The closely guarded secret of Kate’s soaring Eurovision success

The closely guarded secret of Kate’s soaring Eurovision success


May 16, 2019 11:35:00

Australia’s Eurovision star Kate Miller-Heidke soared during her performances in Israel, thanks in no small part to the giant pole on which she performed.

When is Eurovision?

  • Follow the ABC’s live blog of the grand final early Sunday morning
  • The telecast begins at 5:00am, with a replay broadcast at 8:30pm

The five-metre “sway pole” is owned by Melbourne-based theatre company Strange Fruit, which has used the apparatus in major circus performances and at an AFL Grand Final pre-match ceremony.

The fibreglass poles are built in a factory in the city’s outer east, but their exact composition was a “closely guarded secret”, Strange Fruit’s general manager Trevor Wright said.

“There’s a machine-made core and a handmade process finishes it off. That’s the secret.

“We want to keep as much of the intellectual property to ourselves.”

Also on stage were Strange Fruit’s backup dancers, Emily Ryan and Emma Waite.

Transporting the lengthy poles is an expensive process, and often finding airlines willing to take them on can be a challenge.

Mr Wright said materials were brought in from around Europe and from Melbourne for the Eurovision performance.

Singing and swaying no easy task

The poles are controlled by the performers themselves, with no assistance from machinery or people below giving them a push.

Mr Wright told ABC Radio Melbourne it was “quite incredible” that Miller-Heidke had mastered the apparatus and kept her breathing in check to hit high notes for her song Zero Gravity.

“Often when people first get onto the pole, they will try and control it too much,” he said.

“The circus performers find it most difficult to master because they’re used to controlling whatever apparatus they work with, but with the sway poles, you have to give to the pole and work with it, rather than against it.”

Since its creation in the mid-1990s, Strange Fruit’s poles have been used in productions in 55 countries — Madonna used them on one of her tours, wile they have also featured in Disney On Ice productions.

“We’ve done quite a lot of televised performances before, but this is the best it’s ever been captured. This is the best use of the pole.”

The Eurovision grand final takes place early Sunday morning (Australian time).









First posted

May 16, 2019 11:19:41

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