ShowcasesK'uinchekua festival, Mexico

Celebrating culture with pyramids, kabuki and WATCHOUT

Every year more than 250 performers participate in the K´uinchekua music and dance festival in Mexico. In 2022, the local governor decided to take the event to a monumental level – literally – with a very special venue: “Las Yácatas,” Tzintzuntzan, an archeological site from the Purépecha Empire. To ensure a truly memorable festival, multiple kabuki screens were installed as the backdrop to a 5,000 square feet stage at the site, with WATCHOUT handling all the projection-mapped content.

Effectful projection-mapping on fabric screens

Tzintzuntzan was the last great capital of the Purépecha Empire (contemporary with the Aztecs) and dates back to the 1400s. The five rounded pyramids (yácatas) are part of the city’s ceremonial center and rest on the Grand Platform dug into the hillside. With such a fantastic location, the creative team at the K´uinchekua festival were keen to ensure that the surroundings played an integral part in the overall experience. 

The solution: Install 3,600 sq ft of kabuki screens and 12 fabric-clad columns around the entire stage area and project on them. The lightweight fabrics move in the breeze and can be dropped swiftly for a dramatic reveal, working in tandem with the striking physical backdrop. Datashow, the Dataton partner in Mexico, was commissioned to ensure all the projection-mapping worked flawlessly on this dynamic canvas.

Datashow CEO Angel Lopez Bago said: “Using WATCHOUT for the kabuki and columns, we were able to transform the background, giving time travel experiences through history. At the end when the fabrics fell away, the magnificent yacatas were illuminated as part of the show.”

Three-days to rig and rehearse

The location itself was demanding being huge, outdoor and, not least, a historic site, but the greatest challenge was time. The project had just one month of preparation and production, with three days of set-up and rehearsals for the three-day show. What’s more, several last-minute changes were requested by the client.

“With WATCHOUT we could make those changes without rendering, using the tweens installed to complete the show,” explained Lopez-Bago. ”We always recommend WATCHOUT for this kind of event, because it’s the most powerful software for professionals. Success comes from preparation and planning, and we have more than 20 years’ experience with the system.”

Tradition and technology

The K´uinchekua festival has been a regular on the Michoacán cultural calendar for over three decades and the 2022 event was presented for 1,500 people each night. The three-hour celebration featured traditional dances and even a demonstration of Uárukua, a Purépecha ball game.

“It’s always exciting to see technology and tradition working together, enhancing the experience for spectators and performers,” said Angel Lopez-Bago, Datashow. “And it’s especially gratifying that we could highlight this very special location for the first time with an event like this.”

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