NY1's Stephanie Simon got a behind-the-scenes look at iLuminate, which recently lit up the stage at New World Stages. She filed the following report.
All performers want to be in the spotlight. The iLuminate dancers wear the lights and wow audiences with their technical and artistic innovations.
The dancers wear light suits to create larger-than-life dance performances. The show also sparks a lot of curiosity in the youngsters in the audience.
"It's funny. Some people think that we're like plastic. They don't know if we're real humans or not, and they're like, 'Oh my God, can I touch it?" and they want to know how it's made and how it works," says Marcus Allan Cobb, dancer and choreographer with iLuminate.
It's all the brain child of dancer and software engineer Miral Kotb, who combined her two passions to create iLuminate.
"You take light suits, which have been around for a while, but then you add to it this wireless networking technology, and it turns into something where the dancers can just appear and disappear," Kotb says. "The lights can like flash faster than the human eye can actually process, so you get this really visual kind of candy that your eyes just love."
The suits are built at iLuminate's studio in Brooklyn, but they are a lot different from what they wore on America's Got Talent in 2011
"We were wearing like two boards at the time," says John 'JRock' Nelson, dancer and choreographer with iLuminate. "Now, we're wearing up to four, five boards, so it's about twice as many circuits and lights. "
I gave it a try and found that even wearing part of a costume really weighs you down, making even the simplest dance moves much more difficult.
They do many styles of dance, and of course, the robot is one of them.
"This is the robot character of the show, and basically, it's wirelessly controlled, electroluminescent wiring with LEDs," Nelson said.
What's really impressive about this operation is how entertaining it is while also shedding light on the many cool applications of technology in the performing arts.
"It's actually kind of cool to be a software engineer," Kotb says.
The show continues to evolve technically and artistically.
Tickets for the show start at $49.95. For more information, visit iluminate.com.