21/08/2012

The Ballerina Stunt



Imagine a stunt never done before, not even in Hollywood. A stunt so spectacular that the medics on location simply shake their heads in disbelief. Two trucks pick up speed on a highway in Croatia. Suddenly a woman steps up onto the line being pulled tight between the trucks and starts to walk across it. This is the stunt that’s now circulating the world via a film on You Tube.

The woman is Faith Dickey, a world record holder in highlining, and the stunt shown in the film is difficult. Really difficult.
"No one has ever done this before - and I understand why," says Faith Dickey.
"I've taken slacklining challenges that were both higher and longer, but I have never walked between two moving objects. This is something completely different."

Oscar nominated director
The film director is Oscar nominated Henry Alex Rubin, who recently finished filming Disconnect - starring Sweden's Alexander Skarsgård.
"This was such a dangerous stunt to shoot that we were turned down by many countries before Croatia allowed us to shoot it there. But my favourite kind of film is one that someone tells me is impossible to make. When I hear that it makes me want to move mountains."
"Faith Dickey is the same way. Tell her 'no' and it will fuel her. She humbled and amazed myself and the entire crew with her courage. This stunt started off as a way to test the precision of Volvo's trucks and ended up being just as much a testament to guts and courage," says Henry Alex Rubin.

Unpredictable factors
Normally the slackliner creates the movement in the line, but here the movement is created by the trucks and it was almost impossible for Faith to know how the line was going to behave. So the drivers played an extremely important role. They had to maintain the exact same distance at the exact same speed throughout the entire stunt. Otherwise the line would slacken or twist and Faith would fall.

"The drivers were fantastic. But no matter how good they were, the line still moved unpredictably," says Faith Dickey.

Another challenge was the road. Every time the trucks hit just a tiny bump in the road it made the line shake. And then there were the winds. Apart from the fact that the location was extremely windy, there were slipstreams to contend with and the trucks created a powerful wind tunnel between them.
"It's almost impossible to imagine how strong the wind is on the line when the trucks come up to speed. It's brutal," says Faith Dickey.

"We practised and practised and I kept falling. But finally I did it. I walked the line."

Hollywood stunt coordinator
Stunt coordinator Peter Pedrero was brought in to guarantee the highest possible level of safety. He has worked with Hollywood productions such as Harry Potter, James Bond and Pirates of the Caribbean. He has crashed boats at 40 knots and flipped over inside burning cars. But he has never done anything like this before.
"This is a world-class stunt and the result is stunning. It's worthy of an action film," says Peter Pedrero.

The film was made possible by Volvo Trucks.The aim of the Ballerina stunt was to showcase the superb handling and stability of their latest truck model, the new Volvo FH.

Watch the one and only Ballerina stunt here (with subtitles): http://www.5x5m.com/lp/14912/theballerinastunt.html


Slacklining, Longlining and Highlining
Slacklining first began when mountain climbers started tensioning nylon lines between rocks. This should not be confused with tightrope walking. Here the line is not rigidly taut, it is dynamic, it stretches and bounces.
There are several types of slacklining such as urbanlining, tricklining and highlining - this latter is slacklining high up in the air above ground or water.
Longlining requires intensive focus for a fair amount of time while highlining also involves rigging in extreme environments such as mountains, between rocky outcrops or part way down vertical faces.

"It is a mix of Alpinism, Dirtbagging, creativity and balance."
/Faith Dickey


Faith Dickey
Faith began slacklining in 2008 and soon after that she was introduced to longlining and highlining. Today she is the Women's World Record Holder in slacklining. Faith's longline record is 220 metres and she has walked an 81 meter long highline, in addition she has walked highlines 1200meters high. While some call slacklining a sport, to Faith it is all about the lifestyle.

"I never knew it was possible to have a passionate affair with balance. Now however I see that something so simple can also put other aspects of your life into perspective. This lifestyle takes you around the world, shows you beautiful places, interesting people, and gives you purpose. Most of all, I believe it allows an open mind."

Read more on Faith Dickey's blog: http://www.somewhereelseland.com

More videos from Volvo Trucks are available at:
http://www.youtube.com/VolvoTrucks

 

For further information, please contact: Anders Vilhelmsson, Volvo Trucks Global Brand, phone +46 31 322 38 79, e-mail anders.vilhelmsson@volvo.com

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