Exciting and lively public social events are rare in Riyadh and when they do happen, it’s nothing short of what constitutes a miracle: unbelievable and a must-see. In this case, the energetic dance performances coupled with trendy music blasting from the auditorium and the loud, joyous jeer from the audience at last night’s iLuminate event was not something you see happening in Riyadh every day.
Luckily, we received invitations as press representatives for the event and decided to
bring along borrow the children of our family and friends for them to witness this one-of-a-kind show with us. But before we go on about our experience, let me give you a brief background of what iLuminate is about.
iLuminate does not only refer to the dancers themselves, but rather to a whole company that specializes in wearable technology and fuses it with dance to create a visual experience that is certainly memorable to all ages. It was founded by a woman named Miral Kotb who combined her skills in engineering and love for dancing to develop modern performances using wireless lighting programs that emit various effects while in the dark.
They have been featured in numerous TV shows like America’s Got Talent, the X Factor, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and awards shows of MTV, BET and Nickolodeon since their inception in 2009. They have also travelled around the world bringing their performances to places like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Cairo and now, Saudi Arabia!
Katch International in cooperation with Princess Noura University have spearheaded the launching of iLuminate in Riyadh and PNU naturally hosted the venue providing the grandiose conference hall for this hip and happenin’ show that I think would greatly attract the young kids and families looking for something exciting to do together.
We arrived at the premiere launch that was exclusive to invited VIPs and press people with our “kids” in tow (one for Janelle and two for me, all aged 5, 6 and 7 respectively). Security was of utmost importance as you will see several police cars and personnel manning the grounds. The body and bag check for the women’s entrance was actually very efficient. We didn’t mind this because for sure, our safety is always of utmost importance.
As the ushers greet us on our way in, so does a couple of food stalls from Fauchon, Munch Bakery and Krispy Kreme. There was also a popcorn and nacho shop who gave every body free food and drinks to munch on during the show. After grabbing something to eat, we headed on to our seats in the auditorium.
The show started a bit late at 8:30 PM instead of 8:15 but when the lights were turned off and the music started playing, all was forgiven and everyone was treated to an exuberant performance. There was a slight bump in the program ten minutes in when someone’s power bank started emitting smoke and slightly alerted the concern of the security and the entire crowd. Fortunately, the audience and event organizers handled the issue gracefully and together, we all agreed that it was minor disturbance and the audience were so supportive and encouraging that the show went on. I could feel the spirit of camaraderie unifying the crowd as we cheered on for the performers to continue where they left off.
The show comprised of 6 to 8 dancers/characters who performed a number of musical performances while depicting a storyline (we won’t spill the gist because we don’t want to ruin the mystery and excitement for you all). It was highly interactive and definitely not for faint of hearing. The lights are all turned off during the performance and a strict rule of no flash photography or mobile photography was imposed. Of course, this ruling made sense simply because you won’t be able to appreciate the glow-in-the-dark performances if other light sources were interfering with it.
The crowd was alive with energy and applauding every act, including our kiddos who seemed so enamoured by what they were seeing. I couldn’t help but groove my shoulders to the music as well, especially roaring a loud cheer when they started dancing to a Michael Jackson classic medley. Their performance of pop songs from the likes of Chris Brown, Bruno Mars and Sam Smith also elicited merriment from the mostly young crowd. They also incorporated numbers from the classics like James Brown, Michael Jackson and performed some ballroom dance genres like tango and ballet.
The show ended within an hour and a half with a ten-minute intermission in between. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in iLuminate and more importantly, the kids gave us their seal of approvals after watching it. It’s a great experience for families and definitely worth the long drive from the city center to PNU.
The shows are on going and open for the public from today until Saturday, October 8. If you like dance, lively performances, or simply wanting to experience something new then this show is for you! Check out ticketmasterksa.com for schedules and ticket reservations. Prices are as follows:
VIP: 900 SAR
Category A: 550 SAR
Category B: 350 SAR
Category C: 250 SAR
Category D: 150 SAR
Category E: 50 SAR
Category F: 75 SAR
Category G: 50 SAR
You may visit their social media accounts as well to get a glimpse of their performances.