As a newly married couple, you are announced into the reception to a round of huge applause. Then, the DJ announces your first dance together as husband and wife. This first dance is a magical moment, even without special effects. However, for a truly unique and surreal first dance, consider an effect known as “Dancing in the Clouds.”
This effect, typically performed by your DJ entertainment, involves the operation of a dry ice fog machine, enveloping the dance floor in an abundant layer of low-lying dry ice fog. This fog will typically be about knee high, giving the appearance that you are dancing in the clouds.
Aren’t Fog Machines Bad?
It is absolutely true that traditional fog machines are banned from most banquet halls. The primary reason is that the fog rises to the ceiling, and at the hands of an over-zealous operator, can trigger fire alarms; or worse, sprinkler systems! Moreover, fog juice can leave a nasty residue that could stick to your gourmet cuisine. On the other hand, dry ice fog machines are a completely different animal. Dry ice is pure, solid carbon dioxide (CO2). It’s called “dry ice” because it does not melt. Dry ice goes directly from a solid to a gas in a process called sublimation. Dry ice keeps items colder for much longer than traditional “wet ice” because dry ice is extremely cold, -109 degrees F (-78.5° C). Dry ice sublimates into carbon dioxide gas instead of melting, leaving no liquid mess to clean (or to make the dance floor slippery/dangerous).
How Does a Dry Ice Fogger Work?
Using a unit such as the Chauvet Nimbus, a basin is filled with water, and brought to a boil. Once the water in the basin is heated, dry ice (approximately 10 pounds) is placed in a basket and lowered into the basin. The clash of the hot and cool produces a thick ice fog. Typically, the operator will fill the dance floor with a layer of low-lying fog, and then intensify the effect by lowering the basket to the lowest level, producing abundant clouds of ice fog. The ice fog lingers on the floor (not rising to the ceiling and fire alarms) and then dissipates. One cycle on the machine can last for up to 10 minutes, so there is more than enough capacity to run the effect for the typical four minute song.
What will you feel? You will feel a cool sensation dancing in the ice fog. The air will be cool and easy to breathe. Again, there is no liquid residue from using this effect. The ice fog dissipates into a gas.
How Much Does the Effect Cost?
Most DJ companies charge between $300 and $400 to add this effect. While not inexpensive, the effect is truly impressive. The operator must also secure and store the dry ice (which costs between $1 and $2 per pound). Dry ice is not widely available, exacerbating the challenges of sourcing and storing it. A bigger hurdle than cost may be convincing a banquet hall to allow you to use the effect in their facility. The distrust of traditional fog machines is pervasive. Armed with the information in this blog, you should have sufficient ammunition to persuade a cautious banquet hall manager to allow you to take a dance in the clouds!