Orlando, Fla. — McLaren Engineering Group was tasked with adapting Cirque du Soleil La Nouba’s Bamboo Aerial Act for use in a stunning outdoor performance. The Orlando-based show took its new dynamic act to the streets of Downtown Orlando for the Creative City Project event on Saturday, Oct. 15.
The Bamboo Aerial Act is an acrobatic performance where two artists, Ekaterina and Alexander Abramova, use a ladder-like apparatus to demonstrate a spellbinding mix of acrobatics and romantic storytelling. Originating from China, this moving art form involves fluid choreography and bold tricks performed while dangling in the air. McLaren assisted with the structural analysis to ensure the safety of the Bamboo Aerial Act.
“McLaren was proud to provide the initial structural review of the act’s equipment, rigging, and supporting structure in the gridiron for La Nouba’s theater, and the follow-up review for the crane, forklift, and rigging components for the act for the Creative City Project,” said Andrew Habel, Florida Regional Director, McLaren Engineering Group. “As the industry evolves, our entertainment division follows suit in taking the ideas and concepts of our clients and making them a reality.”
To bring the show safely to the streets of Orlando, a crane was used to suspend the act. Loft blocks attached to the crane’s boom suspended the rigging. The performer’s apparatus was hung from steel cables at a winch attached to a forklift at ground level, acting as an anchorage point. The winch raised and lowered the acrobat’s prop for the performance.
McLaren reviewed the act’s rigging, the supporting crane’s capacity and the crane boom angle and length — providing 25 feet of clearance below the performance during the act. The weight of the forklift and the winch attachment acted as anchorage points for the performance prop. The safety of the acrobats and the street crowds was a primary consideration and maintaining acceptable safety factors was a must.
“One of the most challenging aspects for the structural analysis of the Bamboo Aerial Act was determining the dynamic forces on the act’s show components and rigging due to the performer’s acrobatics,” says Habel. “For performer safety, we wanted to minimize any changes to the feel of the equipment during the performance to ensure that performer interaction with modified equipment would be as smooth as possible.”
McLaren has collaborated with Canadian-based Cirque du Soleil for years, working on various scenery, mechanized effects, and show-action equipment in many of their theaters as well as designing entire sets for traveling shows. McLaren brings a wealth of entertainment design experience for Cirque du Soleil and similar acts in the industry.
“McLaren’s entertainment division has been responsible for some of the biggest shows all over the world. From Broadway to Vegas, and now Orlando, we’re extremely proud of the creative ideas we’ve helped to become reality,” says Malcolm G. McLaren, CEO of McLaren Engineering Group.
McLaren’s past entertainment work includes structural and mechanical design of touring show sets and stages for The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, and N’Sync, as well as structural and mechanical design for scenery and rides in theme parks around the world.