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Ingenious interaction of technology

Ingenious interaction of technology

Holiday on Ice performed its annual show at the Wiener Stadthalle in January. What is technically necessary to make this scene possible?

DrThe lights of the Wiener Stadthalle went out and ten performers dressed in black entered the ice rink. The music starts and the artists light up like stars moving in the dark. This is made possible thanks to 3,200 tiny LED lights hand-stitched onto the costumes by designer Silvia Immonino. Ice skaters and trapeze artists spin faster and faster to the music. The lights on their costumes dance. Holiday on Ice's 80th Anniversary Show “A New Day” has begun and will be an adventure full of colour, light and emotion. Something completely foreign about Aurora. She is a creature of a colorless and joyless world and meets Adam who introduces her to the beauty of our colorful world. But she doesn't want to let go of the past completely.

Ice cream

The anniversary show celebrated its premiere in Austria on January 17, 2024, after technology, sets, costumes and props were delivered in seven 40-ton trucks. 50 people were on site to set up the elaborate display. It took about 48 hours for the ice surface to form. To do this, 25 cubic meters of tap water were applied to the already cooled hall area over 24 hours until a layer of ice approximately 3.5 cm thick was created. This was addressed by using an ice machine up to eight times a day to make the demanding performances of world stars possible. Because the ice must have the right strength to enable all the tricks and stunts. Measurements are also made continuously.

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The Wiener Stadthalle has its own permanent ice surface in Hall D, where water is used to produce ice for the display. The floor can be cooled directly, so no additional water freezing equipment is needed. For many other locations across Europe where this is not available, Holiday on Ice has a mobile rink that you can take with you. The floor of the hall is covered with plastic film and a layer of Styrofoam about three centimeters thick. Aluminum plates are placed on this base, which is cooled so much that the water on it freezes. In Vienna, this is not necessary due to the options included.


After the ice cream is made, the lighting, video, sound and fireworks construction begins. The entire technology is connected to heavy metal structures that are pulled under the ceiling of the hall. On New Day, there were a total of 80 installation points and 187 different supports with a total length of 320 meters on the ceiling of the hall, on which a total of 31.7 tons of lighting, sound, decoration and technical devices were suspended. There were more than 230 spotlights and moving lighting elements in the show. Lighting and programming the technology only took about five hours. Dynamic lights were controlled by six lighting technicians above the ice on the roof to put the amazing stunts and fast performances of the skaters in the right light.

This year's Holiday on Ice show featured an immersive LED cylinder suspended in the middle above the ice with a diameter of twelve meters and nearly 330,000 LED pixels, making the show a special experience in all aspects. The goal of the lighting and video design was for the audience to experience the special dynamics from each seat and for the performance to become a 360-degree experience. The LED cylinder is a movable display element that rises up to ten meters above the ice and can be moved from the ceiling to the ice surface. At the back of the stage there are also three operable screen elements that form the heart of the show. They are all animated and consist of a total of 323 individual LED panels with over 3.3 million light pixels.

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Flexible fashion

The piece is intended to be a celebration of colour, and this is particularly evident through the costumes. In order to properly display the different eras, more than 300 costume pieces and headpieces were created. Designer Silvia Imonino worked on the costumes for a year, taking 13 seamstresses more than four months to make them. The special challenge is that the costumes must not only look great, but also meet the requirements of an ice art display. Amazing stunts and jumps require light costumes with great freedom of movement. Large, elaborate head pieces and back pieces can only be used in specific scenes with the corresponding figure skating characters. So the choreography went hand in hand with the development of the costumes. Likewise choose materials. Because they must not only be stretchy and flexible for difficult movements and jumps on the ice, but they must also be water repellent and washable, so that the costumes look like new even after numerous performances and possible falls on the ice.

-Saint Germain