Vari-Lite luminaires add color textures to Agua Flamenco

A magical ancient olive oil factory near Seville was brought to life by lighting designer Yaron Abulafia in May, as contemporary Flamenco piece Agua was performed with a specially rigged array of fixtures from Vari-Lite, a Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) entertainment lighting brand.

Billed as a ‘visual piece that drifts between dance, visual theatre, and art installation,’ Agua was performed at the ‘La Aceitera’ space by Israeli artist Adva Yer in collaboration with Andrés Marín. As the title suggests, it is a water-inspired piece that explores movement, color, texture and sound – with a nod to the famous Matisse painting The Swimming Pool.

Leading the Vari-Lite luminaires was the VL5LED WASH, which beamed rich color combinations across the derelict space, complemented by VL2600 WASH fixtures. A team of VLZ PROFILE and VL2600 PROFILE luminaires added front light and effects, with sidelight from the SL BAR 720ZT.

“I was very curious to try the VL5LED WASH for this production due to its retro look, which was very suitable for the site,” says LD Yaron Abulafia, who has designed productions around the world including at Deutsche Oper Berlin, London’s Royal Opera House and the Shanghai International Dance Centre. “The rich colors – both saturated and subtle – and the color mixing calibration were a pleasure to work with, and the accurate optics were outstanding. The exterior design is so appealing to the eye and the versatility of its light with blades open or closed had a very interesting impact on the look of the space.”

Abulafia says he used eight VL5LED WASH units for backlighting, taking advantage of their large zoom range. Two further VL5LED WASH luminaires functioned as footlights and were used as spotlight to punctuate areas on stage, and at times as diffused light with the frosting flaps in front of the fixture.

Quiet operation was also key, as Abulafia explains: “The old olive oil factory, located in a village near Seville is a beautiful cultural space with unique character, so LED sources, noise level and low weight were a priority for our site due to power consumption, live music and architectural conditions in the space.”

To add to the ‘movement’ of the piece, Abulafia complemented his design using the tilt and zoom capabilities of the SL BAR 720ZT, placed at one side of the stage. “At times, the fixtures illuminated and moved subtly with the dancers, creating a moving sinus/wave on the left wall,” he says.

Enhancing the spectacle inside, Abulafia positioned a VL6500 WASH outside the space within the olive fields to illuminate the space through a window, beaming beautiful reflections across the back walls.

To make the space production ready, Agua’s team brought in specially silenced generators, and hung the Vari-Lite WASH fixtures on pipes and specially constructed rigging.

Serving as lighting programmer for the performance was Rafael Gomez, working alongside
lighting technician Danila Scarlino. Agua was filmed and its trailer now available to view online at

Yaron Abulafia’s website:

Photo: © Sonia Fraga, Yaron Abulafia