Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Stage Design and Fabrication

The stage design was inspired by the fluid motion of the dancer’s choreography and the oceanic theme pursued throughout the semester.  The stage was set to evoke the smooth flow of currents beneath a more turbulent surface.  The final layout centered about the practice of layering, echoing the natural ebb and flow of the sea.  In this way, the dancer was completely immersed within the stage environment.

Courtesy of Glen Vigus of the VizLab.

Three separate scrim-like curtains of black mesh fabric were set at three different distances from center stage, and spanned the length of the performance area.  This allowed for the dancer to flit in and amongst the visualization projected onto the curtains throughout the dance.  Their dark coloration ensured the visualization appeared clearly without obscuring the dancer’s form.  

The stage lighting was also designed to integrate smoothly with the ocean-inspired visualization.  Blue gels were used to wash the dancer and the stage in a gently glowing blue atmosphere.  Blue complimented the cerulean to seafoam green spectrum of the visualization, simulated depth onstage, and contrasted well with the dancer's bright red costume. A staggered configuration of sidelights was used to replicate the sun's rays penetrating deeper waters and helped achieve greater visual depth.

Choosing gel patterns.

Measuring height of the largest box.  Noemi was comfortable at a height no higher than 3 feet.

Testing the black mesh fabric we used in place of Scrims.

Thanks to Stephen for holding our projector!

Measuring out the black mesh fabric for the screens.

Preparing to cut first screen.

Experimenting with spacing onstage.

The curtains were suspended from the lighting grid using customized hardware.  They were constructed using lightweight plywood, D-ring hangers, and velcro strips.   The backings were cut using a miter saw.  They were constructed using a light duty hammer, staple gun, and screwdriver.  All were painted with black matte primer/spray paint to minimize their visibility.

Three platforms of varying height were also incorporated into the floor plan in order to take full advantage of the floor space and vertical reach of the stage, one of 3x2x3 feet and two of 3x2x1 feet.  They were designed to give the dancer a stable platform with ample room for performance. Their fabrication was completed in our department Woodshop. The sizes was chosen according to the dancer's needs.

The larger faces were cut from three 4x8 foot sheets of 23/32 inch pine plywood using a panel saw, and the smaller panels with a table saw.  In order to withstand the range of activity required of the dancer during performance, each box had to be fitted with an internal bracing fixed to each adjoining side and and evenly distributed along each opposing face.  The braces were cut from 2x4 inch beams using the miter saw and installed using nail gun and steel brads.  The entire structure was reinforced with wood glue.  Once completed, the boxes were painted a matte black to better blend into the background of the projection.  Onstage, they were strategically placed behind the screens for a seamless visualization.

Jim measuring out side panels.

Cutting first panels!

Woo!! Table saw!!

Corner clamps are awesome.

Fitting the first internal edge brace.

Cutting more edge braces.

Woo!! Miter saw!!

Woo!! Nail gun!!

Nail gun in action!

Go Jim!!

My turn!!

Safety first, note the protective eyewear.

Wood glue to bond all the wood permanently.

Edge bracing!!

I officially love these handy clamps.

Drilling handles into the largest platform.

Jim is a beast.

Jim is a beast.

Jim is a beast.
Just one more...

…and done!!

This was used to paint all the hardware and the platforms.

Cutting panels for the smaller platforms.

Measuring out internal bracing.

Fixing the internal bracing.

Wood glue it all!

Almost done..


Originally, the dancer requested lightweight boxes so that their configuration could be altered onstage during the performance.  However, each box had to be of substantial weight to counter the weight of the dancer and so as not to slide about the stage.  Hence the heavier grade plywood stock. Furthermore, While this rendered the platforms immobile, they were well suited for the final performance. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sketch One Inspiration

We will base our first sketch for an interactive costume on Jellyfish!
This lightweight material will give our dancer a great silhouette.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A bit of my work 

A bit of dance

I always thought of Cirque du Soleil as a form of dance.

Otherwise, the few of my friends that danced, loved this style..

....and this...

but I'd love to see more of this...


To new beginnings

I hope I do well this Spring...