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Case study: Robert Juliat causes a splash at The House of Dancing Water

Andrew Brister 23 February 2011

The world’s largest water-based permanent show, The House of Dancing Water, is located in a purpose-built, 2000-seat theatre centred on a 160-foot-diameter swimming pool within Macau’s City of Dreams resort.

This latest spectacular from Artistic Director Franco Dragone was five years in the planning and two years in creation and has taken the entertainment world by storm.

Lighting designer Luc Lafortune, who has worked for many years with Dragone, designed the complex lighting for The House of Dancing Water which includes fixtures from French lighting manufacturer Robert Juliat.

Six Robert Juliat 1800W HMI Victor followspots and 18 Robert Juliat D’Artagnan HMI zoom profile fixtures were supplied to the show’s lighting supplier, White Light, by Robert Juliat dealer Pacific Lighting HK.

The theatre is a huge space to light with a large rig of moving lights, long throw distances from differing levels above the stage and challenging lighting angles. Acts take place at pool level, stage level and on aerial trapezes and include Russian swings, a 10m high ship that rises and falls through the water (left), and a dramatic motocross act with riders making jumps of 20m across the stage whilst performing mid-air stunts at heights of up to 15m.

Gary Bower, head of lighting at the House of Dancing Water Theatre says: “Almost all of our Robert Juliat D’Artagnans are used on Level 5, plus one at the North of Level 4 with a Turkish lace gobo and one at stage level to light the hero’s motorbike as he enters. A large complement are used for the moto act (above) to produce a nice bright path for the main jumps. They vary in angle of shot, but produce a corridor of light. The remainder are used with custom gobos on the centre lift within the pool to help change the "locale" of the scene. We chose the D’Artagnans for their ability to punch through almost any look or wash on stage. We also have two with Rosco Vortex spinners to emphasise the Dark Queen’s entrance (below).”

The six Robert Juliat 1800W HMI Victor followspots are spread evenly around 270° of the circular grid above the audience to highlight the main protagonists. Followspot positions are restricted to 1.5m by 1.5m platforms with a swivel seat and swivel yoke and raised to a height of 12m to keep the operators out of sightline of the Drum Wall.

“The House of Dancing Water is our most recent collaboration with Luc Lafortune who has favoured Robert Juliat profiles and followspots in his lighting designs since the big shows of Las Vegas in the 1990s,” says sales director, Lionel Garraud.

The House of Dancing Water is just the latest success for Robert Juliat in Macau where over 60 followspots (including Cyrano, Aramis, Heloise, Ginger, Victor, Super Korrigan and Topaze), profiles and DMX products have been installed across theatres and casinos on the island. Installations include the Sands Casino, The Venetian, the Wynn Casino and the Macau Cultural Center with all units having been supplied by Pacific Lighting (HK).

All photos: Courtesy of Franco Dragone Entertainment Group

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