Enter the Vortex

Posted on Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Enter the Vortex is a commercial contemporary production from The Dream Dance Company. The third season featured a cast of sixteen of the most elite dancers in Australia. The audience is invited to enter a world of a source with so much power and influence you feel you have no control.  Enter the Vortex is about being drawn to a destination where you are your genuine self at the depth of your core.

Jeremy Koch (Innovative Production Services) was the lighting designer who has worked with The Dream Dance Company on their previous two seasons of “Genesis” (2015) and “Secret Society” (2016) with Darcy Cook as the Associate LD and touring production manager. Darcy’s brief was to create a show in each city as close as possible to the original design at NIDA.

“We learnt that we both light dance shows in a very similar way so Jeremy felt very comfortable with handing me the project,” commented Darcy.

Innovative Production Services brought in 10x Martin MAC700 profiles, 10x Martin MAC700 washes, and 8x Martin Stage Bar 54L’s for the first shows held at NIDA, and then again for the Australian Dance Festival. It was a simple and clean design – the MAC700’s were arranged in a 5×4 grid from downstage to upstage with the Stage Bars as side light. These fixtures formed 90% of the light show with next to no front light (only used to highlight magic and the bows). Control was from a MA Lighting grandMA2 light for shows in Sydney, and MA onPC kit for interstate shows.

One thing I took away from this experience and working with Jeremy was that it’s sometimes not what you light, rather it’s what you don’t light. This may sound a bit odd, but one example, the last piece all we have is the washes in narrow beam, focused straight down. Open white at about 20% intensity. The light bouncing off the stage deck was enough to illuminate the solo dancer enabling the choreography to be planned so she danced in and out of the light beams. This was a really cool effect in the show.

“We had over 220 lighting cues in the 50 minute performance so it was very intense and fast moving,@ said Darcy. “Especially the sequence we referred to as the “Boys sequence.” This was a track about two minutes long with five lads, each being individually lit at certain times for about 2 to 4 beats. This was a piece with about 40 cues – so it was incredibly fast paced, but looking back on it, it looked absolutely awesome.”

Biggest challenge of this tour was taking it to venues that had not had the opportunity to invest in newer technology and moving lights. Darcy did a show in Adelaide purely with conventional fixtures, which at first thought doesn’t sound so bad, but when the show is based around a purely ‘intelligent rig’, it becomes quite the challenge to stay true to the original design.

“This was an interesting process to create a similar light show where I really had to push the boundaries of creativity and programming skills to match the energy coming off the stage,” added Darcy. “Suffice to say, some very interesting dimmer chases were created, but worked very well, and given the limitations we walked out with a very ecstatic director (Marko Panzic).”