Blackpool’s Hot Ice show has been running for 77 years, and the people behind it are as dedicated to putting on a good show now as they were in its early days.
But the trick is to keep it looking fresh, and this year promises not to disappoint, as director Amanda Thompson, boss of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, says Passion is faster and more exciting than ever before.
And the show, which is on at the Pleasure Beach until September 6, boasts a large number of new skaters, which Mrs Thompson puts down to this year’s Winter Olympics.
She told The Gazette: “The show is faster and it’s much slicker and smoother.
“It’s always exciting to get new cast members, and this year I’d say about half the cast is new. After the Olympics I had a lot of people wanting to be part of Hot Ice.
“It’s such a renowned show that people all over the world are ringing all year asking to audition. But it’s about finding the right people who can work together to form the right company.”
Hot Ice is well known for its elaborate costumes, but with such a fast-paced show the skaters only have time for a quick change before they’re back on the ice.
“It’s like running a marathon twice a day,” Mrs Thompson said.
“Guests this year can expect even more glamour and some really special costumes, but at no point are skaters sat in the dressing room waiting to come into the ice. As soon as they step foot off the arena floor they’re getting changed and are back on for the next routine.”
Someone who knows all too well the quick changes and the fast pace of Hot Ice is Blackpool figure skater Katie Stainsby.
She’s lost count of the number of shows she’s performed in, but says Passion could be her ninth.
“It’s wonderful to be performing for Hot Ice again,” she said.
“I have gone from being one of the youngest members of the cast to one of the oldest, but it’s such a great show to do as a figure skater and one everyone wants to do.
“There’s a great camaraderie between the cast, and this year’s show is really artistic and really up to date.”
Katie, who coaches ice skating at the Pleasure Beach Arena, said as good as the show was, it was important the people of Blackpool got behind it and supported it.
She added: “We need to keep people interested in live shows – it’s a shame for them to miss out on a show like this which we put on year after year.”
The show has been choreographed by Oula Jaaskelainen, who began his professional skating career at the Hot Ice show in 1994, and Lynsey Brown who is currently dance captain for this year’s Commonwealth Games.