EDMONTON — People in downtown Edmonton Sunday afternoon got a sneak peek of “Dance of the Cranes presented by Ice District,” one of the dozens of art installations that will transform the downtown core next weekend for Nuit Blanche. The free, one-night contemporary art event will feature more than 30 exhibits from local and international artists.

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Brandon Vickerd is the artist behind the Dance of the Cranes, which involves choreographing four illuminated construction cranes to a piece of instrumental music.

“It struck me as a really beautiful, sublime experience and I decided it would be a great performance to stage and actually plan out a choreographed movement that changed the way people thought about the construction industry,” said Vickerd.

“Initially when people hear about a performance of dancing cranes there’s a minute of shock or thinking that it’s a joke but when they actually experience the event it creates this huge communal experience where people come together.”

Next Saturday night will be the third time Vickerd has showcased the Dance of the Cranes. He first put it together for an event in Toronto in 2009, and most recently in Washington, D.C. this summer.

“This is the largest and most ambitious dancing cranes so far,” he said Sunday. “It’s going to be a massive spectacle.

“The cranes will start off all dark, all the lights on the site will be dimmed, and then when the music kicks in it’ll echo through the streets. It’ll be a loud, instrumental piece that slowly builds up. And then the cranes will slowly begin to come to life.”

Vickerd doesn’t do it alone, though. He’s enlisted the help of four PCL Construction crane operators, four riggers and several others from the construction company to put on the performance.

Kevin Bell is one of the operators involved in the crane choreography. He believes his is the “best seat in the house.”

“It does look pretty cool actually. When you’re up there and you’ve got both cranes swinging simultaneously, it’s appealing,” he said.

Bell is no rookie; he was involved in a similar performance in the university area a couple years ago.

Watch below: PCL’s dancing cranes

Dance of the Cranes will be performed next Saturday from 11 p.m. to midnight. It’s one of 31 interactive exhibits planned for the city’s first Nuit Blanche, which runs from 7 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday in the downtown core.

Nuit Blanche was first celebrated in Paris in 2002. The event was launched in Toronto in 2006 with about 450,000 attendees. Since then, it has grown to attract upwards of a million people each year.