Oct 30, 2015 | By Alec

If you’ve ever visited a ballet performance, you’ll know that it is about much more than dancing. Featuring amazing musical performances, colorful costumes and impressive scenery, it’s a complete spectacle that requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work from a complete them of developers. But as is the case in so many other fields as well, even the ballet seems to be discovering the advantages of 21rst century making as the Russian production of La Bayadère, staged in the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, now features a giant five foot tall elephant statue made with 3D scanning and CAD technology.

As Artem Fonarev of Russian 3D scanning technology developers RangeVision explains to 3ders.org, the experiences scenery designers from the Bolshoi Theatre were in need of some unique props for their latest production of La Bayadère. Known as The Temple Dancer in English, this is an iconic piece in Russian ballet history, first being performed in 1877 for the Tsar. It tells of a tragic love story set in Golconda, India.

Of course, this meant developing scenery that suits this doomed affair in India, and the designers from Bolshoi Theatre set their sights on the Indian elephant – regularly associated with the country’s architecture and culture. ‘Whether you like it or not, the process starts with an idea of a sculptor who creates a statuette (about 7 cm in height) of the would-be giant out of clay,’ Artem explains.

While turning that into convincing and beautiful scenery is usually an extremely time-consuming effort, the Russians turned to the 3D scanner of RangeVision for a solution, using it to scan the little statue. ‘3D scanning takes about 6 minutes and as a result we get an accurate and highly detailed 3D model in colour. Such model can be stored for years, you don’t need any space for it, which is important, when you have limited storage facilities. What’s more, unlike clay or other materials, it is resistant to negative effects of atmosphere and time,’ scenery creator Ivan Petrov adds.

The subsequent file can be easily modified with CAD software and 3D printed in a larger scale, but this time they needed something visible from the back of the theatre too. Multiplying the size of the statuette by twenty. The final statue would be 150 cm tall and much wider, so they used a CNC foam carving machine to make a perfect replica of the miniscule statuette. Covered with an indestructible coating and adding separately made tusks, the result looks perfect.

This elephant was finally decorated to fit the general oriental theme of La Bayadère, making it perfect for the stage. ‘Now when our giant hero is ready, it is transported right to the backstage, where it is put onto the base. It is going to star on the stage of the Bolshoi theatre throughout the whole season,’ the Russians tell us. What’s more, they add that the process proved to be much more time and cost efficient than traditional scenery manufacturing techniques, so they will be using more making technology in the future. Perhaps some 3D printed elephant souvenirs for the gift shop?



Posted in 3D Scanning



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