Babette LaFave’s Shadow Act: “Especially Delightful”

SeattleDcast7ances described Babette LaFave’s magical Shadow Act as“one engrossing number, done almost entirely behind a screen and playing with the dancer’s shadow and mischievous balls of light, was especially delightful for how it upended expectation.” 

We caught up with Babette to get behind the scenes of this act and learn more about how she created it. Read on!

In the Shadow Act, who is your character?

I’m Babette LaFave and my character in this particular act represents the idea of decorating a Christmas tree during the holidays.

How did you come up with this concept?

People ask me this question all the time after they see my shadow acts! About 15 years ago, I saw this independent Canadian film called “When Nite is Falling.” There was a part in the film when one of the circus performers was rehearsing a wonderful light and shadow act. She was wearing an antique diving mask and it just GRABBED me. I was instantly enamored by this concept, and got to work on various versions of my perception of light and shadow play. Working with mirrors, lights, disco balls, gels, various props, etc.

What is the most challenging aspect of performing it?

Making the tree grow and shrink every time a colored ornament lands on it. It’s very ‘vaudevillian’ back there right now! Using fishing line and pulleys to create this effect. My goal this year is to master video projection to achieve the effects I want. In the past, I’ve used slide projectors and overhead projectors. I keep wanting to train little mice to help me make the magic happen!

What’s your favorite part of the act?

When I get punched in the face by the green ball! The audience erupts with laughter and it makes me laugh too. I always assign personalities to my ‘fireflies’. The gold ball is the fire to my candle that won’t blow out. He’s the instigator to it all. The pink ball represents love. She explodes out of my heart. She undulates down my body. She’s the sensual, loving one. And the green ball is the mischievous grinch who loves to hide and play practical jokes. He’s the one who punches me in the face.

Anything else you want to share with audiences?

I just can’t believe it’s been nine glorious years working on this particular production. I seriously go to bed after every show and can’t believe how lucky and blessed and honored I am to be able to work with Lily and Jasper and my beautiful, creative, loving, kind, compassionate, zany, nutty, Nutcracker family. We laugh so much all the time. Seriously… how did I get to be so lucky??!

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