WI Reaches a Qlimax Q-Dance staged another incredible Qlimax event at the Gelredome in Arnhem, the Netherlands, a full-on visual, sonic and musical extravaganza featuring the best hardcore and hardstyle dance and trance… and right at the heart of the show’s production was a giant Geisha head comprising nine moving pieces and weighing 8 tonnes, which was designed by Dennis van Harten and Daan Jansen and sculpted by Brok Decor. To animate this visual masterpiece, Q-Dance’s technical director Hans Bokkinga called on the innovative and technical skills of entertainment engineering specialist WIcreations, where the project was managed by Koen Peeters. WI was also asked to carry out all the necessary structural calculations on the objects making up the Geisha once they were built and assembled by the set company. “It was a challenge to realize the project in a short timeframe and also to install it in the exact position needed in the venue – above centre stage – in the available space” explained Koen.

Q-Dance events are known worldwide for their technical ambition, and their creative team already had a list of the basic moves and looks they wanted to achieve throughout the evening with the Geisha, so WIcreations applied experience and knowledge of automation and the venue to build a workable, safe and efficient system to transform it into the dramatic kinetic sculpture that all had envisioned.

The movement system was utilizing items entirely from WI’s rental stock... which helped keep it cost effective to deliver this show-stopping effect!

Each element of the Geisha that moved and its corresponding flying points needed to be carefully calculated due to the weight loading of the Gelredome roof and the dynamics of the movement.

The most downstage section of the head was a circular scenic logo and behind it a video screen which was not actually part of the face but moved up and down in front of the forehead. Both these layers moved simultaneously as one object.

The logo was flown on four 800Kg WI motion hoists, with a fifth motion-controlled motor to pick up the cabling looms, so these travelled neatly and safely up and down in unison with the Geisha parts.

For the mouth and cheek sections, to assist with the roof weight loadings, a ground support system was installed with 500Kg motion hoists and towers, which pushed these pieces up and down.

The two eyes were each suspended on two 500Kg hoists that moved independently – tracking left and right on a 30m long WI-track as well as flying up and down.

The forehead was the heaviest single piece at 1.25 tonnes. This moved up and down as one large piece - utilising four 800Kg motion hoists - with the logo positioned centrally over the top of it when in the ‘home’ position.

In addition to all these pieces making up the head, the WI team flew two offstage scenic creations called ‘the armour’ (left and right), each measuring 14 metres high by nine metres wide which also tracked up and down, each utilising four hoists.

Behind the armour was the ‘hair’, another piece in this elegant creation, which was tracked via four hoists on four axes - up and down plus on/offstage - along a 51 metre WI track also installed in the roof.

All these motion elements were programmed and run via WI’s own new powerful motion control system - MCA. The console was operated by Arjen Hofma and Lesly van Rompaey who worked on-site alongside two other WI technicians. The crew worked split-shifts during the programming period so they could keep going and maximise the window available to achieve some of the complex and unique moves requested by the client.

A massive amount of detail needed dealing with... like ensuring that no cables passed in front of or were visible on any of the other elements as they moved. This was also another reason that the final technical design had included ground support components.

Qlimax 2018 was production managed for Q-Dance by Jeroen Beverwijk, and lighting designers Pascal Parent and Robbert-Jan Vernooij added some final touches of drama and coolness to the Geisha and other scenics.

The Geisha was a hugely successful concept which left a memorable stamp on this year’s event and - for the thousands more fans not able to attend in person - it generated loads of comments and engagement in the press and across multiple social media platforms.

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