Lighting designer Rik Uyttersprot from GRAViTY Design injected an edgy and raw lighting aesthetic to help showcase the stark bare stage production values of “WOW” at the Kortrijk Xpo in Belgium. The performance comprised over 50 dance segments which were presented as the end of year work by classic and contemporary students from the Pirouette Dans School, one of the most famous dance and choreographic academies in Belgium.
Beautifully woven into the intense action and drama were 20 x Robe Spiider LED wash beams and 48 little LEDBeam 150 moving lights. These are part of a brand new purchase by Roeselare based lighting rental company La Strada Fashion which was delivered by Robe’s Benelux distributor, Controllux. Rik has lit the annual Pirouette Dans show for over a decade and has worked with La Strada Fashion, which is owned by Roland D’Hondt, for around 18 years. La Strada will frequently hire Rik to work on the design elements of their lighting and visual projects.
Their primary market is the world of fashion, where they are acclaimed for adding drama, theatrical atmosphere and great production values to catwalks and runways as designers demand increasingly exciting and more ambitious presentations to help their creations stand out. La Strada has also built up a raft of premium corporate clients over the years. However it is cool site-specific and semi-industrial settings like Hall 4 at the Kortrijk complex where Rik really enjoys being experimental in the design and animating a show for a live audience.
Here the lighting has to become another dancer in each piece an environment so Rik can sculpt his moves to enhance the intensity, contrast and emotion of the work. The Hall has plenty of weight loading, so a series of raked trusses were flown in the roof above the stage. There is also the benefit of plenty of space around the stage area which accommodated five high powered projectors positioned behind an upstage screen, adding images and moving footage to the action.
The Spiiders and LEDBeam 150s were dotted all over these and used for the top lighting – from creating beautiful intricate scenes to blunt single beams illuminating dancers, these units gave Rik all the dynamics he needed to light the diverse performance which plays three sold-out shows over a weekend every year. He also used 12 of La Strada Fashion’s old Robe ColorSpot 700E AT fixtures in the show. While these are getting old now … they are still good for quite a few projects, and more importantly, underline the reliability and sheer build quality of the kit, as they were purchased at least a decade ago now! “Every design for a show like this needs gobo breakup effects and they are still brilliant for this,” explained Rik.
The Spiiders have become a firm favourite to light runways during the fashion show season. Their precise colour temperature, high CRI and super-smooth hi grade LED sources make model-perfect face lighting and skin tones for the demanding fashion media facing off down the other end of the catwalk! The LEDBeam 150 Rik likes for all of the above plus their tiny size … ideal for tucking away in some of the smaller venues for corporate or fashion events and in fact any space where there’s no room for long trusses.
Gone are the days when you used to have to need a large and standard venue to install a decent amount of professional stage lighting. With the focus on smaller fixtures, a whole new range of smaller, more interesting and idiosyncratic spaces can be utilised and well and appropriately lit. “The level of sophistication with the LED sources is also impressive now,” says Rik, “You can have the softer tones of tungsten that everyone loves aesthetically as well as the crisp, brittle daylight that some designers want to show off the detail of their clothes on the catwalk – all from one fixture”. The unforgiving world of fashion lighting also opened up substantially once homogenised LED engines reached certain quality and availability levels. .
The creative challenge of lighting a show like WOW is the sheer intensity of the programming and lighting needed to get through the 50 different works encompassing a wide range of genres, from jazz to ballet, freestyle to contemporary. So apart from having many ideas … he also needed the most flexible fixtures. “Keeping creating new effects with lights is fun as well as demanding” he commented, “but I am VERY happy to be using the Spiiders and LEDBeam 150s … they bring so many options”. The full extent of this most recent La Strada Fashion investment was 24 x Spiiders and 56 x LEDBeam 150s … and they are looking at CycFX 8s, MiniPointes and MegaPointes next.
They have an exclusively Robe moving light stock, which is basically down to Rik’s belief and commitment to the brand which he’s followed from early on in his career as a lighting professional.