Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.
Musikfest is a great place for people watching. This weekend, those people include stilt walkers outfitted in 18-foot tall dinosaur costumes.
Musikfest is a great place for people watching.
This weekend, those people include stilt-walkers outfitted in 18-foot-tall dinosaur-like costumes.
“Saurus” is the latest of Musikfest’s spectacle acts. The Bethlehem festival has been working to add more of them in recent years, and “Saurus” is expected to be among its best, said Patrick Brogan, senior vice president of programming for ArtsQuest, Musikfest’s parent company.
“I think they’re going to be the big thing on the second weekend that everyone is talking about,” he said.
“Saurus” is a costumed stilt show put on by Netherlands-based street theater group Close Act Theatre. Brogan discovered the show at last August’s Toronto Buskerfest and worked for almost a year to bring them to Bethlehem.
“This is so dynamic and large-scale and over the top I said we have to see if we can do this in Bethlehem,” Brogan said.
Musikfest has long had a regular rotation of buskers on Main Street but the spectacle acts are new in the past few years. Indie rock marching band March Fourth performed both in 2011 and 2012 while this year’s festival also hosted unique marching band Mucca Pazza and Polynesian dance shows.
In addition to “Saurus,” the last weekend of Musikfest this year also includes Allentown-based aerial troupe Aerial Minds at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks and Dance Now dancers at SteelStacks’ Town Square.
“We’re quite stacked with the street performances and spectacle performances this weekend,” Brogan said. “It’s fun to bring all these artists from all over the world to Bethlehem.”
Close Act Theatre has performed in Brazil, Japan and South Africa but this weekend is only its third-ever performance in the United States, troupe member Eefje de Groot said. The troupe has twice performed at the Detroit Festival of Arts.
“America — we have a lot left to conquer,” she said. “It’s lovely to be here.”
The troupe is made up of dancers, drummers, singers and actors who have all learned to walk on stilts, an element that’s involved in all the troupe’s shows, de Groot said. De Groot and her two fellow performers operate 3-foot stilts beneath the dinosaur costumes.
The troupe also performs on stilts as insects, butterflies and drummers but only the dinosaur costumes were shipped to the United States. The troupe has its own team of designers who brainstorm and sew all the costumes, de Groot said.
“I think they wanted something big and they started drawing and I think it became a dinosaur,” she said.
The performances are advertised to be between Festplatz and Plaza Tropical, which confused many in attendance waiting for the 4 p.m. performance today. In actuality, the troupe starts off at the Main Street S-curve outside Moravian College’s Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus and walks either up to Main Street or down between Festplatz and Plaza Tropical.
Whitehall Township resident Jean Krantz was able to catch some of the performance and said she was impressed.
“It’s really neat,” she said. “To walk on those things … and good weather — what more could you ask for?”
The troupe performs at 4, 6 and 8 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday. Full daily schedules are posted at lehighvalleylive.com/musikfest.