CirqueTech – “KÀ Tech Specs, Part 4/4″

Cirque du Soleil has been, over the years, very guarded about the technical aspects of its productions and in the past it was quite rare to receive a glimpse into what made each show tick. But no longer. Today we can explore the many facets of these shows, from its theme to the brand of speaker or light shining overhead; including this list provided by Cirque du Soleil. In this edition of CirqueTech, we explore the final set of these KÀ Tech Specs: its Special Effects, Props and Puppets, and Rigging.

KÀ Tech Specs, Part 4:

SPECIAL EFFECTS

  • During the pre-show, approximately 120 fireballs are discharged. These fireballs measure 30 feet in height and reach temperatures of 1200° Fahrenheit.
  • Many of the fog effects in KÀ are created using liquid nitrogen, which has a temperature of approximately -300° Fahrenheit. By mixing it with hot water, a low fog effect is created.
  • KÀ has a 13,000 gallon storage tank for liquid nitrogen.
  • For the Forest scene, a mist curtain is created that is 60 feet wide and falls 75 feet. The mist system is softened water run through very fine nozzles at 2500 pounds per square inch.
  • For the Mountain Tribe scenes, snow machines and fans float very fine soap suds through the air to make a very convincing snowfall.
  • 119 pyrotechnic devices are fired throughout the show.

PROPS AND PUPPETS

  • The Props and Puppet Department is responsible for more than 500 individual props, 10 larger-than-life puppets, 21 mini puppets, and six butterflies.
  • The Stick Bug puppet is over 16 feet long and is operated by two artists.
  • The Snake is over 80 feet long, but the head only weighs five pounds, so that it can be easily manipulated by the artist inside.
  • An estimated 1,300 hours went into making one crab puppet, which is worn by an artist in a back bend position.
  • The spears are made of rattan from China, which is chosen for its durability and flexibility.
  • Over 110 live arrows are shot through the air at each performance. The artists spent many hours in training to learn proper archery techniques.

RIGGING

  • There are more than 160 harnesses for the artists, comprised of 21 different types.
  • Each harness is hand-fitted to the individual artist and is inspected weekly, daily, before and during each show.
  • Acrobatic safety nets are used for artists falling less than 20 feet. For falls over 20 feet, air bags are used in addition to the safety nets.
  • There are a total of 18 winches used to pull two safety nets into the many different configurations needed for the show. Each winch rope (5/8” diameter) has a tensile strength of over 50,000 pounds.
  • The forest grid (truss, catwalk and track system that supports the scenic elements of the Forest scene) and its component parts weigh over 50,000 pounds.

{ Source: Cirque du Soleil Press Room }