Although not as kulturni, dialectically speaking, as Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet (Galina Ulanova & Co.), which is now playing to S.R.O. audiences in New York's Metropolitan Opera House, a jazzy, almost proletarian U.S. ice show called Holiday on Ice ( Dick Button & Co.) is now playing to S.R.O. audiences in Moscow's Sports Palace.
Ice shows are relatively new to the U.S.S.R. (Indeed, Russia, though it boasts splendid speed skaters and ice hockey players, has never had a medalist in international figure skating competition.) Two years ago the schmaltzy Viennese Ballet on Ice played Moscow and so impressed the comrades that they founded their own Russian Ice Review. Its repertory consists mostly of sentimental ballet and circus routines, and it nearly had a ruinous end this winter when a star trapeze performer landed on the ice and fell on his face; he couldn't skate.
One afternoon this month Review staged a joint performance with the principals of Holiday, a show depicted here. "A very valuable lesson," mused Pravda—"the cordial reception melted the ice of the cold war." "Sport is not a political matter," mused Button. "It is cultural."