Ladies, as well as the sailors' together. In the end the dream comes true, it's a big party on land and in the sea and even a chariot arrives.
Fun anecdote, in the show held for school classes a day before the public shows, everybody skated away from the chariot, leaving Abbie, dressed like a crab, sitting on it. She had nowhere to go. Soon they realised and quickly came back to help her off, everybody cracking up.
After the intermission it was time for act 2 and the next color: Red. As we told before, this was inspired by Moulin Rouge.
"I first saw the movie in the cinema right before the Olympics in Salt Lake City. It was actually because I didn't know where to go, what to do, so I ended up there. But I immediately loved it, and the soundtrack is sublime!"
Which of course it is, the music really speaks, but so does the story and the set – there was actually a little windmill – and the costumes were awesome and spot on! Kevin gathered a nice bunch of men – the first time in a while that he had so many in the show – who were all fancily dressed in suits, and they had a very nice and cool standoff with the showgirls dressed in red and black.
"I was afraid it wouldn't work with the guys, because we're actually all on a very different level in skating. One hasn't even done any of the tests yet, the other is level A..but it worked and I'm very proud of them. It's nice to have some more guys, it gives a little more dimension, but I can't invite more seperate skaters, because I don't have more space for solos."
He does place some extra solos before each act, so actually before the story unfolds, which is a really nice initiative and a way to actually introduce some skaters, as there is also time to introduce them, like telling about Katarina Kitarovic, who was their pupil, but had to return to her own country because her mom was just elected president of Croatia.
In Moulin Rouge there is of course a love triangle, this time played by Kevin, Jenna and David Richardson. David is the perfect guy for these kind of roles, he's always very funny. And he helps out a lot, around the show.
"I don't invite him for that!! I tell him that every time, I invite him for his on (and off) ice personality.. but he even helped built the stands this time."
The stands, yeah that was a fun event. The wooden floor, tables and chairs were supposed to be delivered on Tuesday. At the end of the day Kevin called, and oops, they had forgotten and were already closed. But hey, they could pick them up themselves! So they had to arrange own transport – luckily they have a very nice sponsor helping out with that – and at 22 o'clock that night all arrived at the icerink. And then they had to start building…because in the morning the first show for classes would be held. Pfff…
Despite being very helpful and funny, you can guess who ends up winning the heart of Jenna and a big party erupts in the form of the Can Can.
Then a voodoomaster appears, and he transforms the world. An army of ghosts, zombies and skeletons fade away all colors and make place for all kinds of people with sinister plans. Villains like Malificent, Cruella de Ville etc. It also creates a spot for their own synchro team Team Phoenix to show off their talent and for Kevin to play around with fire again.
"The color evil is black, right?? The kids really love to skate these kind of programs and we can close it off with Hallelujah, which is perfect for Charlotte."
Indeed it is. As long as there is faith, good will overcome evil. Charlotte dressed in a gorgeous light pink dress gives an emotional performance to the song, which actually teared me up at least once. Fun anecdote about her, she is always very early for all practices. Except for one day. She wasn't late, but she was one of the last ones to arrive and subsequently got applause from the entire dressing room. She can't only skate well, she also blushes very cutely. ;)
When good overcomes evil, all colors return to the world and also on the ice. Skaters with lights on their feet (and darkness in the rink), skaters with a backpack made of lightsticks have a blast and we, trying to get that on camera do too.Then the lights turn on, and everyone appears again in their colorful costumes, showcasing their individual talents once more and thank the audience for their presence, complete with fireworks.
Which noted the ending of an awesome show. The new show promises a mysterious magical island, a royal ball, Arendelle and much more. We're sure to be overwhelmed again by everything.
If you've ever wanted to see this, grab your chance, because as we've mentioned, it may be your last! Of course we'll be whining all week for them to change their minds, untill we're kicked out of the building – just kidding. But if we'll be succesfull, who knows? I'm sure it will be a loss for the Belgian skating world, as we see those kids grow throughout the show, challenging each other technically and learning to hone their performance skills. Kevin told us last year:
"In September I got the biggest compliment about the show I ever got. Lisa van Genck told me "Kevin, because of the show I laugh more and present better". I reacted "Lisa you got it! Now use it for your own career.""
Exactly. Now, remember how many kids skate in the show, and how many have in the past… We rest our case.
Having said that, dear visitors of AS, we hope to see you next week, in Liederkerke!
Stories can also be told via photos, instead of words. Enjoy the very complete album via below links:
|Solos before Act 1 and 2||Margot Thaeter, Maureen Denaeijer, Romee Verbeke
Bob Rasschaert, Katarina Kitarovic, Laura Balanean, Robyn Ravyts
|Dress Rehearsal||Tuesday till Thursday|
|Show for school classes||Thursday|
For more information, visit the Ice Fantillusion website here