At Franco Dragone’s The House of Dancing Water, electrohydraulics runs the show. The production takes place in Macau, China’s City of Dreams. The theater holds more than five Olympic swimming pools, making it the largest water-based theater in the world. During the show, professional divers, dancers, acrobats, swimmers, and even motorcyclists perform daring feats that rely on the smooth, fluid operation of a highly dynamic stage.
Eight hydraulic platform stage-lift systems were designed, manufactured, and installed by Handling Specialty Manufacturing Ltd., a Whiting Company. Capable of lifting up to 322,000 lb., the stages travel a vertical distance of 26 ft. underwater and emerge 1 ft. above the surface to create a dry stage for the acrobats and dancers. The center-stage lifts have a static capacity of 805,000 lb. In addition, three vomitory lifts travel 3.3 ft. above and below water level to accommodate props and performers.
Electronics located on a floor below the pools control the lifts. They may be controlled to move independently or in synchrony, and can reach a velocity of 20 ft. per minute. Large and powerful electric pumps, similar to those used to launch jet fighters, are needed to move the massive stages. Stage maintenance often requires technicians to wear scuba gear to fix the stages under water.
The show also has a heavy focus on acrobatics, using winches to fly people across the stage.
The video below describes the extent of technology and talent required in the show.