STAMFORD -- This Sunday, the stage at Stamford's Palace will be transformed into an ice rink as the St. Petersburg State Ballet on Ice brings its version of "Sleeping Beauty" to Stamford.
"This is their 11th time in the U.S. right now," said Dasha Oganezov, spokesperson for Stamford-based Maestro Artist Management, which is producing the show.
"They always end up in major cities," said Oganezov. "We feel that kids in Stamford are missing out on major international artists because this is not New York, this is Stamford."
The St. Petersburg State Ballet on Ice, which performs all of their ballets on skates, will present "Sleeping Beauty" to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's original score, although, because the show is intended to appeal to children and families, the score will be somewhat abridged.
"We were from the beginning, incorporated in Stamford, even though we work all over the US," said Maria Schlover, who started Maestro in 2005.
Schlover's firm brings mostly international acts into the United States; orchestras from Russia, dance companies from Argentina and other classical acts are on her company's roster.
She has a vested interest in making such shows available to local children.
"I'm a mom of two children," said Schlover. "Not a lot is happening in Stamford and I have to take them to New York."
The company will begin the work of turning the Palace's decades-old stage into an ice rink later this week.
"We have a huge team of technicians," said Oganezov.
According to Schlover and Oganezov, a company from Long Island will arrive in Stamford on Saturday, before the ballet opens, bearing large quantities of crushed ice.
"The stage is first covered with several layers of thick carpet, Styrofoam and vinyl to elevate the stage a bit higher for a better view. Then a large wooden frame is placed over the stage," said Oganezov.
The technicians then connect special pipes and coils that contain coolants across the wooden frame and pour in the 6,500 pounds of crushed ice.
"For 12 hours, a technician must check every 30 minutes if the rink is cold enough, pouring in more ice and water. When the ice is finally smooth and hard, it is ready for the performance," she said.
Getting rid of the ice after the show, however, is more daunting. Because 6,500 pounds of melted ice would ruin the Palace stage, the technicians must remove the ice in frozen chunks.
"A support team breaks the ice with hammers, loads the pieces onto a truck and discard them in a stream or river," said Oganezov.
Schlover, who has worked with the company in the past hopes to bring back the St. Petersburg State Ballet back with some of their other shows next year.
"They have quite a repertoire," said Oganezov. "There is really more to see."
By A.J. O'CONNELL