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Bandit Provides Lighting for Shaping Sound
USA – Shaping Sound, the contemporary dance company founded by Emmy-nominated choreographers Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, and dance visionary Kyle Robinson is back on the road with Bandit Lites, bringing their energetic and visually compelling story that is part pop show, part traditional dance, and part rock concert to stages all across North America.
The dance team that can be seen in Carrie Underwood’s Something in the Water and So You Think You Can Dance? created a show that is immaculately choreographed, requiring lighting designers Seth Jackson and Nathan W. Scheuer to create a rig mainly comprised of VL 3500 Spots.
“We needed the framing shutters, the zoom, the iris, all of those elements to lock in with the incredible specificity of the choreography,” said Jackson. In addition to the Spots, Bandit provided Impressions for wash fixtures and a row of ColorBlaze 72 to light the upstage scenic.
“One of the reasons that myself and Nathan love working with these guys is that is such a collaborative adventure,” said Jackson. “We've been with them since their first full production performance as Shaping Sound, and we've developed such a great energy with them that we find ourselves all throwing ideas around, inventing things in rehearsal, and generally enjoying the creative process together.”
Bandit’s team worked to make sure every need for that creative process was accounted for, both in preproduction and while the show was on the road.
“Bandit has always been very accommodating with any and all of our needs, be it getting us a repair or replacement quickly, or rethinking all of the cabling scenarios with me to accommodate the dancers’ traffic patterns,” said Production Manager Robby MacLean.
Jackson referred to his experience with Bandit as ‘brilliant,’ saying, “This show required someone who could get the rig up, keep it working, focus an extremely complicated show, and make sure everything comes off every night.”
Bandit vice president Mike Golden’s solution to providing that someone was lighting director Teresa Porterfield-Fensler, a Bandit team member who was called nothing short of spectacular by Jackson.
For Porterfield-Fensler, Shaping Sounds has been a return to her roots, as she previously provided lighting for dance pieces and apprenticed under a designer who predominately lit dance, albeit, under a huge rig with incandescent/static lights.
“Shaping Sound allows me to return to the theatre after a four year hiatus, with a rig full of Vari-Lites and moving LEDs,” she said.
Having run the lighting for the show for two years now, Porterfield-Fensler has become extremely in tune with the precision lighting necessary for the show, going through specific focuses for specials within show every day, as they are the only light on stage after a blackout, making it obvious if either the light (or dancer!) is off mark.
“Every light in Shaping Sound has a specific purpose,” she said. “If we have a problem during the show with a fixture, it is a big issue until I can physically fix it. For example, some parts of the stage have to be in blackout to hide scene changes and other dancers. The direction of the light, the source point and its focus are distinct for that scene. Once during show, I had to pull up a different light as an emergency replacement for a scene, but it didn't hold the same artistic effect.”
While she may not be one of the immensely talented dancers on stage, Porterfield-Fensler takes pride in her contribution to the production, noting that the lighting helps create the mood for each piece, and that helping craft the perfect look for each moment is a rewarding endeavour, adding: “I'm so thrilled and honoured to be a part of this show.”
Her involvement in the show was one of unanimous praise, with MacLean also calling Teresa ‘an absolute joy to work with,’ describing her as ‘an integral part of the company who we would have a very hard time doing the show without.’
“Travis Wall, our choreographer, and all of the dancers have a great sense of trust in her eye and attention to detail,” said MacLean. “All of us on the management side of things with Shaping Sound have been very pleased with Teresa and Bandit Lites.”
24th November 2015
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