Vegas Sphere Turned Into Giant Christmas Tree Ornament For Holidays; Then The Rockettes Start High-Kicking
November 28, 2023 by Dave Haynes
All kinds of digital signage people will be finding their way over near the big new Sphere when they get to Las Vegas Saturday or Sunday for DSE, to see what all the fuss has been about since the giant LED ball went live this summer.
Some may have U2 tickets (I checked, sold out) but most will be happy just to see what the much-discussed LED ball looks like in real life. There is now a holiday show running on the outside “exosphere” of the venue, featuring the kick-dancers of Radio City Music Hall in New York.
The Radio City Rockettes, the stars of the beloved Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes that runs annually at Radio City Music Hall in New York, will be featured daily throughout the holiday season on the Exosphere, the fully programmable LED exterior of Sphere in Las Vegas. The festive Christmas Spectacular activation debuted overnight, marking the first time the Exosphere has featured dancing wrapped 360 degrees around the venue. The content was developed in collaboration between Sphere Entertainment and MSG Entertainment, both part of the MSG family of companies.
“There is a magic here that we’ve created with Sphere, and there is a magic that is created by the Rockettes every year in the Christmas Spectacular,” said Guy Barnett, SVP, Brand Strategy & Creative Development, Sphere Entertainment. “There is nothing more artful than the Rockettes or more scientific than Sphere, so bringing these two together on the Exosphere in such a unique way is the essence of what we do here at Sphere – uniting art and science to bring wonder to the world. This is particularly exciting because it is the most complex combination of real-life footage and animated content we’ve created for the Exosphere to date.”
“Showcasing the Rockettes precision choreography in such a big way on Sphere is a new first for the iconic dance company,” said Jessica Tuttle, SVP Productions, MSG Entertainment. “This unique activation brings together two brands in the MSG family of companies – one that has been bringing joy to a million fans in New York City annually for 90 years, and one that began enchanting audiences worldwide earlier this year. Having the Rockettes appear as the first live performers to be dancing on the Exosphere is another example of how the Christmas Spectacular continues to push the boundaries of entertainment.”
The activation begins with the first Christmas ornament to be displayed on the Exosphere. The top of the vibrant red and gold ornament begins to spin off, revealing, in a nod to the “12 Days of Christmas” number in the Christmas Spectacular, the Rockettes’ legs. As the top of the ornament continues to rise, the Rockettes are revealed, at 125 feet tall performing their iconic precision choreography that concludes with their beloved kickline, while rotating around the Exosphere. The creative is meant to be transparent, so the Rockettes backs are visible through Sphere, marking the first time the technique has been utilized on the immersive digital canvas. The ornament closes, and the iconic Radio City Music Hall marquee appears in vibrant neon, replicating the landmark venue in New York City.
In order to achieve the continuous dancing, 15 Rockettes were captured performing in groups of five, giving the Sphere Studios team three clips that were composited together. Those composite clips were then multiplied and stitched together to stretch all the way around the Exosphere. Animated elements, including the ornament and the Radio City Music Hall marquee were added, before a final touch of sparkle behind the dancers.
If this seems like an odd thing to have on the Sphere, even with the holiday season, bear in mind that the owner of the Sphere is Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., and one of the other venues it owns is Radio City Music Hall.