Re: dancers and fog

Robin C Hoffman (
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 02:19:25 +0100

>Hello friends,
>I want to un-lurk for a moment to ask if people could relate their experiences
>with dancers and theatrical fog effects. Most people I know hate dancing in
>theatrical fog, but we're still willing to try it. Specifically, I'd like to
>get a partially-translucent projection onto the fog from a white-light
>projector (non-laser).
>The types of effect I'm considering are dry-ice fog, atomized glycol fog
>("chemical fog"), and theatrical "haze" which is similar to the older "cracked
>oil" type of effect. My preference is for the atomized glycol. This is what
>you normally see with the dissappearing witch on stage or in haunted houses or
>I'd be interested to hear from anyone with production experience with dancing
>in chemical fog, especially in a touring environment. Were there health
>issues? Safety issues? Audience problems? Tales of great success?

Dear Issac,

The effect you describe sounds really intriguing, so I will also un-lurk
for a moment to give my perspective on theatrical fog as a dancer (15 years
professionally; Milwaukee Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Joffrey Ballet,
Metropolitan Opera Ballet), in case it's helpful or reassuring.

My least favorite fog is the dry ice kind which hovers over the floor. If
forced to breathe it for very long (hiding under it, close to the floor)
it's easy to hyperventilate. Worse, thick dry ice fog can leave treacherous
wet spots on the floor. I have never had a real problem with the chemical
type, though; it's just unpleasant to breathe when there is lots of it. It
sounds silly, but the flavored additives seem to help a little! Obviously,
the thicker you need the fog to be to achieve the projection, the more
uncomfortable it will be for the dancers. My suspicion is that it will be
challenging, but not impossible to get used to. Visibility and oxygen
problems may require extra stage rehearsal time ($$), so maybe that is
something to consider when you are budgeting. Obviously, if you want the
opening performance to go well, you must give the performers a chance to
work with the situation.

Best of luck! And, thanks for your consideration of your performers!


Robin Hoffman
Company Dance Notator
Paul Taylor Dance Company
Dance Notation Bureau

voicemail: (212)780-4604