Four neon tombstones sit in the middle of a pitch-black stage, the room still with anticipation. When the sound of music fills the air, glowing zombies pop up from the ground and burst into dance, grooving along to hits such as “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Jailhouse Rock.”
Meet the Ukrainian dance group Light Balance, the first act showcased at Busch Gardens’ Summer Nights Live performance series.
While the group danced at the park last year, Jeff Corriveau, Busch Gardens show operations leader, said they invited them back because of their overwhelming popularity.
“Last year (Light Balance was) slated to only come for one weekend, but there was such an incredible response after the first two days that we added three more weekends with them,” Corriveau said.
Troupe members dance in the dark with lights covering their bodies. Dmytro Riabokliach, Light Balance’s technical director, said it can take them a month to program a small, 3-minute long show.
“First we come up with an idea, then the choreographers and the technicians start to work separately,” Riabokliach said. “The choreographers begin to prepare their choreography and the technician starts to prepare props, costumes and such things.”
Next, Riabokliach said everyone comes back together and the technicians program parts of the costume to light up along with the music and choreography.
“It’s really a lot of work,” Riabokliach said
Riabokliach said the 14-minute routine they will perform for Summer Nights Live was created exclusively for Busch Gardens. The dance was developed from a minute and a half routine they performed on the “America’s Got Talent” semi-finals.
“It was made right before our flight to Busch Gardens,” he said.
In addition to lengthening the dance, they also added a few large props.
“Usually we don’t use such big things … so it’s like special,” Riabokliach said. But he said the group's favorite part of the show is feeling the audience’s excitement.
“When we are doing something and the audience gives us their applause and emotions — it’s the best,” Riabokliach said.
“I love working with these guys,” Corriveau said. “(They) are so appreciative to be performers which in my opinion we don’t see as much as we used to.”
Want to go?
Light Balance will perform at 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8 p.m. daily through July 7 at the Globe Theater in Busch Gardens. Shows are included in admission, but reserved seating is $8-$30.
If you can’t make it out to see Light Balance, Summer Nights Live runs through Aug. 11 with different acts throughout the season. Learn more at buschgardens.com/williamsburg/shows/summer-nights-live.
Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.