Chamsys powers emotions in Pasión Oculta
Monday, 22 July 2019
pasionocultaPasión Oculta premiered at Chicago’s North Shore Centre For The Performing Arts
USA - Irma Suarez-Ruiz had one request for Dustin L. Derry when she asked him to light her dance composition Pasión Oculta, which premiered at Chicago’s North Shore Centre For The Performing Arts this summer. She told him to ‘think big’. The artistic director of Ensemble Español, Suarez-Ruiz wasn’t thinking in terms of a giant rig replete with special effects when she proffered this advice. Her words had more to do with the visual impact and emotional force of his design than its size.
Derry, who has been working with Ensemble Español since 2015, did not let his friend and colleague down. His lighting for the sensual six-minute Flamenco-style dance piece glows with raw passion and the aching yearning that boils at the heart of this dance narrative as it swirls around hidden desires. Yet, at the same time, his design also flows gracefully with the dance’s five couples as they move on stage.
Helping Derry achieve this balance is his ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium console. “For me as a dance designer, it is all about timing,” he says. “Timing is a massive part of what I do. Following dancers that all move at slightly different speeds, but land at the same time, would have been next to impossible for me if ChamSys didn’t make precise timing so easy.”
Designing for Pasión Oculta involved a two-step process before tech week for Derry. “I started with Vector Works for designing the plot, projection, rigging, etc.,” he says. “Then I exported the lighting data to my ChamSys via CSV, and also to Capture 2019. After that, Stage Two involved working in Capture and using mostly MQ PC on my desktop with a PC wing to create conceptual renderings. A really good thing about ChamSys is that its consoles interface so smoothly with so many different types of design software.
“When doing shows in rep and constantly changing how that rep is performed, organisation of data is everything,” continues Derry. “In this respect ChamSys shines, not just for this show, but for all my work. Another thing I really appreciate about ChamSys is the Media Server interface and being able to control media servers. We often have a variety of projection content with and without sound. The media window makes manipulation of that content nice and simple.”
Although the console Derry uses remains constant, the lighting fixtures at different venues vary. For the debut of Pasión Oculta, he was impressed by the eight Chauvet Professional Rogue R2 Washes in his rig.
“I have found the Rogue R2 Wash units to be the perfect balance of size and punch to complement today’s modern dance rep,” he says. “They are big and bright enough that you can sneak one out of the wash as a soft edge special, and then have it blend right back into the background.”
(Jim Evans)

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