LOS ANGELES – When you have only one trailer for a high-profile tour, every fixture you load into it had better count. Butch Allen, the 2014 Parnelli Award Lighting Designer of the Year who has toured with a long list of superstars from Van Halen and Jennifer Lopez to Metallica and Usher, demonstrated this principle in stunning fashion recently when he created a maximum “bang for the inch” rig for the sold-out Dancing With The Stars Live! tour.
“We had to fit everything – and I mean everything — from costumes and props to the show’s famous mirror balls into a single trailer for this tour,” said Allen. “Ray Woodbury of RK Diversified Entertainment did an amazing job helping me put together a rig that delivered all the lighting punch we needed, while not taking up an inordinate amount of space in the trailer.”
The “workhorse” of this rig, according to Allen, was CHAUVET Professional’s Q-Wash 560Z-LED, a high-output moving head wash powered by 91 3-watt RGBWA LEDs. “We have a lot of great fixtures in the rig, but the Q-Wash is the light that stands out,” said Allen. “It’s the workhorse and the ‘lighting star’ on the Dancing With The Stars Live! tour hands down.”
There are a number of features that made the Q-Wash 560Z-LED an ideal fit for Allen’s Dancing With The Stars Live! rig. “The color rendering and optic zoom range on that light are awesome,” said the LD. “We’re using only 18 of these fixtures, yet we’re completely covering a 50 foot by 30 foot stage with just about every color imaginable. Plus since the fixtures are so light (21.2 lbs.), we have no difficulty hanging them from house pipe at different stops during the tour.”
The Q-Wash 560Z-LED has a zoom range of 6° to 37°, and Allen drew on every bit of this capacity in his design for the 90-minute show. “We zoom from tight spaces to full flood in this show and the light remains smooth and even,” he said. “With the zoom range and color rendering capabilities of the Q-Wash, we’re able to create a lot of different looks, which is of course absolutely necessary in a dance show.”
Complementing the Q-Wash 560Z-LED, on the Dancing With The Stars Live! tour rig, which was controlled by a grandMA2, were 20 CHAUVET Professional Rogue R2 Beams. The powerful (133,200 lux at 15 meters) output of the Rogue moving fixtures delivers a dazzling added punch to Allen’s design. The intense beams from the Rogue units are used to accent the flamboyant moves of the tour’s cast as they dance with unmistakable confidence and style through numbers like Fresh Prince Freestyle from the TV show and new routines like Jail House Jive.
Allen credits Chad Peters, the tour’s lighting director, and programmer and Joel Muir, the lighting tech, with working magic on the rig that matched the panache on the dance floor stage night after night. That’s no small feat, considering the tour visits 39 cities in a seven-week period, starting out at the Seneca Event Center in Niagara Falls and ending at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
“The lightshow delivers a lot of color and energy to the stage on this tour,” said Allen. “Chad and team run the fixtures hard to put it mildly. I’m always amazed and impressed when fixtures put up with what we dish out and deliver such a consistently great performance. We put these fixtures to the test and they passed with flying colors.”