The colorful productions of the Boundless Edge Ice Dance Ensemble always surpass expectations with familiar stories told through the combined visual media of ice-skating and puppetry. These unique dramatizations serve not only to delight audiences, but also provide ensemble members the opportunity to expand their talents. With the artistic vision to “train skaters to be dancers on the ice,” Mike Carson and Beth Woronoff have created a fantastic show in Viva la Vida, to honor Mexico’s great artist Frida Kahlo. First performed in February at Peter Cooper Village in New York, the program reenacts the passion of the woman hailed by feminists for her “uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.”
Hers is a classic story of struggle for artistic freedom and personal happiness, made more difficult on each count by a crippling accident and a difficult relationship with another great Mexican artist, Diego Rivera. Despite the physical and emotional pain endured by Kahlo, the message of her life is “Live life! Enjoy life! Be yourself! Let nothing stop you!”
Choreographed by Woronoff, the production features 15-foot-tall skeleton puppets depicting a Day of the Dead parade, complete with mariachi music and costumes from Mexico City. Voiceovers in Spanish and English quote Kahlo’s original journal entries: “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality,” and “There have been two great accidents in my life: One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”
The trolley/bus collision that crippled the artist is depicted by five skaters in a bus puppet and two in a trolley puppet, which crash into one another and spin apart. Rivera and Kahlo appear in front of Frida’s painting of them, only to be interrupted by her sister, Cristina, and the revolutionary Leon Trotsky. The seductive scene plays out as Diego casually leaves Frida to dance with her sister.
Viva la Vida is performed by Elisa Angeli of Ice Theatre of New York and Ghiaccio Spettacolo, with Alizah Allen, Senior Ladies’ US National competitor and Ice Theatre of New York Ensemble member; Patrick Connelly, US Ice Dance National competitor; and Woronoff, who was a former Ice Theatre of New York ensemble member. This cast of four is filled out by eight members of the Boundless Edge Ice Dance Ensemble. The giant puppets are by Sara Peattie of the Puppet Cooperative and Theresa Linnihan. Other works in this performance include Volcano, skated by Alizah Allen, Sara Forsythe and Woronoff, and Celtic Techno, performed by members of the Boundless Edge Ice Dance Ensemble: Ana Alexander, Sara Forsythe, Mimi Pouget and Olivia Wogan.
Viva la Vida will be staged on Sunday, March 25 at 1 p.m. at the Saugerties Kiwanis Ice Arena. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and children, $90 for 10-ticket blocks. For further information call Boundless Edge at (845) 626-4596 or visit www.boundlessedge.org. An optional All Skate session after the show runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. for $6 for adults, $4 for students. Sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization, Boundless Edge creates and performs theatrical dances for the ice. This performance is also funded in part by the New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, administered in the mid-Hudson Valley by the Garrison Art Center.