Archive for Theme Parties
The aerial world tends to take itself a little seriously, and maybe that’s because it’s so damn physically difficult. We are usually too busy just trying to hang on and force a smile through the pain and exertion. Aerial work definitely always amazes people and has a certain mystique about it, and performers know it. Performers are often either sexy or showy or artsy, but rarely hilarious. Any attempts at comedy tend to be more cute than actually funny.
A couple of years ago, we were on tour and both had the flu and Laura asked what would happen if one of us sort of fell apart in the middle of the act? Then we wondered, what if one of us died? Could the other person make sure that the show will go on? Laura and I decided to give comedy a shot and came up with this piece “Dead”. We had a blast creating it because it was something we’d never done into before. We even got some feedback from our professional clown friends. We discovered how important timing is and how big we have to make gestures in order for them to read. The act has continued to be many people’s favorite because it’s aerial work with a dark twist. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed creating it.
Everyone loves how-we-met stories because they are often funny and romantic and just a little cheesy. Laura and I are no exception. Even though years later, like many partners we would go through couple’s (business) therapy on national television, that doesn’t tinge our adorable beginnings.
It was one bright eve in an outer borough. Laura and I were both performing solo acts, she on silk and I on rope at a nightclub in Queens that no longer exists. I remember seeing Laura and thought how professional she looked, all cirque-like. I felt like a country mouse next to her glittered up self. We were performing at different times and on opposite sides of the room and people kept thinking we were the same person and calling us by the other’s name. Since then, people have asked us on numerous occasions if we were twins which is a little strange given our height difference. On that night though, our similar looks made things a bit confusing. Laura called me the next day and (as she likes to put it) threatened me,“Join me or die.” I think she was slightly more charming than that, but whatever the method I quickly agreed and we began rehearsals.
Neither of us were totally flush at the time, Laura was about to get married and I was moving out of my ex-fiance’s place, so we struck a deal with the Queen’s nightclub owner. We could use the space for free if we would offer performances for a rather reduced rate. At that point, there weren’t any tall aerial rehearsal spaces (yes, kids it’s true) and it seemed perfect. The only drawback was that it was dark, a little musty and had no heat. Winters then aren’t like winters now. We rehearsed with our coats and hats on and then when we thought we got it right, and were fairly warm, we’d take everything off and run whatever we’d gotten through. It took us the better part of a year, rehearsing two hours a day almost every day to get the act right. We were so psyched but then we couldn’t actually get through the darn thing physically because we hadn’t built the endurance back. It’s so funny to us now because now I know that act so well I’m sure we could do it with having no training or prep at any moment.
I had Cirque style entertainment at my party last year. Everyone absolutely loved it, but how do I top that this year? There can be too much of a good thing, and nobody wants to repeat themselves. Think Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Need I say more? Nothing is ever as good as the first time. The last thing you want is to chase after a good idea with a cheap carbon copy formula (or greedy aliens). That said, people love cirque style entertainment and what are you going to do to follow that up, hire a mariachi band? You’ve set the bar pretty high, now you have to at least meet expectations. How do you do that without seeming like you are doing the same thing?
Well, there are ways. You just have to be creative.
1. Talk to us about figuring out something totally different- We’ve hired breakdancers, strolling tables, and girls who dance inside balloons. We are very connected in the entertainment world and could find something really unique for you.
2. Recontextualize the entertainment- Rather than having girls just hanging upside down, put them to work! Have them also pour people’s champagne. Aerial bartending is a fun way to really turn your party upside down. It’s interactive and fun. Most people don’t get to chat with someone hanging by their ankles on a regular basis.
3. Choose really different apparatuses- Silks are beautiful and exciting but also very popular. There are some amazing apparatuses that most people haven’t seen like a quadruple trapeze. It really draws people’s attention.
4. Use technology -There are all sorts of new technologies from interactive lighting, to lights that project video. A lot of it is cheaper than it seems it would be. It’s always good to seem high tech even if you still haven’t entirely figured out your iphone.
Don’t be afraid to be out there. People love telling their friends about that hip cool party where they saw something none of them have seen before. Many people have hired us year after year, but need to make sure their audience is not getting tired of Cirque. It doesn’t have to be always how we think of it, there are many possibilities, All you have to do is to let us think of them!
New Year’s Eve is a time for the big and splashy, a time to pull out all the stops and celebrate until you find yourself sitting on your welcome mat with someone else’s dog. Given that people spend a lot of money to make this night special, as a planner for their party, you want to make darn sure they feel like they got their money’s worth. Cirque style Entertainment is perfect for this kind of celebration.
How do we make sure everything goes flawlessly?
- Book Early It’s especially important on this day to make sure you get the acts you want.
- Nothing After Midnight This advice cannot be emphasized enough. The energy of this night changes after Midnight like no other party does. I was part of the Millenial Celebration in Times Square. The organizers had the great idea of having performances every hour from different parts of the world as each country or region celebrated Midnight. This idea worked marvelously until midnight EST, when the annual mass exodus occurred, but they made us keep performing until 6 am. What a slogfest. By 1:30 am, it was just the performers dancing to tumbling champagne bottle bags and a couple of very resentful TV crews. Even when people do stay to celebrate after the pivotal moment, they will be too busy smearing their lipstick on someone’s face or dancing barefoot in among smashed bits of glass to care about much else.
- Higher Energy Acts Later As people get more inebriated they will need something bright and fast moving to keep them focused. Normally we like to have a balance of energies throughout the evening, but on this night it’s a little different. Put any walkaround performers on early as well as the contortionists. It will warm people up and put them on a great trajectory.
- Have performers arrive the day before This time of year is often fraught with all sorts of delays. This event is too big a deal to take chances. Make sure there is plenty of time for performers to get their luggage too.
- Whenever Possible, Add Glitter and Confetti If you can’t afford confetti canons then we can throw them out of our bras from 18 feet up. However you do it, it ain’t NYE if people aren’t spitting out mouthfuls of chopped up mylar.
Psssssssssssssssssst! Did you know that you can have fabrics custom dyed for your event? One of our silks got ruined by a stray pen left in a suitcase, so today we’re playing with a marbled dye effect just for fun!
Probably the worst themed party ImaginAerial has ever done was a Luau themed party complete with fake tiki lamps and plastic leis. Now this theme sounds like it could be fun, except that it took place in an incredibly dark sports arena on the east coast. The party goers shivered in their mumus as they sipped mai tais in the cold and drafty space. And it was so dark, I’m not sure anyone was aware of people flying around above. Everything about this party was incongruous with our act and the venue. No one told us the theme ahead of time, so we arrived all Cirqued up, looking like we’d gotten the wrong room. If we’d only known, we could have been tropical birds or even just had water themed music and costumes, but instead we looked like aliens from Montreal dropped in the tropics.
White parties are also all the rage. Yes, white is cool, classy and modern, but white is well, white. Colorless, monochromatic, and dare I say, a little dull. Also a white costume on a white silk on a white background gives you the “Where’s Waldo?” problem. However, we aren’t here to insult themes even though it’s fun. When cleverly done, a great theme can really make a party stand out.
First, just because you have cirque acts at your party does not mean the party’s theme has to be “Cirque”. There is nothing wrong with a cirque theme, but most cirque acts are more than willing to play with different kinds of themes. You can choose almost anything, whether it be the Roaring 20’s, Space Aliens, or Vampires. We can make it work. Integrating the theme in with the acts makes the whole event seem polished rather than thrown together. I’ve had prosthetic fangs on while partnering with two other people on a trapeze and no one bit a hole in her tongue. I know it can be done! The theme doesn’t have to be elaborate; it just has to work for your event.
Questions to consider when you are searching for a theme:
Who are your attendees? What is the occasion?
Has this theme been done in your community before?
What do you want people to walk away with?
Will it work with the feeling of the space? and the dimensions of the space?
What is your budget? Will it require special decorations or costumes?
Is there a way to integrate your food or entertainment into the theme?
Some of our favorite themes have been: Under the Sea, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, In the style of a certain painter, Winter Wonderland, and Moulin Rouge.
Just please, spare us the Hookie Lau unless you are having it outside or in Hawaii.
We have performed with the flu, during a blizzard, and without costumes. We’ve improvised in all sorts of ways, performing through snot and snow (even sans glitter!) without ever missing an appearance. When I heard about Hurricane Irene, my first thought was that we’ve been rained on during a performance before, how bad could it be? Our client wisely pointed out however that an event in a tent during a category three hurricane just seemed a bad idea. Luckily, she quickly reorganized the tent and caterers and our entire team was able to reschedule for Thursday, Sept 1st. After some initial scrambling, it turned out to be a spectacular night after all.
The theme for the party was “Alice in Wonderland”. I love this premise because it allows for surreal things to happen… like Circus! The characters in this story are clear and just lend themselves to being portrayed by wacky cirque acts.
The aerialists alternated as the Cheshire Cat, who is always seen up in a tree and often upside down. We had spectacular Cheshire Cat smiles painted on which looked funny if our own teeth were seen. In order not to ruin the illusion, we had to do toothless smiles. It worked but try undoing decades of habitual smiling!
The Queen of Hearts walked around inside a giant bubble and took kids inside with her. She also used the bubble to make her own head disappear. The more she told the kids she was going to chop off their heads, the more they seemed determined to get into the balloon with her.
The Mad Hatter unicycled and juggled various objects while the March Hare spun plates, tossed a diablo, and juggled.
Our characters didn’t just walk around in costume but interacted with the attendees and showed off some difficult skills. Their talents and willingness to play with the their characters really added to the wild and colorful atmosphere.
In the end, Irene never stood a chance against the force that was Alice.