Ice Age Live on ice is freezing good fun!

Ice Age Live on ice is freezing good fun!

The prehistoric adventure about to hit Hong Kong has plenty of stunts so safety is crucial

If you're looking for something (literally) cool to do during the summer, then check out Ice Age Live, a show that combines characters from the Ice Age films with ice-skating and acrobatics. 

Co-directed by Guy Caron and Michael Curry, who have worked on Cirque du Soleil, Ice Age Live tells a story that you won't find in the films.

Mammoth Manny, sloth Sid and Diego the sabre-tooth tiger go on a thrilling adventure to rescue Manny's daughter, Peaches, and the two possums, who have been kidnapped by the evil bird, Shadow.

To save them, the heroes must journey through the Enchanted Garden and cross paths with their old friend, Buck the weasel.

With more than 40 performers doing all kinds of stunts, it's up to performance supervisor Natalia Belusakova to make sure everyone stays safe.

"Injuries happen all the time, which is why we have understudies, and they are the people who replace them if anything happens," says Belusakova, who was a performer herself for nine years.

Belusakova has been with Ice Age Live for four years, and she has watched every single show.

"I'm never bored. I have to be very focused and give feedback," she says.

"I'm always busy. I'm always talking to three or four people at the same time."

She briefs the actors an hour before the show about the things they need to pay attention to.

For example, in a scene where all the skaters have to be in a straight line, Belusakova reminds them to guide each other so they are all positioned correctly.


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Belusakova talks about the qualities of a good performer: "First of all, you need skill. But at the same time you have to know how to be a team player. It comes in a package. You also have to be quick and flexible to adapt to changes in the performance."

Cast members come from more than 15 countries around the world, including Japan, Ukraine, and France. Belusakova herself is originally from Slovakia.

Touring together gives them ample opportunity to learn about one another's cultures.

For example, the Chinese members of the production might bring homemade food one night, and the Mexicans may bring in their food the next. However, the French are the pickiest.

"If the food isn't good, they will complain," warns Belusakova.

The giant animal puppets and costumes are key to making the show spectacular, so performers have to check their delicate costumes on a daily basis and work with the maintenance department to avoid any wardrobe issues.

Preparing the ice is another daunting task. It takes up to three days to build layers and layers of ice up to 6cm thick.

This is thicker than normal skating rinks because it needs to be able to support a huge platform.

When a strike in a South American country delayed their preparation work, Belusakova came up with a clever plan to speed up the ice-making: she crushed huge blocks of ice and added it to the water, so it would be cold and freeze faster than usual.

The resulting ice stage wasn't as smooth as it would normally be, but they were able to have the ice ready in just one day.

"The show must go on," says Belusakova.

Belusakova says her bond with colleagues is strengthened through countless hours of preparation for the show.

"We are training together, we are eating breakfast together, we are living life together, we are always together, just like a family."

Ice Age Live will be staged at the Asia World Arena from July 23-26. Young Post has tickets to give away. To win a pair, tell us who your favourite Ice Age character is. Send your answer, along with your name, school, age and phone number to yp.competition@scmp.com.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
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