On the evening of October 18th, one could notice a long line in front of the freshly built Tondiraba Ice Hall in Tallinn, Estonia; that impressive was the line that the event had to be delayed for 20 entire minutes… That was the night Evgeni Plushenko and his „Kings on Ice” show highlighted the capital of Estonia; and for a small Northern country like this one, „Kings on Ice” was a massive show, comparable only to the European Figure Skating Championships that took place here in January 2010.
And, as if we were to draw a symbolic circle between then and now, in 2010 Evgeni Plushenko won in Tallinn his 6th out of 7 European crowns, whilst the silver and the bronze were claimed by Stéphane Lambiel and Brian Joubert – and, five years later, all three medalists came back to Tallinn, for „Kings on Ice”. Tomáš Verner and Kiira Korpi were too among the contestants of 2010 Europeans – and returned to Estonia this year, as part of the cast. And, to the joy and enthusiasm of the audience, almost every participant in the show performed not one, but two exhibition routines.
by Inna Polotnyanaya and Ia Remmel
It took Kiira Korpi 2 hours to get from her hometown, Helsinki, to Tallinn – and Kiira was a special guest of this particular edition of „Kings on Ice”. Her first performance was playful and daring, while in the second part she had shown herself in a more traditional and romantic fashion, skating to „Skinny Love” by Birdy. (click on the landscape photos to enlarge)
From the local skaters, a new Estonian hope, Johanna Allik, skated an attractive show number. Johanna tried ice-dancing for some years, but came back to singles and she is now training with former top skater Elena Glebova, who’s also the Tondiraba Ice Hall director.
As for Tomáš Verner, he first let the audience enjoy his skating to Tom Odell’s Another Love – and, after the break, he decided to get naughty, performing, more or a less, a striptease number on ice, to the famous „I’m sexy and I know it”.
Brian Joubert remained true to himself – heroic themes, spectacular and energetic step sequences, with lots of snow spray from his blades. The result? The public in Tondiraba Ice Hall was ecstatic, shouting and applauding the World and three-time European Champion.
With even more emotion was greeted by the crowd the Swiss Stéphane Lambiel. His first program in the gala – to Tom Odell’s Sense – made the audience hold their breath: a very intimate, intense routine, „speaking” about painful, serious topics, which reminded everyone of contemporary ballet, through Stéphane’s bold, effusive movements and unique style of skating. To the end of this particular exhibition program, there’s a poignant segment with two other skaters who are like angels preventing a soul from leaving this world. „It’s a dialogue between the mind and the heart”, Stéphane said about this program.
His second exhibition routine, to “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot, was originally made for Carolina Kostner’s grandiose open-air show in Verona – and Stéphane Lambiel demonstrated pure beauty, grace and a marvelous musical sense.
One special group number – already a tradition of „Kings on Ice” shows – featured all „4 Kings”, showing their strengths and aces: Evgeni Plushenko, Stéphane Lambiel, Brian Joubert, Tomáš Verner.
The host of the show, Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko, closed both parts of the gala. He first introduced his new short program to Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana: a powerful, famous piece of music which, combined to his unique skating style, made fans go absolutely nuts.
In the end, the skater whose titles took a couple of minutes to announce decided to get nostalgic and recall the music of his first Olympic triumph. Evgeni Plushenko skated to “Tosca Fantasy”, accompanied by his friend and composer Edvin Marton and his one-of-a-kind Stradivarius violin. At 32, the Russian legend didn’t loose his charisma – or his fans. He actually seemed to be on top of his game in Tallinn, successfully executing a series of triple Axels during the show.
But the show led by Ari Zakarian always includes interesting and aesthetically pleasing acrobatic numbers – such as ones executed by the French skater-acrobat Marie-Pierre Leray.
Both adagio pairs – the masterful and experienced Fiona Zaldua-Dmitry Sukhanov and the new pair Anette Dytrt-Yannick Bonheur – offered variety and enthralled the audience with their complicated and spectacular lifts.
But „Kings on Ice” always features a dangerous acrobatic trick – in this case, a jump over a car, performed by Sergey Yakimenko.
Additional members of the cast were skaters from Evgeni Plushenko’s “Snow King” show, whose LED-light costumes looked striking in the darkness.
At the end of the show in Tallinn, the participants indulged the fans with another two collective performances. Not to mention the audience didn’t seem to want to let the skaters go – so Evgeni Plushenko, always in a good mood, promised to pay a visit next year. Well, the audience in Estonia is already waiting…
2015 Kings on Ice in Tallinn: PHOTOS from the rehearsals
All in all, they – and by “they” we mean the entire cast of “Kings on Ice” – had a lot of fun in Tondiraba Ice Hall in Tallinn. Just look at the following pictures, taken during rehearsals…