Twenty-seven axes of Kinesys automation were in action on the 2016 ‘Strictly Live’ UK arena tour, produced by Phil McIntyre Entertainments.
The completely sold out tour was presented by the Great British Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyc and once again provided a highly successful sequel to the BBC’s blockbusting “Strictly Come Dancing” phenomenon, offering fans nationwide the chance to experience all the glamour, glitz and excitement … totally live.
Kinesys has featured on most of the recent Strictly Live tours – this was the ninth one - to move a combination of scenic elements and drapes as specified by the tour’s technical director, Andy Gibbs. This year there were more movement elements than before with the system again provided by leading UK lighting and visuals rental company, Neg Earth, and Steve Kellaway operating for the second year running.
Steve, also an experienced freelance lighting technician, completed the Kinesys special training course a couple of years ago which he found to be ‘Excellent”, and since then has taken on a number of automation gigs.
He thinks the Kinesys system is “Flexible, reliable and very good”.
On this show, Kinesys was used to move eight scenic chandeliers up and down, plus a massive 2 metre diameter mirror ball – without which no self-respecting Strictly production would be complete – all positioned above the central dancefloor.
The eight chandeliers were rigged on a diamond shaped box truss and had a few different positions. In a couple of the production numbers they even have their own dance moves mimicking those going on below … for additional visual entertainment!
Two set pieces make up the ‘Strictly Express’ train which sat on the floor at the stage end of the set, providing an entrance for the dancing couples at the top of the show, after which the pieces were whisked up into the ceiling and stored.
The enormous, sumptuous, central Austrian drape – ‘in’ at the start of the show - was lifted with eight Liftket hoists – fitted with Kinesys Elevation 1+ drives - raising a pipe along the bottom of the drape which gathered 23 columns of snap hooks, with 15 load arrestors taking up the slack.
The large mirror ball started off on the floor … and followed the path of the central Austrian drape as this was lifted, but rising at a slower pace. The ball came in again at the end of the first act.
Another Austrian drape at the stage-end of the performance space was rigged on six motors and a wavy truss with an articulated pipe system at the bottom to help lift the slack in an orderly fashion.
In total there were around 20 movement cues in the show, some more subtle than others, all helping to bring another layer of dynamics to the performance.
Kinesys was also used for various special effects throughout the 2015 “Strictly Come Dancing” TV series itself, recorded at Elstree Studios with a special from Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom. That system was provided by DLM Events.
Photo by Louise Stickland