The onset of a new iLuminate production is exciting. We’re a company that has bases of dancers in New York, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles. Each iLuminate show means meeting new artists and expanding our company family.
The things that make iLuminate are the darkness and the light suits. For most dancers, these elements are a radical combination, never before done. Once you learn the choreography in the studio, you essentially relearn the show when you ‘suit up’ and turn the lights out.
So, what does it take to pull it off?
Performance wise, there are two things that are consistent in every production. 1) Trust in your crew.
Our number one concern is safety. In order to do the lifts, illusions and flips consistently each night, we rehearse with detailed focus to build muscle memory. As a general rule in the dark, always make physical contact with partners before dancing so that everyone is engaged and ready. We certainly don’t hold back our tricks because we’re in the dark. We rise to this occasion!
2) Know the suit’s limitations.
Foremost, the suit adds weight to your body while also adding layers. Think Power Ranger mode. When we ‘suit up’ some find it helpful to think like a super hero, too. As the water weight from sweating increases, it’s essential to keep mind over matter. Limit #2 is technical. Like a computer glitches when it gets a bug, light suits do the same. When a malfunction happens, performers need to be keen to react and technicians must repair efficiently. Limit #3 is impaired vision. Some character helmets restrict peripheral vision so the dancer has to become like a ninja, as we say. Agile and acutely aware of his or her surroundings.
As a performer, it’s unique to be in a show full of diverse talents. Each character in the Live New York Show embodies a different style of dance. Being in the same space, we get to see how our genres challenge and/or compliment each other. Every dancer warms up before a show but how do they do it? Does she find a quiet corner and put in ear buds or does she sync up her phone to a portable speaker and freestyle in the center of the space? Does he join a friendly dance battle or will he do exercises to cross train?
The versatility, intelligence and perseverance it takes to be in iLuminate is truly super human. This current cast is only one week in and the potential is exceptional! Don’t miss us at Theater 80 beginning July 18th.