As you all might have known from my previous post, the House of Dancing Water is finally open to the world after 5 years of development and HK$2 billion spent to create and produce. I was lucky enough to attend the media launch even before the world premiere last week, which was an unforgettable experience.
And now I will share with you some facts about the show, hopefully they are interesting enough to make you feel like going to Macau to experience the largest and most spectacular water-based show on earth.
This uniquely created show, housed in a purpose-built theater designed with multiple breakthroughs including a stage pool that is able to hold a record breaking 3.7 million gallons water (equivalent to 5 Olympic-sized swimming pools) is located at City of Dreams, Macau. By employing the latest technology, the aquatic stage could be converted into a solid floor in a matter of seconds using 11 ten-ton elevators.
Franco Dragone, a creative genius from Belgium whose shows have been seen by over 65 million people worldwide is the mastermind behind the show. The state-of-the-art theater (click for the full image) is basically divided into four zones, with tickets priced at HK$1,280, $880, $680 and $380 respectively.
I think you would be pleased to know that there are on-going grand opening packages that include one night’s stay at any premium hotels in City of Dreams, two tickets to The House of Dancing Water plus other privileges. The lowest priced package @ HK$1,188++ entitles you for a stay in Hard Rock Hotel, about RM250 per pax, quite a steal.
An epic love story that takes the casts on a journey through time sets the stage with dazzling costumes, special effects and daring acts never seen before in theater. What Mr. Franco is doing is to create a spectacular show that would set a new high in theater prestige, greater than all the shows he had produced in the past.
The human chandelier, performed by performers arranged in three ‘levels’. In this highlight sequence, they demonstrate their incredible artistry and gymnastic expertise.
Although 77 international performance artists make up the cast, three promiment characters are The Stranger, played by Jesko von den Steinen from Canada. Jesko is a talented entertainer who has worked as an actor, clown, choreographer, creative designer and even filmmaker!
In the story, he plays a young and brave Stranger who is washed ashore after the mysterious temple arises from the sea. He would embark on an incredible journey to rescue and free the imprisoned Princess, his love interest.
Playing the role of Princess is Faye Leung, who was born in Shanghai and her illustrious career has spanned the worlds of dance, theater, modeling, TV commercials, music videos and spokeperson for various international brands. But it was ultimately her career in ballet that launched her into fame.
Ana Arroyo from Spain portrays the evil Serpent Queen who wanted to make her son the heir to the throne, instead of the Princess. Her jealousy and hatred of the Princess drove her to imprison her in a cage. Prior to joining the show, both Ana and Faye were not swimmers. So they had to undergo swimming and diving lessons just to be part of the show.
The participating performers, known as the Franco Dragone family of artists, are recruited across five continents over two years. In this period, over 700 performers auditioned and only 77 were selected. The final show cast comprises approximately 32 acrobats, 12 members of the Tanzanian group Pyramid, 6 contortionists, 8 female Dancers, 4 musicians, 7 motorcycle stuntmen, 4 leading characters and 4 reserves. As for the background crew, there are 130 production staff, technicians and professional divers.
The divers are an important part of the show as well as having a huge responsibility towards the safety of the artists. They need to in perfect position and keep alert all the time in order to fetch these high-flying performers underwater to exit.
In the show, the Princess’ despair gives her the ability to unleash powerful forces, like summoning bright magic that rises to fight against the Serpent Queen’s dark magic.
Water, light and creative performance combine to stunning effect.
When the Sea Serpent makes her apperance, 258 automated fountains with varying spray strengths and colorful spot lights are used to produce the effect.
Usually, the music played during a theater show is pre-recorded. But for this show, the music is performed live by the four musicians mentioned earlier playing drums and percussion; keyboard; guitar and Erhu.
And some other interesting facts:
- Asian superstar Ms. Sammi Cheng was honored as the voice of ‘The House of Dancing Water’ for the theme song ‘Water of Love’.
- The ‘Dancing Water Theater’ is a 270-degree theater-in-the-round, with a central stage at a diameter of approximately 65 feet.
- Over 400 costumes will be utilized over the course of the show.
- Over 15,000 individual pieces of Swarovski crystals make up the diamond-like buttons and pearls on the performers’ costumes which include over 500 belt buckles and are also adorned with over 110,680 studs or metallic nails.
- Over 275 pairs of specially created shoes are tailor-made for the water-based extravaganza.
- Approximately 154 wigs are designed for this spectacular world-class production.
- Waterproof cosmetics are used by the show’s cast are specially imported from France.
- A high dive takes place near the end of the show is from 24.5 meters.
- The Dancing Water Theater fountains rise to some 18 meters.
- The seven ‘Riders’, motorcycle stuntmen fly up to 15 meters in height and jump 20 meters in length.
The above mentioned are only some of the interesting points about the show. I could go on and on about the show especially from the technology perspective but I don’t think I want to bore you with that. And here comes the most important question: Is it worth watching?
Well, I am not going to say ‘yes’ simply because I got to attend the media launch and even got to watch it for free. I don’t think I even need to convince you because this show basically sells itself. But I will tell you this, if you can afford to catch The House of Dancing Water, it will be an eye-opening experience that you will remember for a very long time.