Heightening the performances of Colombia’s Ensalsate – a celebration of salsa, produced by the 360 Design Group, was a lighting design by Milton de la Cruz that featured 22 CHAUVET Professional Rogue R3 Beam fixtures.
Like the colourfully clad dancers on stage, de la Cruz’s flow of beams, spot lighting, and gobo patterns moves with deft grace as it sweeps up the audiences in a liberating whirlwind of desires and emotions. Underlying this zealous display, however, is a meticulously crafted design that pulls the entire creation together, endowing it with even greater power.
For all its free-flowing fervour, Salsa adheres to its own choreographic grammar and syntax. As a result, accentuating the precise moves of dancers is a crucial part of De La Cruz’s design, which draws on a mixture of evocative beam configurations and colours to translate the energy of salsa into visual creation.
“My main mission was to make the choreographed moments more eye-catching and special for the audience,” said de la Cruz, who worked closely with 360 Group Colombia and its owner Paulo Rojas to mould the lighting concept around the detailed production. “The varied beam effects of the Rogue R3 Beams gave me the tools to reinforce the spirit and passion inherent within each carefully calculated move of the dancers on stage.”
With two formations of R3 Beams hung in linear fashion from above stage trussing and another linear formation positioned at the back of the stage on the floor, de la Cruz was able to utilise the sharp, focused beams to create columns of synchronised light on stage. The crisscrossing of the beams in both vertical and horizontal formations allowed the team to accentuate specific moments during the show, all the while creating an impressive look and feel for the stage.
One of the overriding themes of the show was the widespread use of vivid, saturated colour. Often employed as one of salsa’s key tools to transmit emotion, the colourful costumes in the show come to symbolise the passion inherent in the language of salsa. This made it a primary consideration of de la Cruz when designing the show.
Suggesting a swirling sense of motion on stage was also key to setting the right atmosphere in this show. Among the more memorable looks was when de la Cruz called upon the numerous frosted prism effects within the fixture’s 17 continuous scroll gobos to direct wonderfully abstract colours and patterns towards the audience.
After seeing the Rogues in action for the first time in pre-production, Paulo Rojas, director of 360 Group Colombia, was so impressed that he gave his blessing to expand their role in the show, allowing them to be used in more scenes than originally intended.
“Rojas was complimentary of the lighting concept,” concluded de la Cruz. “It was a great experience working with this team. Like the dancers on stage, our production crew moved in harmony together.”