Vertical Influences

Contact us for more information, bookings, or to receive a full recording of this piece.

Co-produced by Dance Umbrella (London, UK) in partnership with
the National Arts Center of Canada and
The Théâtre de la Ville de Paris (France)
with support from the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts de Montréal
Research supported by the Jerwood Studio program at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre

***** – a pure body rush of liberation and space..  – The Guardian – complete review
**** – witty and experimental… – London Evening Standard – complete review
**** –an entirely new skating experience.  – The London Times – complete review

Winner of the “Total Theatre & The Place Award for Dance” 2015, United-Kingdom
Rated as one of the top 10 dance events of 2014, in the United-Kingdom
Rated as one of the top 10 shows of 2015, in the United-Kingdom
Nominated for the National Dance Award 2015, in the United Kingdom


An excerpt of ‘Vertical Influences’.  More on this YouTube playlist.

Contemporary ice-skating double-bill
Each one of the 2 pieces last about 25 minutes.  A 20 minutes entracte is in between.
The double-bill is a unified artistic experience.
However, each piece can be stand-alone.

First season: 2014-2015

“In the second half of the show the audience sits on the ice and the skaters fly past, a whisker away. There’s a tangible adrenaline hit on both sides. It’s thrilling but also utterly serene.”  – London Evening Standard, UK

Produced by Le Patin Libre
Commissioned by Emma Gladstone and the Dance Umbrella Festival (London, UK), the National Arts Centre (Ottawa, Canada) and the Théâtre de la Ville (Paris, France)
Research support: Jerwood Project at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre (London, UK)
Production support: Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec, Conseil des Arts du Canada, Conseil des Arts de Montréal

Creation team:

Alexandre Hamel, Pascale Jodoin, Samory Ba, Taylor Dilley, Jasmin Boivin (Le Patin Libre)

Music: Jasmin Boivin
Dramaturg: Ruth Little
Lighting designer: Lucy Carter
Costume designer: Jenn Pocobene


Technical information
public on the ice
(contact us for a complete rider)
‘Vertical Influences’ or any of the 2 pieces of the double-bill can only be presented on a real ice surface (indoor or outdoor) measuring a minimum of 20m x 40m.
The company provides and deploys a complete lighting kit.  A 3h00 availability of the ice surface is sufficient for all installation, the show and de-installation.
The company can provide seats for 200 spectators.  The presenter can add up to 100 seats to reach a capacity of 300.



Through ice-skating virtuosity, ‘Influences’ explores the human inter-relations between individuals and the groups they are part of.  Leadership, bullying, individualism, rivalry…  A group going through obvious tensions is seen evolving toward a new harmony.

In ‘Vertical’, a superb group of five liberated individuals challenges the audience.  Through an almost vertiginous rhythmic and choreographic essay, a new audience-performance relation is explored: the spectators are sitting on the ice, very close to an exciting show moving lots of air.  Literally.


Artistic Approach

5 standing

The project behind this creation was launched by a creation residency offered by the Jerwood Project caritative program and Sadler’s Wells theatre in London, UK.  The 5 artists of Le Patin Libre met the dramaturg Ruth Little.  They presented her various choreographic experiences developed during the 2 preceding years.  The quintet also told the dramaturg about the enormous difficulties they live in Canada: bullying in the world of ice rinks, dififcult life stories in the ultra-conservatice world of figure skating, constant battles for the survival of the projects of the collective, etc.  The themes of ‘Influences’ were written from what the skating-artists could only express through movement.  These themes directed the long creation process that followed this first residency.

Always in exile (Berlin, France, Edinburgh, London), Le Patin Libre developed the choreography of ‘Vertical Influences’ over 2 years.  The production was completed through a second intensive creation residency with the dramaturg Ruth Little, in september 2014.


A video about the last days of production of Vertical Influences, during the Dance Umbrella festival 2014, in London.


For more info:
Alexandre Hamel, artistic director and artist