Hofesh Shechter Company celebrated its 10th anniversary and kicked off the first day of Brighton Festival in May with a performance of Grande Finale, the latest original dance work from award-winning choreographer Hofesh Shechter.
Signature to any Shechter production is the ‘Hofesh Haze’, a distinctive thick haze with an even, creamy look that remains consistent throughout the performances. To achieve this effect, Adam Hooper, head of production at Hofesh Shechter, relies on MDG haze and fog generators which are hired locally at each venue, or brought along by the company if there is no local availability. “Because haze is such a large part of Hofesh’s productions, we only use MDG haze and fog generators and specify them on every rider, with no substitute,” he says.
In Grand Finale, the set in Tom Scutt’s design consists of seven rolling towers manipulated by the dancers, and the architecture of Tom Visser’s stark and stylish lighting design, with beams of monochromatic light that cut sharply through the haze and change with each repositioning of the towers.
“The lighting positions are very specific and structured,” explains Hooper. “Focusing can take up to eight hours because Hofesh insists on running through the show at every new venue, and his attention to detail means we frequently tweak the lighting levels by as little as 0.5% during technical rehearsals. This is why the ‘Hofesh Haze’ is a very important addition to the aesthetic. We need it to look the same at all times, with no little puffs or clouds or gaps across the stage or auditorium, to show the lighting to its best advantage, and we can only achieve that with MDG.
To achieve the correct level of haze, show operator Andre Gubanov uses the MDG haze generator and fills the stage and the auditorium with an even haze before the audience arrives. “The haze is an important factor to draw the audience closer to the dancers by enveloping them as well,” Gubanov says. “We then close the tabs before the audience come in, so when they are opened the haze remains evenly distributed across the stage and auditorium and doesn’t roll in either direction.”
To maintain the correct levels of haze during the performance at the Brighton Dome, two MDG machines were located one each side of the stage, accompanied by nine DMX fans rigged 2m above the lighting grid and another four on stage at each corner to drive the haze down and keep it consistent around the dancers. Gubanov controls the fanspeed remotely from the console and the hazer output manually from the wings to keep the creaminess in the right place and at the right consistency.
Grand Finale has been touring internationally since its premiere in Paris last summer and is currently touring the UK where you can catch the next show at Sadlers Wells from 4-7 July, before it continues its international schedule until the end of 2019.