Dinosaurs Live Again

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Imagine going back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. How did they interact with each other? How big were they? These questions can be better understood thanks to the production, as grand as these creatures, Walking With Dinosaurs – The Live Experience.

The production is on tour throughout the United States taking 15 different life size dinosaurs in a spectacle based on the successful and award winning animated television series that premiered a few years ago on England’s BBC television. The tour comes to the i wireless Center, 1201 River Drive Moline, Ill., with seven shows from March 5 to the 9.

This show presents “live” dinosaurs in different eras like the Jurassic and the Cretaceous period, explaining which dinosaurs lived in which era and their behavior, “if they fought, how they ate, how they interacted, and how they finally became extinct,” Dennis Crespo, in charge of the Dinosaurs and “driver” of the stegosaurus explains. “You sort of lie underneath the chassis and drive it. The steering wheel consists of some pedals that are driven with your feet and more or less, you’re lying under the chassis that is moving the dinosaur.”

Dennis, 38, drives the dinosaur forward and back, as well as side to side during each show. He communicates through microphone and headphones to the puppeteer who from afar controls movement of the tail, neck, mouth, eyes and the creature expressions.

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“Paleontologists and scientists got together and decided how we were going to create real life movement that dinosaurs supposedly had back then and the engineers then started constructing pieces so that the animal moved more realistically,” Crespo said.

Nine of the largest dinosaurs are operated with drivers and puppeteers, including the tyrannosaurus and the brachiosaurus which measure 35 feet tall. The six utahraptors that are smaller consist of costumes worn by agile individuals. This spectacle took a $20 million investment that helped create a unique experience that entertains and educates audiences.

Right now, they are constructing another set of dinosaurs to take on tour throughout Europe and other parts of the world, so that they may keep this set in the Americas. “Apart from the entertainment, you get a bit more of education on the history of the world,” Crespo said.

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The public likes the production since there is nothing in the world quite like it, today. Crespo said that children get excited and shout, but that some of the kids end up crying because of the loud noises that these creatures make.

This is an event that children, as well as adults enjoy.
For Crespo, his favorite dinosaur is the one he drives, the stegosaurus, “it eats and sleeps throughout life, very calm, he looks like a pretty cool guy but he knows how defend himself, as well.”

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Crespo said the most difficult thing on tour is being far from his family. He is of Puerto Rican descent, born in New York, and now resides in Tulum, Yucatan in Mexico, two hours south of Cancun.

He has 11 years experience working on tours and shows and got to know Mexico when he worked on a tour with the rock group Kiss. He said that normally he is bored with tours in the first two months but said this one is special and he still likes it because of the educational aspect that it brings.

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To see photos and video of the show, visit www.DinosaursLive.com. For more information on tickets, call the i wireless Center at (309) 764-2000.

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