Putting The Soul In Solstice: Winter Solstice On Ice
Directed by Lawrence Jordan for Automatic Productions and A&E television in 1999, Winter Solstice On Ice hearkened back to the kind of artistically invigorating and truly meaningful work we saw in Toller Cranston's television specials, for instance. The show was hosted by musician Jim Brickman and featured a stellar cast of skaters from around the world interpreting winter and holiday themes from around the world with an array of both live and recorded music as backdrop.
The show's skating cast consisted of Brian Boitano, Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko, Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas, Rory Flack, Alexander Abt, Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen, Caryn Kadavy, The Ice Theatre Of New York and Mandy Wötzel and Ingo Steuer.
One thing that stood out in particularly about this show to me is that there was great attention put into costuming. The cinematography by Rick Siegel was also just so on point and the dreamy outdoor settings just enhanced the moods of each of the pieces. The works skated themselves were a lesson in contrasts, from Rory Flack's "Esawayo" and Drobiazko and Vanagas' "Stars To Share" with music by Samite to softer pieces like Rahkamo and Kokko's performance to Johann Pachelbel's "Canon", each performance had its own distinct, standalone flavor and the sum of all parts contributed to a cohesive whole.
Rahkamo and Kokko's creation to Mark Isham's "Mr. Moto's Penguin (Who'd Be An Eskimo's Wife?)" was full of whimsy and in direct contrast to Alexander Abt's softer "Winter" which was presented on the same snowy outdoor stage.
In my own humble and always outspoken opinion, I would love to see more skating like this on our television sets instead of the overproduced and rather kitschy holiday skating specials that we are accustomed to largely now. Winter Solstice On Ice was a prime example of the kind of true artistry that would give us all something meaningful to celebrate about figure skating if it returned.
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