Doubters said it was crazy to try to put on an ice show in the blazing Caribbean heat that bakes one of the world's poorest countries.
Yet, after nearly a year of postponement after postponement, it looks as if "Haiti on Ice" will actually happen. Tomorrow. Maybe. If the ice doesn't melt.
The show was set to open Friday, but organizer Francois Yrius said that half of the show's dozen performers missed their flights to the Caribbean nation. They are now due to arrive today.
The four-day "Haiti on Ice" show aims to bring together several international figure skaters, including Russian-born Elena Glebova and the French pair skater Yannick Bonheur.
But the performances have been postponed more than a dozen times since they were first planned for November. Young Haitians began using the ice rink this week to learn how to skate.
The delays have been blamed on problems including melting ice and a hurricane that brushed Haiti. Tuesday night, some young Haitians got a chance to play on a startling stage for sweltering Port-au-Prince: an expanse of shiny, frozen water in a downtown basketball gym.
Before this week almost none of the Haitians had ever seen anything like it. They gleefully pulled on skates and took spins on the ice.
The unlikely idea to put on an ice show in Haiti arose last year after Mr. Yrius of Super Canal Prod, the Guadeloupe-based exhibition company organizing the show, met Haiti's tourism minister, Stephanie Villedrouin, at a music festival.
She urged Mr. Yrius to hold an ice show in Haiti and convinced him to lay aside his concerns, such as how much it would cost and the other complications of putting on such a spectacle in a country where much of the poor infrastructure has been battered by the 2010 earthquake, other disasters and neglect.
At first, Mr. Yrius tried to hold it outdoors, but organizers finally surrendered to the heat and moved into the gym. Still, it's August and it costs $1,600 an hour to run the generator that keeps the ice solid. Mr. Yrius thinks he'll draw a good crowd, and feels all the problems and delays have been worth the effort to bring something so unusual to Haiti.
First Published August 24, 2013 4:00 AM