ALBANY – South Pearl Street will take a trip back in time, when the earth was young and dinosaurs walked the land when the Jurassic World Live Tour comes to MVP Arena October 6-8.
Fans might be wondering how the prehistoric creatures of Jurassic World came to life in the live show and Spotlight News had the opportunity to sit down with Niko Velasquez, a “dinoteer” with the show and he goes into detail on how they bring it all to life.
Spot 518: How did you get involved with the Jurassic World tour?
Velasquez: In 2017 I auditioned for Jurassic World The Exhibition 1.0 and Feld had came to the show to see how the dinosaurs worked, and were trying to get their own show off the ground. A coworker auditioned for Feld on a different production, and the casting team reached out to him to see if we had anyone in mind for the Jurassic World Live Tour to film advertisements, and I was called, and missed auditions right after, and emailed casting about an opportunity and heard nothing. Then got a call to audition on live television for Fox and Friends in NYC. Since then, I was cast as the primary Blue performer, and eventually the Dino Swing for the show.
Spot 518: Were you a big fan of the Jurassic Park/World Series prior to working with the show?
Velasquez: I have, when I was younger, in second grade I had to showcase all my dinosaur toys as like an interest project. The RV trailer in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, that falls over the cliff was a huge toy back then, and I was fortunate enough to have that, it was so cool. I still have quite a lot of my older dinosaur Jurassic figures. I’ve collected the majority of Funko Pops of Jurassic Park/ World, and have the Velociraptors from the Amber Collection toy line as an adult.
Spot 518: What sort of prep work goes into putting this whole thing together? (rehearsal, building the dinosaurs, stage setup)
Velasquez: Stretching, active movements, weightlifting, and more stretching. Staying as loose and strong as possible. Little rituals I do, come down to isolating myself for a small time to listen to music, calm down, and focus on blocking in the show, and the scene work, trying to have a clear mind before shows. Then I leave it all out on the floor, and perform with a nice mindset. I’ve watched a lot of bird videos, and movements they do. Including ostrich/ emu movements, as well as big cat prowling. Prowling can definitely be translated in movements in our dinosaurs and illustrates that these dinosaurs can be viewed as very much alive.
Spot 518: What challenges did you and your team face during the production of the show?
Velasquez: A lot of it really comes down to spacial awareness while inside a suit or operating one of the larger dinosaurs ( such as the Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus )Challenges I’ve also found are more seeing what the threshold you can have in a show, blocking, or even the integrity of the dinosaurs themselves. Making sure to be warmed up, stretched, remembering the plan for shows. Our team is full of very skilled people so we are rarely in a position where we have run into any major issues during the show”
Spot 518: What can people expect to see when they attend the live show?
Velasquez: Audiences can expect life size and accurate scaled dinosaurs from the films, and a lot of action and fighting, even fighting with the dinosaurs. A lot of references are in the show, one being the music from the movies can be heard, and gives you that Jurassic feeling and go back to childhood, or teenage years depending on age of audiences. It’s a show for everyone, and I think everyone will enjoy it.
Spot 518: What’s your favorite part about performing as a “dinoteer”
Velasquez: It would have to be just the thrill of bringing this animal to life with my own body, literally stepping into the “character” and giving the audience a memorable experience. Currently I’m a few of our other dinosaurs and not just Blue. I enjoy the variety of puppets or suits I’m able to work with to really utilize my talents
Spot 518: Do you have a favorite dinosaur?
Velasquez: Velociraptors for sure. It would be Velociraptors first, triceratops second, and Tyrannosaurus rex third. Raptors have always been my fascination, and in any film. The designs of the velociraptors in the Jurassic films have always been a favorite of mine, including the color schemes.
This story appeared on page 3 of the October 4, 2023 print edition of the Spot