WEST ORANGE, NJ — During its premiere tour this fall, Ice Dance International (IDI), a new ice dance company founded by choreographer Douglas Webster and ballet icon Edward Villella, will perform its original repertory ICE/DANCE 2016 at the Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange on Oct. 7.
IDI, which blends the elements of dance together with the athleticism of ice-skating, was founded on the vision of elevating skating from sport to art with an ensemble of professionals who are the top skating talents in the world today. According to Webster, the 80-minute “dynamic and joy-filled” performance will captivate an audience of all ages.
ICE/DANCE 2016, choreographed by both Villella and Webster, features performances by ten ice skaters of world renown, including Olympians and national medalists, who will dance to music as varied as Vivaldi’s Spring and pieces from contemporary artist Moby.
“One of the most exciting things about Ice Dance International is that it was founded by myself and Dick Button—who is sort of the grandfather of figure skating—and Ed Villella—who is the grandfather of American ballet,” said Webster. “They are both legends in their work and in their legacies to ice-skating and ballet, so founding the company with these two really incredible, iconic figures has been an inspiration to me and I hope an inspiration to others.”
IDI is enthusiastic about the West Orange-based venue because the Codey Arena is more elevated than an ice-skating rink, according to Webster. New Jersey’s two-time Olympian JoJo Starbuck, a member of IDI’s Board of Directors who is chairing the event, is also going out of her way to create a beautiful environment for the show.
Webster also said the Codey Arena is the perfect venue based on its vicinity to New York City and Philadelphia, where IDI has many supporters.
“It’s the perfect environment for Ice Dance International because New York City really doesn’t have a performance venue for anything other than a major hockey game of ‘Disney on Ice,’” said Webster. “West Orange is a great alternative to those much larger, grander venues because it allows us to bring our show to an audience that I think would really appreciate it.”
According to Webster, IDI comes from a history of ensemble skating as an art form, calling IDI the “next chapter” in a genre of skating that has an extremely strong potential to grow. His goal as the artistic director of ICE/DANCE 2016 is to take audience on emotional journey where they will feel deeply connected to the painted landscapes unfolding in front of them.
“Our company wants to take ice dancing and give it a home, like you would give a ballet dancer a home, to dance repertory,” said Webster. “[To provide] a home for great ice dancers who come out of the arena and want to continue to work and provide opportunities for them to do artistically pleasing and emotionally pleasing [work].”
Villella, who will also celebrate his 80th birthday during a special VIP reception after the event, will be featuring a new ice dance work he choreographed with his wife, Linda Carbonetto Villella, a former Olympic figure skater.
The piece, entitled “A Vision of Emeralds,” pays homage to George Balanchine and his “Emeralds” ballet and features a lead couple and four skaters.
The second of Villella’s works is called “The Three Smokers,” which Villella choreographed for Ice Theatre of New York in 2014 to "Back Bay Shuffle" by Artie Shaw and his Orchestra. Edward adapted it from the fourth act of a full-length work he choreographed for Miami City Ballet called "The Neighborhood Ballroom."
“When you think about ice-skating and dance, there are so many similarities,” said Villella, who was enthusiastic about the concept of bringing ballet to the ice. “Obviously the real difference is what we wear on our feet. It gets that much more complicated for somebody who doesn’t know skating. There are many details that are different, but there are so many wonderful similarities.”
IDI will also teach a master class on Oct. 7 from 4:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. for any interested advanced skaters. This master class will be open to view for show ticket holders.
Starbuck, a local skating celebrity, said she is thrilled IDI has included the Garden State as one of their stops on their multi-city tour.
“It’s amazing for NJ to get a chance to see Edward’s and Doug’s incomparable choreography performed by such incredible skaters,” she said. “After spending the summer watching the Olympics on TV, it will be a great for people to see awesome athletic talent in person.”
Tickets are available to purchase at www.icedanceinternational.org. General admission ticket prices are $15 per person; tickets for VIP seating and the special reception celebrating Edward Villella’s 80th birthday are $100 per person.
For additional information about Edward Villella, Doug Webster or the IDI Board of Directors, visit www.icedanceinternational.org/about.
Contact IDI with any additional questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.