When Burlesque On Ice first contacted me via Twitter earlier this year, I can’t deny that I was intrigued. The concept of teaching burlesque performers to ice skate to a high enough standard to perform to paying audiences in a matter of MONTHS seemed like Mission Impossible. And yet, this Wednesday evening, there I was sitting in the press pit of Westfield Shopping Centre with my camera photographing the likes of Vicky Butterfly, Gwendoline L’Amour, Glorian Gray and Felixy Splits whizzing around the ice as the entertainment for the VIP press launch of White City’s new ice rink and official Christmas lights ceremony.
The cast of Burlesque On Ice took to the rink to promote their forthcoming February spectacular with a number of family friendly routines in the cheeky burlesque spirit. Sponsored by Frou Frou Feathers and with lingerie kindly provided by What Katie Did, half of the cast took to the stage for an elegant fan dance routine to start the evening’s proceedings. Gwendoline L’Amour took centre stage with beautiful boa fans, whilst Hollie Deller, Carli Ann Johnson, Kitty Devine and Felixy Splits glided to the corners of the rink.
Here are Kitty and Felixy performing what is known as a ‘spiral’ in ice skating. A move that requires far more balance than I know I have on an icy surface (let along with highly fragile feather fans in my hands too!) In fact, there’s some really great videos of the girls practising their moves over on the Burlesque On Ice Facebook Group. Go check it out!
Also making an appearance alongside the girls was Robert Proctor, performing as Santa during Scarlet Cuffs’ songstress, striptease and skate number. A professional skater and previous cast member of Disney On Ice, Robert performed a two minute solo skate before inviting Scarlet to join him on the ice. Here he is posing mid routine for the press photographers and Westfield video team.
A number of the girls also joined in this routine, including Mia Merode, Ruby Deshabile and Jasz Vegas, all vying for Santa’s attention in festive red and faux fur dresses! Here’s a quick snapshot of Mia Merode going in for an air kiss with Santa on the ice just before Scarlet whizzes past – it was a really fun routine and major high fives to Scarlet for managing to skate AND sing at the same time!
Providing an element of comedy to the number was Glorian Gray, who dressed as a spectacular Christmas tree complete with tinsel and fairy lights. She made my inner child so happy with her perfect timing and comic skills! This is one of my favourite shots of her from the event…
And, this one is probably my favourite photograph of the whole event, with the girls holding Glorian Gray back from launching herself at Scarlet Cuffs for stealing Santa! Burlesque On Ice cast Christmas Card, anyone?
Also jointing the cast for the launch night was Sarah Christou, who performed a brilliant duet with Hollie Deller to the sultry tones of Felixy Splits singing on the stage behind. I’ve always been a fan of isis wings, but they really do come into a world of their own when used on the ice, the fabrics moved so well as the girls floated around the ice.
There was such a great energy between Hollie and Sarah too, which provided an unbelievable amount of shot opportunities. I tell you what though, these two are fast skaters – keeping focus on them while they spiralled and pirouetted was significantly tougher than other numbers! Here’s another of my favourite shots from the evening.
And of course, I had to have a shot of Felixy in her gorgeous sparkly dress on stage, surrounded by giant Christmas presents! It was lovely to hear Felixy sing as I’ve only seen her dancing in the past. What a great voice!
Finally, the full Westfield cast (there’s more of them in the main show!) came on stage to perform a troupe number, featuring some sultry fan moves and group formations, alongside some solo sections by Hollie and Sarah at the front of the ice rink.
Vicky Butterfly also stepped out onto the ice for her first appearance of the evening in an elegant blue leotard with floating fabric train.
The majority of the cast formed a giant spinning wheel towards the end of the finale, which looked like a LOT of fun! I quite fancy having a go at that actually, though maybe one not on the ends, they travel significantly faster than the rest!
And here is the full cast posing at the end of the finale, including some pretty spectacular pyrotechnics around the rink. What a stunning bunch they are! The cast then cleared for choir boy Jack Topping to make his appearance, before retuning to the ice to officially open the ice rink to the public.
It was really great to see the cast performing for the first time on the ice and if anything I’m even more excited about photographing the main show in February now. The cast have come so far in such a short amount of time, so I can’t even begin to imagine what they will be capable of achieving in three months. A massive well done to all involved, particularly to produce Sam for all her hard work and effort that has gone into producing the show. For now though, I’ll leave you with a few aprés-skate photos. Oh, and don’t forget to buy tickets for Burlesque On Ice in February!