Vertical was first broadcast on Saturday 27 January 2018 on BBC2 as part of a programme presented by Darcey Bussell on New Dance which also featured Boy Blues’ Emancipation of Expressionism, directed by Danny Boyle.
Five strong troupe Le Patin Libre use the ice in daring and dazzling ways to present a completely new perspective in 20-minute film Vertical. Produced by Dance Umbrella and commissioned by The Space, this film brings us dangerously up close to the action, capturing the performers slashing and slicing the ice at top speed in one half of their award-winning double-bill Vertical Influences.
The show received rave reviews when it opened at Alexandra Palace as part of Dance Umbrella Festival 2014, winning a Total Theatre Award and a Critics’ Circle nomination in 2015 before returning to London in 2016 where it played to sold-out audiences at Somerset House. The hit show has now been seen by audiences all over the world from Melbourne to Montpellier.
Founded by Alexandre Hamel in 2005, Le Patin Libre break the mould by challenging the conventions of traditional figure-skating through their experimental and at times nonchalant style, which draws influences from theatre, urban dance, and tap. From humble beginnings creating routines on the frozen ponds and canals of their hometown Montréal, their witty, inspired and creative performances have gone on to win fans around the globe.
“It’s chilly down there on the ice, but [this] is one of those rare shows I could willingly have sat through all over again” Guardian 2015 ★★★★★
“You watch, dazzled, as the five-strong collective compete against each other, flirting, mock-fighting, dragging skates backwards, seemingly against gravity” Evening Standard 2015 ★★★★
“You feel it in your own body when watching these skaters up close, and it’s absolutely exhilarating.” Edinburgh Festival/The List 2015 ★★★★★
“Watching Le Patin Libre is like dreaming about flying – it is a liberating, exhilarating, breath taking experience. This quintet of former professional figure skaters have freed themselves from the shackles of sequins and judged technical perfection to create a new kind of ice dance.” The Stage 2016 ★★★★
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Choreographed and performed by
A Dance Umbrella / Proudfoot Ltd Production commissioned by The Space
Filmed at Alexandra Palace Ice Rink, London
© Dance Umbrella MMXVII