Sleeping Beauty on Ice for holiday season

Pieter Toerien Productions
05/28/2013 13:51:16

Imperial ICE Stars Sleeping Beauty on Ice is the big holiday attraction at The Teatro at Montecasino and Artscape in Cape Town in December and January.

Pieter Toerien presents the world premiere of a brand new production of The Imperial Ice Stars - The Sleeping Beauty On Ice; booking is open.

The Teatro at Montecasino: 5 December 2013 – 12 January 2014

Artscape Opera House: 16 January 2014 – 9 February 2014

Direct from a worldwide tour, international ice dance sensation The Imperial Ice Stars make a triumphant return to SA with The Sleeping Beauty On Ice. This dazzling production opens at The Teatro at Montecasino in December this year, followed by a season at Artscape in January 2014.

The Imperial Ice Stars last visited South Africa in December 2011 with their amazing production of The Nutcracker on ICE, which won them legions of devoted fans, rave reviews and sell-out houses!.

The Imperial Ice Stars are renowned for marrying well-loved classical scores with breathtaking choreography and romantic narrative, creating a fusion of adrenaline-rich ice dancing and dramatic performance. Set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent music, The Sleeping Beauty on Ice tells the timeless fairytale love story through mind-blowing high-speed leaps and throws, graceful and sublime ice dancing, awe-inspiring acrobatics and aerial gymnastics, stunning stilt skating and spectacular visual effects.

Acclaimed Artistic Director Tony Mercer, widely recognised as the world’s leading creator of theatre-on-ice, has teamed with the distinguished Russian Olympic coach Tatiana Tarasova to take contemporary ice dance to a new level, inspiring the 26-strong cast of Olympic, World, European and National Championship skaters to further raise the bar with feats so daring and complex they haven’t yet been named.

Over the last 8 years, this award-winning troupe has performed over 2000 shows in more than 23 countries across five continents, gaining a worldwide following and establishing an unrivalled reputation for their sophisticated portrayals of classic works. Their previous world tours (Cinderella on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice and The Nutcracker on Ice) have been greeted with nightly standing ovations and five-star reviews.

The Sleeping Beauty on Ice will thrill and enchant audiences of all ages during 2013.


The Imperial Ice Stars are the world’s pre-eminent performers of theatrical ice skating within the intimacy of the theatre stage.

Founded in 2004 by James Cundall, one of the leading producers of live entertainment in Asia and Australia, and Tony Mercer, widely regarded as the world’s foremost creator of contemporary theatre on ice, The Imperial Ice Stars have earned an unrivalled international reputation and garnered worldwide critical acclaim for their sophisticated productions. With their innovative interpretations of classic tales, The Imperial Ice Stars continue to break new ground in the genre of ice dancing, elevating the art form and broadening its appeal to a more adult audience.

So far almost four million people across five continents have greeted The Imperial Ice Stars’ adrenaline-infused performances with standing ovations. The Imperial Ice Stars have performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues, from The Royal Albert Hall and Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London to the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore, and from Montreal’s Place des Arts to Johannesburg’s Teatro at Montecasino.

Innovative choreography

Behind the scenes, Tony Mercer assembles a first class creative team for each production, from such eminent athletes as dual Olympic figure skating gold medalist and four-time World Champion Evgeny Platov, quadruple Olympic gymnastics gold medallist Alexei Nemov, and former ice dancing pairs World Champions Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski. Together with Mercer they continue to take ice choreography to new limits, with feats never attempted before in figure skating, as well as all the intricate and thrilling moves seen at the Winter Olympics.

Renowned for their daring on the ice and unique style of storytelling, the troupe of 25 World, European and National Championship skaters, who between them have won more than 250 competition medals, thrill audiences with their skill and athleticism. The productions showcase exhilarating world-class ice dancing within the confines of a theatre stage – breathtaking triple flips, double axels, death spirals, Bielmanns, throw axels, awe-inspiring aerial gymnastics and incredible lifts and lift sequences, unrivalled throughout the ice skating world.

Sumptuous sets and costumes

The Imperial Ice Stars’ productions are also renowned for their sumptuous sets, opulent costumes from some of Russia’s leading designers, spectacular lighting and stunning special effects, which include flying, gymnastics, magic, projection, snow, fire and rain.

The technical team behind The Imperial Ice Stars has perfected the creation of ‘on stage’ ice rinks to provide the ideal skating surface for the performers, and taking only 24 hours to build. Two chillers, over 15km of refrigeration pipes and 600 gallons of water are used to create 14 tonnes of ice.


The Imperial Ice Stars’ first production, The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, opened in Sydney in July 2004 and garnered an unparalleled response from critics and audiences alike. Over the next two years the production crisscrossed the globe playing in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Holland, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong and Spain.

Tony Mercer then set about creating a new interpretation of another Tchaikovsky classic – Swan Lake on Ice. The production opened in Sydney in July 2006 to a rapturous response and went on to tour 15 countries, breaking into new territories such as Japan and Canada, and thereby taking The Imperial Ice Stars to all five continents for the first time. The show was a visual and choreographic treat and played to over 1.5 million people. Swan Lake on Ice became the first ice show to win a theatrical award – the Manchester Evening News ‘Best Special Entertainment’ award.

In a continual attempt to push the boundaries, a second company of skaters was created and in the summer of 2008 The Imperial Ice Stars Treasure Houses Tour brought The Sleeping Beauty on Ice to some of England’s finest stately homes, performed in a magnificent Tented Ice Palace.

Concurrently, The Imperial Ice Stars’ third production, Cinderella on Ice, kicked off its two-year world tour in New Zealand in July 2008. One of the most expensive and artistically challenging ice shows ever created, Cinderella on Ice was a dramatic and novel interpretation of the timeless story, with a stunning new score written by Tim A. Duncan and Edward Barnwell, highly regarded contemporary composers. Cinderella on Ice garnered outstanding reviews across-the-board on its 22-country world tour.

In 2011 a stunning new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker on Ice premiered in South Africa, enjoying best-ever sell-out seasons in Johannesburg and Cape Town, before embarking on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. The show raised the bar yet further with its sumptuous staging and costumes, aerial gymnastics and magic tricks, not to mention the most complex choreography to date.

2011 also saw The Imperial Ice Stars make a triumphant return to London’s Royal Albert Hall with a dynamic new staging of their award-winning masterpiece Swan Lake on Ice, following their acclaimed performance of Cinderella on Ice in 2010.

How the Ice is made

Turning a theatre stage into a temporary ice rink is no easy task…

A strict timetable needs to be followed in order for the ice rink to be ready in time for rehearsal skating at 5:00pm on the Tuesday opening night. The work starts every Monday morning at 7:00am when the technicians arrive at the venue and start unloading two 45ft trucks with the help of 18 theatre technicians. The trucks carry not only the ice rink, but also the costumes, sets, sound and lighting equipment.

The work on piecing the rink together starts with the base and sides of the rink which is made of marine reinforced plywood and waterproof timber for the edging. What looks like a giant baking tray is then built on the theatre stage, into which is laid a 16m x 16m heavy-duty pool liner. The most awkward section of the work now begins, as 15kms of pipe work are laid inside the tray and connected to the header pipes before being spaced out across the base of the tray and secured. The spacing is incredibly important and must be exact. If not, sections of the rink will not freeze…

After everything is connected on the stage, the header pipes are connected to the chiller units outside the theatre and the system starts to fill with a mixture of glycol (antifreeze) and water. Once this is circulating throughout the pipes the chillers are turned down to a temperature of minus 15 degrees. The outside of the pipes frost over and at this point four tonnes of crushed ice are spread over the pipes. This speeds up the ice making process. The time now has usually reached 6:00pm on the Monday evening.

Overnight and throughout Tuesday, the rink is sprayed carefully every 15 minutes until there is some three inches of thickness achieved. This will take until approximately 3:00pm in the afternoon, when final dressings are given to the top of the ice surface in order that it is perfectly smooth for the rehearsal and performance, about 34 hours after work began.

Once the rink is completed, the surface temperature is constantly monitored day and night throughout our stay at the theatre. In addition to this, during the interval and after each performance of the show, the surface is scraped and resurfaced with hot water to keep it as smooth as possible.


- 14 tonnes of ice are created in the production – the same weight as nearly 3 elephants.
- 2,500 litres of anti-freeze are used – enough to fill 100 car cooling systems.
- The ice reaches temperatures of minus 15 degrees C, three times colder than your household freezer.
- In a theatre, the ice rink takes over 140 man-hours to build but only 30 man-hours to dismantle.
- The show always requests a hot water supply when “dressing” the ice rink because hot water freezes quicker than cold, the Mpemba effect.
- In the last year during our show dismantling, there has been approximately 26,500 shovelfuls of ice deposited from the stage.


- The Imperial Ice Stars have performed to nearly 3 million people across five continents and have toured in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, UK, Germany, Spain, Holland, France, Belgium, Finland, Monaco, South Africa, Canada, Russia and even in Cyprus in an outdoor amphitheatre in temperatures of 40C!

- The Imperial Ice Stars are the only ice skating company to have won a theatrical award – they were awarded the Manchester Evening News ‘Best Special Entertainment’ for their production Swan Lake on Ice in 2007.

- Some of the skating moves performed by The Imperial Ice Stars have never been attempted before, either in competition or on the stage (not even at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics), and are so complex they haven’t been named yet.

- The performers between them have won over 250 competition medals.

- Some of The Imperial Ice Stars started skating from as young as two years of age.

- 44 people tour with the show including performers, technicians and a doctor, with a further 17 people required in each venue.

- An average member of the company has travelled around 115,000miles. In a Boeing 747 that would take 230hrs and is the equivalent of going around the earth nearly 5 times.

- There are 4 working couples on the tour.

- The performers rehearsed 9 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 7 weeks to pull the show together, and they rehearse for 3 hours each day before the show.

- 25 pairs of skates and 50 sets of blades are carried with the troupe on tour.

- To freight the whole show is approx 25,000kg or equivalent of 70 grand pianos

- During a year, our flying pieces on stage will move approx 27,000m during shows.

Full show information can be found at

Pieter Toerien presents the World Premiere of a brand new production of


THE TEATRO AT MONTECASINO: 5 December 2013 – 12 January 2014

ARTSCAPE OPERA HOUSE: 16 January 2014 – 9 February 2014

Performances: Tue – Fri at 7:30pm, Sat at 2:30pm and 7:30pm, Sun at 2pm and 6pm

- Tuesdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 6pm: R100, R200, R275, R350
- All other performances: R150, R250, R325, R400
- Special Family Discount packages available – enquire at the Box Office 011 511 1818

Box Office: 011 511 1818 or 011 340 8000

Please forward all Joburg Media requests to 011 511 1988.
Related Venues:
Artscape Theatre Complex, DF Malan Street Foreshore Cape Town Western Cape South Africa
Montecasino Complex, Fourways Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa