Jump to content

Putting together a dance "Rep Rig"

Light Console

Recommended Posts

We seem to get a lot of dance companies hire our hall, and I would like to design something better than the current "drama rig" (45° angle warm/cold wash with 2 pairs of lavender top-side lights and blue/red back lights). This lights the 16m by 8m stage just about, but is not ideal for dance by any means.


We recently tried warm from the front and cold from behind, and this seemed much better, but we had side lighting to assist. It is not easy for us to have side lighting permanently rigged, and extra equipment has to be hired in.


I have not got much dance lighting experience, and I would like to improve what little lighting we have. I am not after anybody designing this for me, but if anybody has any suggestions from the world of dance, or even some plans that they could let me look at, I would be most grateful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Recently I had a conversation with an LD who told me alot of 'contempary dance' nowadays is lit by mainly using side lighting. I read the part which said about using side lighting. What is the structure for your side lighting ie. How many lanterns and which type are you using where ?.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there, thanks for replies so far...

Funny you should mention cheap moving mirrors, I have recently put 2 MX-1s up in the rig, but we had problems recording them to subs on our Express, and I haven't yet had time to figure out why...

Side lights are a problem because they cannot be left out sometimes - I work within a school, and lessons are held in the hall, little fingers play! We have very small wings, with almost no backstage space as the hall is designed to be a concert hall. We have 4 tank traps and scaff poles, and I can provide floor dimmers. We used pars as shins and mids, and profiles with breakups in for heads. We will look at hiring Fresnels next time to get more control over the parcans, and we need another 2 tank traps.

Thanks also for the link to the other thread, I'm off to read it now...


Edit...looks like Byson's posts in the threads linked will give me a great base to work from. Should have searched harder, and not for "rep rig" methinks! sorry :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Rob,


Knowing the venue, I think you'd definitely want more than 4 tank traps to cross light that stage evenly. - Perhaps more like 4 per side?


It might be worth thinking about ladders (as mentioned by Jivemaster) though? You could have these pre-rigged and ready to hang off the up/downers of your truss as and when required.


I suspect a decent front cover, good side light and back light should cover most bases for smaller dance shows. I guess its also worth just making sure that some 'decent' and good cover is what the client wants, rather than just cheese-on-toast beams of light wobbling all over the shop.


Hope that helps a little.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Front cover for dance isn't so important. If I was designing a dance 'rep rig', the elements that I'd like to ensure it contained are (in no particular order) a toplight cover, split into a decent number of areas ; a decent pipe-end coverage, ideally configured so that it can do 'own side' and 'opposite side' in isolation (for an 8m stage, in at least 4 'bays') ; Some really strong backlight that's punchy enough to deal with saturated colours if required ; some dance booms with a head and a shin on each, and ideally a mid as well if you have the lamps and dimmers to spare (at least the shins should be profiles so that you can keep the light off the floor) ; some gobo toplight so that you can texture the floor. Scrollers on the toplight, backlight and pipe ends are also incredibly useful if you're having to 'wing it' with dance school-type shows.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll concentrate on colours then - kit has been done, with our usual differences of opinion.


Warm/cool and subtle colours are probbaly best mucked out and replaced with something more emotive - especially as shadows can be totally new colours. I quite like mauve - does amazing things with yellows. Other colours just go 'purpley', but yellow goes vivid red. I love shadows on a white cloth too So hitting the dancers from multiple angles does look good, adding stronger colours. For the first time, I've just been using lots of washlights from the front, back and sides and did the entire thing in cmy colours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, this is just an idea, but maybe some cheap moving mirrors might be worth a go.

Erm, Why??

OK, in some dance numbers, SOME moving light may be useable, but to be perfectly honest the first things to sort are the basics. Yes side light is very much the norm and has been for some time now. But to give a rounded aspect to any performance, be it dance, song or drama, the choice of light from a variety of angles and colour is pretty much a starting point.


A couple of cheap moving mirrors are going to be just that - cheap and tacky.


Used properly and with adequate forethought and planning/design, proper moving lanterns CAN enhance a dance show, but you still a) have to have the basics in place first and b) know what you're doing and c) have the quality of kit to do it right.


Otherwise all you get is a crappy cheap-looking attempt that fails.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Below is a link to an 85ish% complete plan of a (mostly dance) venue I work in. Lx3 and Lx4 are actually pretty much the same as 1 and 2. There is also more of a front cover, but not really used for dance.


Link Here


Strangely, it seems to fit what Gareth was suggesting...


As far as I know, the LABAN (dance conservatiore) Bonnie Bird theatre also has a similar rig, with the addition of scrollers on the top cover.


Hope this helps,




(edited link so it works!)


A concurrent post has been automatically merged from this point on.


Or maybe some LED's?


Just wanted to add that, in my opinion, LED's at the moment don't have a place in dance (The only exception possibly being a specific effect on a cyc or similar):


The don't produce a decent saturated wash and they create very 'murky' shadows, typically brown, especially on people.


I work in an area with a lot of urban/black dance companies and once witnessed an LD attempt to light one of these pieces using LED's and the result was unpleasant to say the least.


LED's = eye candy and architecturals only!


I am very prepared to be shot down in flames now...!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think the OP is interested in kit suggestions (quite aside from the risk of bogging down the thread with LEDs or mover arguments) - I don't think he has money for kit! He just wants to rearrange the kit he has.


Most of of what I'd recommend has already been said by Gareth and Jivemaster. I know you don't want to get involved with floorlights, but you really, really need some shins. 6 or 8 widish profiles on bench bases that you can strike easily enough (but leave the cabling in) will help you immensely, as will drop pipes from the pipe ends with some kit at just above head height. Then you want some actual pipe ends, and a toplight wash.....keep the backlight as is....make the front cover minimal....Bob's your mother's brother. I always liked a gob backlight from the corners too. Nice and beamy.


Basically, you want to give the stage depth and "sculpt" the dancers bodies. Being able to define areas will help you not having to go up and focus every five minutes, but if you did have a tiny bit of money, you could do a lot worse than fitting two 26 degree profiles with a couple of Rosco I-Cues.... Put them DSC and they'll pay for themselves very quickly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies folks, all being used to make a rig plan.


I am working away from computers until Tuesday evening, so I will not be able to reply again until then.


We are just being given 6 LED pars by one of our feeder schools, and I have 6 myself. It looks like I should be spending more time on getting side lighting in than on the rig itself when I am getting ready for dance shows. I know now what I should have on my wish list, thank you all!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.