Theater: iLuminate goes from ‘America’s Got Talent’ to NYC

This is just a sample of what you'll see happening onstage for 50 minutes when you check out iLuminate. Credit: Contributed
This is just a sample of what you’ll see happening onstage for 55 minutes when you check out iLuminate.
Credit: Charles Sykes

It’s not very often that a show’s success is based entirely on the teamwork of the performers. But in the case of iLuminate’s “Artist of Light,” unity is the prominent force of these “America’s Got Talent” dancing-in-the-dark finalists, and therefore it’s quite hard not to be inspired by them.

Using wireless light suits, the members of iLuminate dance in the dark, creating a spectacular light show, leaving the audience feeling as if they have just entered a live video game that’s entertaining for all ages.

From break-dancing cops to fire-breathing creatures, “Artist of Light” tells a story of love overcoming evil by combining impressively synchronized dance moves of various styles with precise art light, programmed by the group’s creator, Miral Kotb, that never fails to meticulously match up with each beat of the head-bobbing music.

“I wanted the dancers to really be featured more,” says Kotb. “I really wanted to find a way to really bring the art of dance to pop culture and play around with how you can make dance more interesting and all the illusions it can create; that was a great way to make it happen.”

Well, it looks like Kotb can put a check in that box, because she’s done exactly what she set out to do. Despite being limited by how much information can be conveyed when there’s no speaking, the dancing storyline keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

But that’s not all. It leaves viewers in total awe as the dancers must always be in sync not only with each other, but with the light programming, all while dancing with full body suits and masks in the dark.

“It is vital to the show’s success that everyone is on the same page,” says Kotb. “It is 100 percent teamwork. You’re basically in the dark just hoping and trusting that the person who’s going to lift you is going to be there, because you can’t really see. So it’s a lot of trust with each other.”

During parts of the show where the story required the dancers to use a wand to light up a certain body part, simulate robots splitting apart and coming back together or have several dancers all join to form one shockingly giant creature, they never miss a beat, allowing each simulation to truly come to life.

“It’s a really fun show,” says Kotb. “We just want people to have fun when they come and just take a break from whatever it is they’re doing every day and come and have a great time with us.”

How Miral Kotb made it:

After the devastating news that she was diagnosed with a rare malignancy just before pursuing a professional dancing career, Kotb recovered, but never could dance at such a high level again.

However, having a background in technology, Kotb was able to put her two worlds together to create iLuminate.

“It was really amazing to see the audience feedback (on ‘America’s Got Talent’),” effuses Kotb, “because for so long it was just me and my booklet trying to figure out how to make this work.”

But pursuing her idea hasn’t been the only rewarding part of her career.

“[My dancers] come to me all time telling me how much they love going to work,” says Kotb, “and that’s a huge compliment. It means that I’ve offered people something that they enjoy doing, and you don’t get that opportunity very much.”

If you go

iLuminate’s ‘Artist of Light’
Through Oct. 13
New World Stages
340 W. 50th St.
$59.95-$69.95,
212-239-6200
www.iluminate.com


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