Dancesport is a growing discipline at all levels. From local dance competitions to a myriad of popular dance shows on television to its inclusion in the 2024 Summer Olympics, the world has clearly embraced dance as sport.
Dance America Productions an independent production company based in Tampa, FL, specializes in dance events of all types and has worked many of the genre’s competitions for years. Owned by Nina Kimbrough, a dancer herself, the company carries lighting, sound, pipe and drape, and LED video walls, not to mention the all-important portable dance floors that range from 2,400-6,000 square feet.
Dance floor is the stage
Kimbrough uses a system of Elation LED luminaires (SixPar 300™ and Cuepix Blinder WW4™) with a clever airwall mounting system to provide high-quality lighting at Dancesport competitions around the country. “The dance floor is the stage, so it needs to be lit properly,” Kimbrough states. “It needs to light the dancers and the space in which they are dancing in a bright, even illumination that doesn’t blind and with minimal hot and cold spots on the floor. It needs to provide the proper coloring for the dancers, and finally it needs to support photography and videography. I get all that from my Elation lights.”
Traditional side light positions for dance floor events – single truss towers on or near the corners of the dance floor—pose a number of problems, according to Kimbrough, who prefers to forego towers whenever possible. “You want even illumination, but that is hard to do with towers. When you light from towers and project from the corners, it is hard not to blind dancers, judges or the audience. You also get hotspots on the dance floor and often shadows and dark spots.” Another option for lighting positions—flying truss above the dance floor – is also an unsatisfactory solution, she says, as costs can be prohibitive for a dance event.
Airwall hanging system
Shortly after acquiring Dance America Productions, just prior to the start of the pandemic, Kimbrough discovered another technique for hanging lighting fixtures that proved simpler and held many benefits. As most ballrooms house airwall systems with lines of airwall track, it was possible to hang pipe using up to 750 lb-capacity airwall hangers. “It’s a wonderful system that allows for easy illumination from above, just like an overhead truss would provide. There is no floor footprint, so the lighting is out of everyone’s way, and lighting is directly over the floor, so illumination is much better and only on the dance floor.” Another plus—airwall hangers are much easier to transport than truss.
SixPar and Cuepix
A typical lighting setup for a dance event handled by Dance America Productions consists of groups of SixPar 300s above the dance floor. A flexible Par light with 6-color LED multi-chip, the SixPar is capable of projecting variable shades of white light or virtually any color desired. With power linking from fixture to fixture, it is easy to set them up quickly and then take them down at the end of a competition. Each SixPar group works with a Cuepix Blinder WW4, an industry-standard 4-lite that mimics an incandescent white and is great for skin toning. Both fixtures operate flicker free for use with high-speed cameras and video equipment.
Kimbrough says she inherited the Elation fixtures when she bought the company but has been very happy with them. “These lights are very bright and because they are LED and don’t use a lot of electricity we don’t have to worry about additional power, which saves a lot of hassle and expense,” she says. “They are also versatile in terms of angling and positioning and come with good clamp options, so they are easy to get up.”
She concludes, “This entire airwall lighting system is a real novelty. Not only is it easier, it gives better results. It’s been a real win-win.”
Further information from Dance America Productions: www.DanceAmerica.net
Further information from Elation Professional: www.elationlighting.com