CriticalDance Forum

Safety in dance performances
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Author:  Azlan [ Thu Jan 04, 2001 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

Image <BR>One of several fog machines made by Rosco Laboratories, Inc., the largest manufacturer of glycol fog machines.<P><BR>Hmm, has anyone noticed how articles tend to pop up in newspapers after we've discussed the topics here on<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Voices Fading in the Fog<BR>Performers say chemicals in synthetic mists on stage are health risk</B><P>Sabin Russell, SF Chronicle Medical Writer <P>It is instant stagecraft, in a can. <P>For more than two decades, modern theatrical fog machines have bathed actors, singers and dancers in ephemeral mists that catch the light and capture the imagination. <P>But the same special effects that dazzle and delight audiences -- and garnered an Oscar for technical achievement in 1984 -- may be damaging the health of those who must act and sing and dance engulfed in an unnatural cloud.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><B><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>More</A></B>

Author:  Christina [ Thu Jan 04, 2001 12:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

Salzberg, re dry ice. I had a close friend who almost DID suffocate from it on stage in a high school production. The play stopped, a doctor was summoned, and the girl was near a convulsive state. I will never forget it. <P>Second -- in the thread addressing "smoking in the studio," I talked about being expected to dance on a stage filled with pigeon dung and how badly I was thought of for opting out of the performance at the advice of my ear/nose/throat doctor. I also mentioned a program we have in our city for underprivileged children that has several locations for classes -- one of which had a similar pigeon problem. The artistic director of that program now has severe asthma and told me that many of the children the program was meant to serve needed medical treatment from exposure. Can you believe the artistic director wouldn't make a stink and kept the job because it provided group health insurance. I think she needs to author a book "Saps Like Me." <P>My take on this time and again is: artists need to quit being so meek about their well-being. Nuts to that. I'll stay in a studio and take class the rest of my life before I'll be 'ever so grateful' to be on stage that I'll put up with such nonsense. <P>Re decibel levels: Never will forget Paul McCarthy's "Live and Let Die" number at Madison Square Garden. I nearly shot out of my seat. All in the name of "production." <P>One summer, while visiting my parents in the Twin Cities, I needed an indoor track for racewalking because the heat had climbed to an intolerable point. I joined a nearby "swank" health club where the track encircled the aerobic dance floor. I complained time and again to the management about the unhealthy noise level of the aerobic dance music. The manager said that since it was acceptable to most other patrons, the noise level would remain the same. I responded, "Well, if everyone was okay with you slapping them when they entered the club, would that make it okay?" An assault is an assault. <P>[This message has been edited by Christina (edited January 04, 2001).]<p>[This message has been edited by Christina (edited January 04, 2001).]

Author:  Basheva [ Thu Jan 04, 2001 2:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

Christina - there have been some very interesting and useful discussions on this board about sound - did you get a chance to read it? I think you would enjoy it.

Sound Design

<small>[ 08-09-2002, 21:32: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

Author:  salzberg [ Sat Jan 06, 2001 5:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

Christina, can you provide more details about the dry ice fog incident, such as location and approximate date? They must have been using a *lot* of fog.<BR><P>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer<BR>This Day in Arts History: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A><BR>Online portfolio: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <BR>

Author:  salzberg [ Sat Jan 06, 2001 5:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

Azlan, the SF Chronicle article is being discussed at length in several stagecraft forums ("fora"?). There is no doubt that such effects, if overused or misused, can be dangerous; however, it's amazing how performers' complaints about them tend to intensify at contract negotiation time.<P>I was surprised to read that SFO is still using mineral oil foggers; I was under the impression that the technology had been abandoned as being much more dangerous than glycol. I wonder if the article is using the same definition as does the industry.<P>The article said, "Like many theater producers, Opera administrators remain skeptical that stage fog poses a health threat to any but a few highly sensitized individuals."<P>I'm in the middle on this; I think that the manufacturers tend to minimize the dangers and (some) performers tend to overexaggerate the effects (after all, hypochondria amongst opera singers in not exactly an unheard-of phenomenon).<P>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer<BR>This Day in Arts History: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A><BR>Online portfolio: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <BR>

Author:  BabsLights [ Fri Jan 12, 2001 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

As to the mineral oil crackers, on several occasions I have run into them on movie sets. My education about them (and the fact that they are illegal many places) didn't come until I was over-come by the smoke from one. I didn't understand the EXTREME concern of the producers, until the paramedic started asking questions, and after the producers had gone back inside where we were shooting, the paramedic (an on-set guy who always worked movies) explained to me they were worried because they had known it was wrong to be using it.

Author:  BabsLights [ Mon Mar 19, 2001 10:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

I watched a premiere of a work this past week. It used a heavy dose of haze. Frankly I was amazed that the ballet dancers were okay with was a VERY energetic piece. It made the lighting look spectacular...but...

Author:  Christina [ Mon Mar 19, 2001 12:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

Well, I've at time referred to myself as star of stage, screen and cow pasture, because dancers never know what awaits them next.<P>While in the Czech Republic one year, we actually did have to tap dance in a pasture. That was actually more funny than dangerous. In that particular country, which was going through transition from Communism to capitalism, we performed primarily in what the Communist government had established as "Dom Kuturi" (I hope I have spelled this correctly). It referred to the cultural center in each community. You could be dancing on a bonafide stage, or on concrete steps. <P>This was compounded by the fact that our troupe danced in a variety of styles, so that footwear varied from bare feet to character boots to tap shoes to oponci (spell again?). It was all part and parcel of the deal. Also -- all performances that year were outdoors, so you simply prayed for good weather. <P>I found dancing in the town squares in France somewhat more difficult actually. There were some terribly slippery stages, and usually your partner would watch out for you big time. But I was with a guy once whose face is adjacent to misygonist in the dictionary (there are many women in town sporting bruises from this fella) and he just let me slide across the stage from hell one evening in Versailles. I got right up and clogged away but my wrist was shot for doing lifts after that. <P>It's kind of like driving a car in icy conditions. Is it really the ice that's so dangerous, or is it the way people drive, not wanting to make any adjustments, especially on behalf of their partner. What I'm saying is that no matter what the stage conditions, trust and respect between dancers is imperative.<P>Back in town here, one year, I was asked to be part of a performance art piece at an annual multi-event show, where people walk through theater after theater at will, taking in as much or as little as they wish. I participated in all rehearsals, but during dress rehearsal, saw that our particular stage was covered in pigeon dung and that these rats with wings were laughing and scratching in the rafters. When the theater would make no effort to clean up the space of this 'prestigious' show, I refused to perform. <P>The thing is, lots of people don't know what questions to ask and/or feel intimidated about asking them. But not doing so perpetuates this myth(?) that people are willing to do anything to perform. <P>It's like the last place I took class. There was 'fur' growing on the ceiling fans, coming out of the air ducts, dangling from the air conditioner, and decorating the walls, and the barres hadn't been cleaned in years. There were infrequent comments made but no one ever thought about demanding a clean studio from the owner (married to a doctor at that!). <P>When one person makes a reasonable request, she's a bitch or prima donna, etc., but if an entire group could come together in the interest of health and safety, things might finally change for the better.<P>I was in the hospital this morning for a series of tests and the entire floor reeked of cigarette smoke coming in the vents. When I inquired about this to several personnel, they said, "yeah, now that you mention it, it does smell." But that was as far as it would go. <P>It's hard for me lately not to think that endangerment of our safety and health is something we simply allow as a society to perpetuate. But why?????????????? <P>[This message has been edited by Christina (edited March 19, 2001).]<p>[This message has been edited by Christina (edited March 19, 2001).]

Author:  BabsLights [ Wed Apr 25, 2001 5:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

We're having a little discussion round these parts about the safety of having a photo shoot the day of a performance.

Author:  salzberg [ Wed Apr 25, 2001 10:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

What are the issues, Babs?

Author:  BabsLights [ Thu Apr 26, 2001 4:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

The issue is that doing a short section of material or movement over and over and over at performance level, or even higher, can lead to accidents prior to the evening's show (not to mention exhaustion). Our worst one was a chin that got split open 3 hours before the show....13 stitches, and one really nervous partner onstage that night.

Author:  Marie [ Thu Apr 26, 2001 4:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

Why would you need to do it the day of the performance? It is because they're being shot in the venue? That seems like it would be the last thing I would want to deal with the day of a show.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Apr 20, 2002 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>American Fire Retardant Corp. Announces Contract for the Los Angeles Performing Arts Center<P>Business Wire on Yahoo!<P>SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 19, 2002--American Fire Retardant Corp. (OTCBB:AFRC - news), (, a fire protection company that specializes in fire prevention and fire containment, announced today that the Company has been awarded a contract for fireproofing services for the Los Angeles Performing Arts Center.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><a href= target=_blank>More</a>

Author:  ArtsMan [ Thu Oct 03, 2002 1:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

In Yahoo:

AGMA Limits Smoke, Fog

The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) has introduced a national policy to help regulate smoke-and-fog use in opera and ballet productions. more

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Oct 04, 2002 5:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Safety in dance performances

The Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA), the trade group for vendors and manufacturers, obviously disagrees, at least to some degree. This is from their web site:

ESTA has announced the initiation of a theatrical fog testing program. The program helps theatres to make sure they are using theatrical fog responsibly by keeping concentrations within accepted standards and guidelines and to demonstrate that they are doing so. Since these exposure standards and guidelines are widely accepted, theatres that can demonstrate that they are using fog according to them should be able to alleviate performers' and crew members' concerns, as well as protect their health.

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