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Monday, September 27, 2010
Updated: September 28, 1:35 PM ET
FMX invades $250M Chinese production


Part of the $250M budget went to these killer riding uniforms. Here the boys work out the kinks in rehearsal before the big show.
I had never heard of the Macau region of China until Belgium's Jimmy Verburgh and Sweden's Morgan Carlson from FMX4Ever informed me that they were working with an entertainment group to put on a world-class, $250M theatre show called "The House of Dancing Water" at City of Dreams casino. For those of you who haven't heard of Macau either, it is a peninsula of China approximately 37-miles southwest of Hong Kong, and is based almost entirely on gaming, which consistently brings in more gaming revenue than Las Vegas.

House of Dancing Water is the largest production in Macau and is the latest creation from Vegas show-creator/theatre director Franco Dragone, the director of Cirque du Soleil's most prestigious shows in the 1990's, and producer of Celine Dion's "A New Day" and aquatic show "Le Reve." According to Carlson, the consultants of the show were looking for acts that had never been seen in this type of production and freestyle motocross was selected with the help of both Verburgh and himself.

After getting the official nod, the two professional riders/business men spent close to a year finding riders for the resident show. Not only did the riders have to travel to China and ride five-days-a-week, but they had to sign contracts that would guarantee them in Macau for at least two years. "Telling someone, 'Hey, would you like to come do a show every day for the next two years in China?' doesn't sound like the best deal in the world," says Morgan, "But all the guys are so happy to be here." The riders chosen were American's Austin Drummond, Ryan Logan and Josh Yost, Sweden's Alex Elgh and Rickard Ratto, Spain's Antonio Navas, and Vivian Gantner and Bernard Correvon of Switzerland.

City of Dreams features four towers, which includes the region's only Hard Rock, a "mega-casino," and over 200 shopping facilities. Not a bad place to live for two years, eh?
Arriving in Macau nearly a year ago, the riders were required put in rigorous amounts of training and rehearsal until their routine was perfect. With the floor of the theatre being filled with 3.7 million gallons of water, more than five times the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, the riders also had to undergo scuba training. Carlson explained, "If anything goes wrong with a rider ending up in the water, they must stay down until they are met by a diver with oxygen." He finishes, "I know it sounds a bit intense, but it's required so the show can go on with no interruptions."

With the biggest performance budget in Macau to date, City of Dreams casino didn't hold anything back when the time came to include FMX in the performance. For example, just so the riders can warm up their bikes before the show, a roller room with eight dynos, very thick walls and a great extraction system was built on location. Once the bikes do three-cycles through the RPM range and pass on the computer screen, they are then given the okay to be ridden. When it is time for the FMX portion of the production, the main takeoff ramp is lowered from the darkness above and placed in perfect position while the landings glide in on a roller system. With three ramps in the arena, each rider gets only eight jumps before the scene is taken away.

The show opened to a sellout crowd on Thursday, September 16. Now only if we could get Nuclear Cowboyz a permanent home on the Vegas strip.

The House of Dancing Water set was created from the ground up by Franco Dragone, and the freestyle motocross portion was overseen by FMX pros and show developers Jimmy Verburgh and Morgan Carlson.