How ice shows became so popular
GreenIce rinks aren’t only the chosen training surface of some of the leading professional ice hockey clubs — we are just as proud to take part in our clients’ art projects.
Our synthetic ice rinks have been used for concerts, the opera, and one of our most fascinating events since 2014 is without a doubt Art on Ice.
Ice shows have become increasingly popular during the 20th and 21st centuries. But how, where and why did this phenomenon begin?
Ice shows have been around for the better part of the 20th century, really taking off after WWII. Traveling shows like Ice Follies (the first of its kind), Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice began with amateurs as well as professional figure skaters, and as the years passed, their quality of ice skating improved. Many times shows included theatre, comedians, clowns, singing, jugglers, barrel jumpers, elaborate props and dazzling costumes.
Ice Follies was founded by Eddie Shipstad, Roy Shipstad, and Oscar Johnson. It first premiered in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 7 November 1936 with a big production and a large cast of figure skaters.
When the founding brothers were boys, they ice skated for fun and would often perform acts on their local lakes in Minnesota. Their shows became popular and they were eventually asked to do it professionally. Their ice show turned into a big variety show, and soon they started touring. Ice Follies became the trailblazer for modern shows like Stars on Ice, Art on Ice, Broadway on Ice, etc.
In 1980, Ice Follies and Holiday on Ice were acquired and merged by Disney, continuing to operate under their names. Today, Disney owns most “…on Ice” shows and they continue to be a big success.