The Monona Terrace Community Center host Pyrotechniq on Nov. 3 — a Chicago based dance group that specializes in fire and light dancing.
The 75-minute performance, titled “Luminescence: A spectacle of fire and light,” will be separated into two acts. For the first half of the show, the dancers will incorporate LED props into the performance, while the second half of the show will be fire dancing. It takes approximately 20-40 hours for the dancers to perfect each piece, but the the group also trains the public to dance with fire and light with six week lessons.
The dance group has performed for clients such as the Museum of Science and Industry, the University of Illinois and Navy Pier, but their November performance will be their Madison debut.
“I think that the city of Madison is really going to like it,” Ashley Bertling, Pyrotechniq’s owner, said. “I think this is going to be up their alley, so that’s what excites me.”
New art exhibit, Art En Route, mobilizes artistic ability, communityThe new exhibition, “Art En Route,” brings together aspects of visual and literary art to create a community throughout Madison Read…
New dance pieces are created when the dancers ask themselves, “What need do we need?” This can be the need to be expressive as an artist or the need to challenge themselves as dancers, Bertling said. This thought-provoking task is the beginning of the process for developing choreography that will one day be performed on a stage.
One person is usually in control of the choreography and planning process to prevent a clashing of ideas, and no more than two people will work on any given piece at the same time. There are a total of six dancers, with the addition of two fire-safety members. The fire-safety is on stand by in case anything goes wrong during the performance.
The dancers use a variety of props, but one intricate prop is the contact staff. This prop is not held, but rather rolls over the body. This creates difficulties because the dancers must move their bodies to prevent hitting the staff in the wrong way, all the while planning ahead to know where the staff will move to next.
Conversation Starter: Filmmaker of ‘Rat Film,’ Theo Anthony, discusses personal ties to documentaries, fluid film-making approach“Rat Film” is a documentary which surprisingly isn’t really about rats at all. Instead, Baltimore-based filmmaker Theo Anthony uses these often-stigmatized Read…
The selected prop influences how the dance will be shaped. Different props lead to different possible movements.
“The fire and the lights become an extension of your arms and the rest of your body,” Bertling said. “The prop would not be able to move without our bodies. So the dance of fire is driven by whichever prop you’re using.”
The selected song also has a huge importance in determining the dance movements. The group listens to songs on repeat until they find the perfect one that matches their feelings and the envisioned dance movements. For this reason, choosing a song is the most difficult step, Bertling said.
Blocking out choreography is next in the procedure. This is when the dancers listen to the song and decide what specific moves they want to do. Blocking is vague at first. The dancers think of certain poses or moves for specific times in the song. For example, they may decide to do the splits when the song drops. Then, pieces are filled in and the dance becomes finalized.
This creative process and style of dance is the team’s passion. One of the goals of Pyrotechniq is to have everyone involved dancing for a full-time job as opposed to part-time, Bertling said. Another goal for the future is to move to a larger space.
Anyone is capable of learning how to dance with fire and light, but it’s going to take some time. There is a six-week training session that teaches the basics for one prop. On the sixth class, students are allowed to work with fire for the first time. The six-week training isn’t going to make anyone a professional, but advanced classes are offered for those who wish to one day perform on stage.
The Madison performance is set for 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 and tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for youth (age 11 or younger). The dancers’ passion will surely make this a great performance.
“Pyrotechniq was formed by a group of individuals who didn’t want to do anything else with their life besides fire-dance,” Bertling said.