GHOST PELOTON

Ghost Peloton was a highly ambitious collaboration between NVA and Leeds based Phoenix Dance Theatre, in partnership with the national cycling advocacy charity, Sustrans. It was one of the main commissions for the Yorkshire Festival 2014, marking the build-up to the Grand Départ, with the opening two stages of the Tour de France coming to British shores this summer. Together, they produced a new film and live performance bringing together dancers, a peloton of stunningly illuminated cyclists and iconic locations drawn from the Tour de France route through Yorkshire.

NOVAK were invited to join the Ghost Peloton project to create an integral visual backdrop to the live performance of this pioneering piece of public art. Utilising a 16m x 4.5m LED screen, NOVAK created an epic visual backdrop to the choreographed performances by the peloton of illuminated cyclists.

NOVAK’s role within this project required them to produce visuals that combined effortlessly with a variety of mediums and for them to work effectively within an already established group of collaborators, that included NVA’s creative director Angus Farquhar, lighting designer Phil Supple, Phoenix Dance Theatre choreographers Sharon Watson and Charis Charles, along with musician Frame Missing (Ant Davey).

Inspired by the choreography, music and lighting sequences, NOVAK set about designing a series of stunning, large scale visual backdrops to accompany this 50 minute performance. Combing animation, motion graphics and film elements provided by film maker Mark Huskisson, NOVAK responded to the Ghost Peloton aesthetic with fitting and harmonious designs, while providing a distinct new characteristic to this multi layered project.

Initially the production took place at NOVAK’s studio in Newcastle upon Tyne, but in the week leading up to the performances, NOVAK relocated to Leeds, where they worked onsite with the entire team of collaborators. Allowing for final adjustments to their visual creations and ensuring a perfect amalgamation of lighting, choreography, music and video was achieved.

In addition to the design and production of the live visual elements for Ghost Peloton, NOVAK also provided the live playback of the these video assets. In doing so, NOVAK delivered a seamless workflow between creative production and technical delivery.

This monumental performance took place over two sold out nights in May 2014 at Wades Yard in Leeds, to mesmerised crowds and rapturous response.

“We invited NOVAK to work on Ghost Peloton for the opening of the Tour de France to develop visual content to unify
35 live racing cylists in unique LED controllable body suits and screen content containing stunning dance footage
combined with a unique film shot on the race route. They brought a beautiful and sensitive touch to the proceedings,
fast becoming key members of the creative team and adding a new visual language to a complex and well established
touring performance.”
-Angus Farquhar, Creative Director, NVA.

NOVAK continue to collaborate on the Ghost Peloton project.

Ghost Peloton was featured on The Creators Project and revived coverage from the BBC, the Telegraph and the Guardian.

Film by Mark Huskisson/Reset Films. 

Soundtrack by Frame Missing.

Photography by Alan McAteerJames Johnson and Tim Smith.