Generally speaking in theatrical performances, if something appears effortless, it’s because there is a very complex and detailed infrastructure making it seem that way. Perhaps the greatest example of this is the surreal, gravity-defying stunts and tricks performed by the cast members of the numerous Cirque du Soleil shows. And while many of the shows take place in portable tent structures that travel from city to city, the permanent home of the troupe’s KÁ show in the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas, NV, allows for even more spectacular sets and illusions than in other shows.
Energy Chain cable carriers can handle the high loads and accelerations necessary for the KÁ show.
Though the movements on the stage look effortless, it takes a lot of equipment behind the scenes to make the show possible.
There’s really no center stage here, since many of the show’s 80 performers sail through the air, balance on apparatus extending from different parts of the theatre, and even slide down a 350-ft3 cascade of Portuguese cork imitating sand on the main performance platform, which tilts in every direction.
Considered to be the most technical show in Las Vegas, KÁ uses massive amounts of cables and hoses to provide power to elements such as light, projectors, and one of the most complicated networked computer control systems in the industry. Plastic cable carrier manufacturer igus (East Providence, RI) supplied the housings to protect the cables and wires on each of the production’s five stages. The all-plastic System E4/100 and Light Energy Chains are specifically designed to handle high loads, accelerations, and speeds, and the unique side-link and stop-dog design allows these carriers to reduce noise by 50%. With such a complicated setup, the maintenance-free, snap-open crossbars are ideal for easy cable installation. The chains are made from a proprietary material called igumid G that offers gliding speeds of up to 16.4 ft/sec.
More than a million spectators have seen the KÁ artists perform acrobatic feats, Capoeira dance, puppetry, and martial arts since it opened in 2005, and the durability of the igus cable carriers should certainly withstand the 10 weekly shows for years to come.—[email protected]
Top left photo: The design of the KÁ theater is out of the ordinary, and the cables controlling the movement of the five stage components are safely protected by igus plastic cable carriers.