Entertainment industry engineering and automation specialist WIcreations has delivered a custom automation solution for the brand new Holiday on Ice show “BELIEVE”, as well as fabricating the elaborate set as an efficient and tourable package.
The world premiere of the fantastic new ice dance spectacle took place in Grefath, Germany and is now touring Europe.
Hans Willems led the WI team for this project, working directly for producers Netherlands based Stage Entertainment, and closely with set and scenic designer Luc Peumans from Painting with Light.
Hans and WI have worked on many previous Stage Entertainment productions including Ice Age Live. In fact, WI’s association with Stage Entertainment started in 2006 on the HOI “Mystery” show of that year – the same year that WIcreations was founded.
Hans commented, “HOI is an important part of our company history and it was fantastic to be working on another ambitious and radical production, to meet all the challenges and collaborate with many talented and dedicated individuals all sharing the same goal … to ensure a smooth, slick and streamlined production that will be enjoyed by audiences worldwide”.
A modern take on a classic Romeo & Juliet storyline, “BELIEVE” dazzles with movement, colour, style and world class skating and is directed and choreographed by Olympic skating champion, Christopher Dean.
The intricate ‘stage’ comprises a series of interconnecting curved platforms, walkways and sweeping staircases - most of them clad with LED video panels – and this fills the space along one end of the ice.
It involves two prominent 8 metre high elevators with curved LED doors at the top which are used extensively throughout the performance for entrances and exits.
The video doors at the top of the elevator are attached to tracks in the roof that are integral to the elevator structure and deal with the open/closing movement, while the positional movement cues for the LED doors are linked to the Pandora’s Box media server playing back the video, so exactly the right element of video footage appears on the visible portion of the doors as they move.
The elevator platforms are moved up and down via a system based on one of WI’s most popular multipurpose standard products, the WI Stacking Truss. The elevators themselves have been custom constructed for this show but are based on more standard WI products.
The vari-speed hoists controlling the elevator platform movement are running on Kinesys Vector control on the same networked system as the tracks moving the curved video doors. The lifts are used constantly throughout the show for performers to access set platforms at several different levels.
On top of the central set platform is a DJ booth, which can also track 30 metres to the centre of the ice using a WI Track touring system driven by two vari-speed double-channelled hoists attached to the track.
WI has also supplied a SIL3 zero speed motor attached to the same track which is used to lift two performers during the breath-taking Bolero routine.
When in its ‘home’ position in the middle of the set, this DJ platform has two skate ramps either side that give access down to the ice.
The DJ booth was also built at WIcreations’ HQ in Heist-Op-Den-Berg and fitted with all its LED screen. Because it is designed using WI Stacking Truss, the rigging and hoists combined remain under 1 tonne in weight, which was crucial for tracking as most venues offer a good selection of 1 tonne pointes, but if it exceeds that, the whole process becomes a lot more complicated.
WI also contracted four 3.2 diameter scenic fan structures which are flown above the ice, three to provide overhead lighting positions, and the fourth contains a circular water screen which is activated for a special effect sequence in the show.
Another challenge was designing all the various set elements so they pack down into a series of dollies for neat and practical transportation., LED screen is designed, where possible, to travel with most of the relevant set pieces, rather than being attached separately at each venue and lighting fixtures – supplied by Focus Showlighting – are also built into some parts of the set.
As always – although the budget was reasonable – there is pressure to get a large-scale technical creation within the figures, which required plenty of advance planning and some innovative thinking – both also a WI speciality!
WI is supplying two crew on the tour. The show’s lighting designer is Paco Mispelters and the video is designed by Michael Al-Far, both from Painting with Light, and sound is designed by Jeroen Ten Brinke.
The “BELIEVE” tour is currently scheduled to run for two years.
Photos : Morris MacMatzen