Four minds focus for twelve months on six dancers and a flying boat made of three hundred seventy four pounds of pure steel. At our production meetings, there was no question about it. We would have a flying boat as the main feature of “The Adventure” section of our upcoming show, Mar del Zvr. Our artistic minds concentrated on this final picture: one beautiful flying boat, with dancers in, on, and everything in between.
In six weeks we will be ready to hang it.
As aerial artists we are always looking for ways to use new apparatuses in our work. This boat has taken twelve months to go from idea to design, to get it built and finally hang it.
My sister, Monica Newsam, asked a great artist from St. Louis, Tom Brady, to design some sketches. He did a phenomenal job, grasping the contemporary mood of a production that is based on events five hundred years ago.
After we decided on one of his designs, it was time to pass from fiction to reality: construction.
The paper can hold any kind of dream. I remember Tom saying: “the only way to do this is engineering, engineering, engineering.” We kept that in mind.
We started searching for companies in the US who could build our dream boat. But the prices were not realistic for our dance company in Panama. Then, thanks to a friend, we found an engineer, Franklin Muñoz from www.inprosera.com. Franklin regularly builds large structures in Panama and his prices were reasonable.
Ximena Eleta de Sierra, President of Gramo Danse, was in charge of making sure that the boat was built properly. Franklin gave her the measurements piece by piece, and she visited his warehouse to ensure that the work was completed in a timely fashion. Franklin was great at developing special features which were not considered in the original design. For example: the mast in the original design was fixed, but we wanted a spinning one. Thanks to Franklin, we got it!
After many months of coming and going from Franklin’s warehouse, the boat is ready. But our quest hasn’t finished yet. Now we have to hang it.
Maybe the stars were aligned, or maybe my sister was in the right place at the right time. About three months ago, Monica attended one of Brett Copes’ workshops. Brett is an rigging specialist with a lot of experience with large scale productions all over the world. Remembering that we needed to hang the boat, Monica introduced herself and just asked him for help. Surprisingly, he agreed to come to Panama and join us on our journey.
His idea is that using a system of pulleys, all the dancers, working together, will raise up the boat on the stage in front of the audience. As my teenage son might say, the concept rocks!
Right now, we are getting ready. We are buying the equipment that Brett suggested, and we hope that the stars will align again and make our dream boat fly— dancers included!
In my next post I will be talking about how a little country can bring people from different cultures together, to turn dreams into reality.