ImaginAerial Presents: GLOW

Posted by: on January 20, 2017

 

What is GLOW?

ImaginAerial lights up the night! From UV blacklight acts to LED-powered hula hoops and costumes, this is an experience your guests will never forget.

 

What does GLOW look like?

Here’s an example of a GLOW event we did in Toronto last year!

 

What do GLOW artists need to perform?

  • Acts include LED hula hoops, UV silks, light up juggling and prop manipulation, contortion, and more!
  • Many LED props require charging immediately prior to performance. Multiple outlets and/or power strips will be needed to make sure everything stays nice and bright throughout the evening.
  • Artists can perform acts while mingling with guests, on a stage or pedestal, or as part of a show.
  • GLOW ground artists need a clean floor space, and about 5×5 feet of space on a stage, pedestal, or floor.
  • If UV blacklight is desired, the client will need to arrange for UV units through their lighting vendor.
  • If you have questions (and I’ll bet you do), give us a ring at (929) 260-3134 and we can talk you through it.

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Better or Bitter? Are You Working and Training With the Right People?

Posted by: on January 17, 2017

I surround myself with the BEST people!

Your mom was right: pick your friends (training partners, coaches, etc) carefully – they have more influence than you can imagine. I was (wisely) counseled early on to surround myself with people who were just a little bit better than me, who would challenge me to up my game; this proved to be some of the best advice I’ve ever been given.

You Don’t Want to Be the Best in the Room

Well, not ALL the time! If you’re the top dog at your school or in your community, it may be time to level up. While it feels GREAT to have your ego stroked every time you take the stage or bust out an ankle hang, if there’s no one to push you to get better, chances are you won’t. You’ll begin to slide into “big-fish-in-a-small-pond syndrome” – trust me, it ain’t pretty. Eventually, your bubble will be burst! Tale as old as time – you’re the very best aerialist at the Dolly Dinkle School of Aerial Arts, you take a little field trip to Montreal to train, and you get your ass whooped but good. It hurts, but a swift reality check to the butt is ultimately a good thing. Don’t wait for it – seek it out and embrace it!

These two push me every damned day

Better Business vs Bitter Business

Do you surround yourself with successful folks? People neck-deep in best business practices that you can learn from? OR are you drowning in a sea of people who have bought into the notion that being an artist means sitting back and waiting for work to magically find you? Take a gooooood look around right now. The people you work and train with influence everything from core beliefs to training practices. The people you encounter every day should push you to be better in SOME way – train harder, get better in business, be kinder, love broader, point your toes, etc. If you’re pouring out your best self into rocky soil, and getting nothing in return, that (as my son would say) is NOT GOOD.

I’m in no way saying that you should only befriend people you see as “stepping stones” – that would be douche-y. But, it’s always healthy to look at the community you’re aligning yourself with and check in – are they headed in the direction you see for yourself? Yes? Carry on. No? Time for a change. We invest in others, and they invest in us – just make sure it’s a good investment on both sides. Dare to imagine, Laura

(Wo)Man Up – Circus is Not for Wimps

Posted by: on January 10, 2017

blue-circus“Oh my gosh – you are SO GLAMOROUS! Look how gooooooorgeous!” And we bat our lashes, Vaseline our teeth, hike up our Spanx, and say, “Thaaaaank yooooou!”, while simultaneously thinking, “heh – you should have seen me three hours ago with sweaty hair and last night’s confetti in my bra, lugging a free-standing rig up a loading ramp and tripping over my ratchet straps.”

But, of course, we never SAY those things… out loud…. to normal people.

If you’re going into circus performance imagining an endless parade of impossibly glamorous situations, exploding with glitter and fabulousness, you’re only 5% right. The other 95% is hustle, body-breaking training, and manual labor – scramble, sweat, haul. Now don’t get me wrong – that 5% is dreamy! Performing is spectacular! But it comes with a looooooot of work. And blisters.

Haul, Fetch, Carry

Some gigs are cake-y! Walk in, do your thing, eat sushi, look pretty, perform, go back to your 4 star hotel. But many are…. well, decidedly less cake-y. Early morning calls, schlepping equipment, hauling and setting up a free-standing rig (whether or not you’ll be the one performing on it), steaming costumes, loading bags, you name it. Warm-up, into costume, sparkly makeup, warm-up, 4 hour event. After the show, eat a Power Bar, wait for the guests to leave, break everything down, pack it up, drive it home, unload, fall into bed. Or, you know, drive to the next city and do it all again.

We’re lucky in that we have a core group of mensches who know that the show must go on, no matter what. They schlep bags, drive vans, MagGuyver rig covers out of table cloths and athletic tape, whatever it takes. In fact, when we’re casting, we absolutely take into account who our best team players are, and try to throw the glammie gigs their way whenever possible (hey, butt busting has its rewards)!

You’ve Gotta Be Tough

Performing, and touring in particular, is incredibly hard on the body. You cannot be a delicate flower and expect to blossom in this business! Be prepared to:

  • Help load and unload – even if you don’t have to, it’s much appreciated!
  • Have a nutty schedule – late nights and early mornings are a thing.
  • Deliver an impeccable performance.
  • Take care of your circus body.
  • Drive if you can, navigate if you can’t, and expect long drives.
  • Put a sock in it – working circus artists don’t whine and complain.
  • Stick up for yourself if working conditions are extreme or unsafe (this is another post).
  • Make it work! The show must go on, and sometimes creative solutions or compromises are required to make that happen. Flexibility is key!
  • Remember – teamwork makes the dream work! None of us perform in a bubble – everyone from the ticket takers to the artists to the lighting techs are essential. When you have an “it’s all about me” moment, go do jumping jacks and burpees until the delusion passes. Be a mensch, not a Pretty Prince(ss)!

Go forth, work HARD, enjoy the glammie gigs when they happen, and enjoy doing what you love and loving what you do! Dare to imagine, Laura

Alice in Wonderland

Posted by: on December 28, 2016

ImaginAerial invites you to tumble down the rabbit hole, as we bring you “Alice in Wonderland” as you’ve never seen it before!

  • Alice, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, Jabberwocky, Deck of Cards, and more!
  • Aerialists, sideshow artists, acrobats, contortionists, stilt walkers, and all manner of cirque-style artists bring the characters to life.
  • We also partner with companies like Fine Affairs, Inc to connect clients with props, decorations, storybook stands, and more!

 

20161028_174728

 

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ImaginAerial for All Your Winter and Holiday Celebrations!

Posted by: on December 27, 2016

ImaginAerial is the perfect addition to any winter or holiday event! From icy aerialists to acrobatic elves, we’ve got you covered.

  • Winter themed acts in white, silver, and holiday colors.
  • Free-standing rig available, can be covered with white masking, colored or white lights, or assorted greenery.
  • Cirque-style acts, strolling tables, living snow globes, and more!

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Professional Gossip: Pots, Stirrers, Kettles, and Dishin’ Dirt

Posted by: on November 29, 2016
Me when I heard what you said about me last week.

Me when I heard what you said about me.

This is something I think about a lot. Why? ‘Cause I LOVE gossip! Let’s be honest – lots of us dish the dirt every chance we get. The problem? Friend, if you think for a single solitary second that what you say stays between you and the performer you’re talking to, I have a (moderated) old adage for you: telephone, telegraph, tell-a-performer. I know, I know, Bitsy would NEVER tell Blinky what you talked about! Except SHE TOTALLY DID. Now, there’s drama, lost work, and day-um, you could cut that tension with a knife. Oy.

Put a Sock in It

My grandmother, when I was 16, handed me a laminated card. On it was printed: “100% Foolproof Birth Control. Instructions: when amorous feelings arise, place card between knees and hold it there.” After I finished wishing the floor would open and swallow me whole, I – well, I got older and here we are. But it brings me to this: when you feel yourself about to trash-talk another artist, take off your shoe, remove your sock, and place said sock firmly into your mouth. Crisis averted!

Don’t Stir that Pot

Some folks just LOVE to stir up some drama. Am I talking about you? If you’re asking, than I probably am. Stirring the pot, fanning the flames of discord, and general mischief-making might feel good at the time, but it always comes back to bite us in the ass, doesn’t it?

Being easy to work with doesn’t just mean being on time, good-natured, accommodating, etc. It also means mindin’ your business, and being careful about the cans-o-worms you open for yourself and other people.

It Says More About You Than You Might Be Comfy With

Before those of you who know me start pelting me with stones and screaming, “POT! KETTLE!”, I know – I hear you. I have surely done my share of trash talking, gossiping, and pot stirring. If we’re being honest, I’ve done my share AND the shares of at least twelve other people. I’ve hurt myself, I’ve hurt others, and I’ve made situations that didn’t have to be dramatic WAY more stressful than they had to be.

When we are (as my son would say) “Giant Poopie Heads”, we make crappy choices (HA!). I’ve decided to tackle this part of my character, because frankly, it’s not who I want to be anymore. When we gossip, trash talk, or pot-stir, it says way more about us than it does about the person we’re talking about. And remember – the other person almost always hears about it. Circus is a small community – we would all do well to remember that. So, the next time we’re tempted to let our big mouths run the show, let’s all just put a sock in it.

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It’s Dark in Here: Getting Our Heads Out of Our Artistic Arses

Posted by: on November 22, 2016

luminarium 2Do you create in an artistic bubble? Before you say no, hear me out. It’s natural and reasonably healthy to surround oneself with like-minded artistic folks; we fling ideas around, support one another’s kooky projects, go see each other in shows when nooooooooo one else will. We gain a lot from these friendships and collaborations! But, friends, there’s a dark, dark hole we risk falling into: our own artistic arses.

I Would Never Fall Into My Own Artistic Arse

Love, I saw that piece you did last month using dental floss and Legos as a structured and tangled metaphor for our political realities. You’re up there. We’ve ALL been up there! Well, our own, not necessarily yours. My point is, we all create in a bubble to an extent – corporate circus, traditional circus, contemporary circus, sideshow, burners, burlesque, whatever. While bubbles can be supportive and nurturing, they can also blind us to the weaknesses of what we’re producing and stunt our growth as performers. If everyone around you is constantly strokin’ that ego, and you’re not getting meaningful critical feedback from communities outside your own, you may find yourself rather chilly – ’cause the emperor will have no clothes.

But I Really LOVE My Arse – er, Bubble!

We all do, dearest. We all do. And hey – everyone has a target audience! Folks outside that audience may not get what we do, or think what we do is weird, or not weird enough. I’m not saying give every opinion equal weight, I’m just saying that you should make sure that other opinions exist for you.

So, try to get out and occasionally see the stuff that makes you cringe (but set yourself up for success – go see the best of that particular genre)! If you’re die-hard contemporary, make a pilgrimage to see Ringling Bros, or take the train to Coney Island. If burlesque makes your eyes roll so hard you’re pretty sure they’re going to get stuck somewhere in the back of your head, make it a point to find the “it” performer of the moment, and go see what you can learn from them. If you’d sooner stab yourself repeatedly in the throat than go to one more Cirque show, I hear you. But don’t make it a rule – shows and companies change. Try not to get stuck – it’s a big artistic world you’re in. Dare to imagine, Laura

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It’s Election Night and We’re All Going to Die: Uncertainty and Following Your Performer’s Heart

Posted by: on November 8, 2016

Like many of you, I’ve been (quite literally) tied in knots recently. This election has me on tenterhooks, so I decided to do what I sometimes do well – spill my guts on the internet in hopes of some sort of cathartic release. How will I parlay this into a circus blog post, you ask? Oh ye of little faith, I may take the scenic route, but I’ll get somewhere. Maybe. Probably. No – definitely.

Uncertainty

 

Do I do this? Why the f**k am I doing this? When should I do this? Am I being stupid for doing this? But I love this. But should I waste the (fill in the blank – time, money, heart, etc) on this? And so it goes. Uncertainty. Circus is fraught with it. Uncertainty about what to focus on, whom to partner with, where to base yourself, whether to give it all up and become an accountant because CRAP you are never gonna get that back planche and you were never good enough anyway and you always suck on Tuesday nights. Ugh. Uncertainty.

Our election misery will (hopefully) soon be over, but our circus quandaries persist. We’re so often torn between practicality and what we (and society) view as frivolity. But tell me – does it feel frivolous when you’re training and performing? Or does it feel like your soul has swelled to twelve times it’s normal size, and is pushing at the boundaries of your skin, seeping out of your pores and running down your body, until you’ve totally spent yourself in a sweaty heap? Yeah, me too. Not all the time, but when it matters.

As productive members of society, we are charged with taking care of ourselves and our people, and making a contribution. In the good ole US of A, that contribution is valued less if it doesn’t result in a clearly profitable service or product. I am SO not going to open that can of worms today – not today, friends. But I will say this: art and entertainment is not frivolous. It is essential, whether that gets recognized or not. So, our choice is not between practicality and frivolity. It’s not even a choice at all – if it’s really for you, the work is a calling. We do what we have to do to pay our bills, we dance with the devil in negotiating our dreams, and we cobble together a life on our own terms. So, while questioning is always good, and heaven knows we’ll always worry about the future, perhaps we can make peace with the uncertainty part. Maybe – just maybe – we put it on hold for a while, and give ourselves to the dream like idiots (….. idiots who make good business decisions).

Where does that leave us? The Neverwhere. Ambiguous-ville. UncertainLand. Uuuuugh, so uncomfortable. But what is the alternative?

Never having been one to do things in half measures, I think I come down where I always have. I choose the uncertainty. I choose the Big Life. I choose THIS life. So, friends, spend the money on the circus classes. Buy the costume. Squander the hours trying to sit on your own head. Fall in love. Fall in love with it all. Because, in the end, it’s the only thing we can take away: the love. The terrible, wasteful extravagance of love.

This poem is pretty much required reading for artists (and, you know, humans). “To Have Without Holding” by Marge Piercy. Read the whole thing here, it’s short- you’ll be glad you did.

“Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.” – excerpted from “To Have Without Holding” by Marge Piercy

Dare to imagine, Laura

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ImaginAerial Presents: Sideshow

Posted by: on November 4, 2016

What is Sideshow?

Rose trunk color

 

ImaginAerial’s sideshow artists are quirky, edgy, and the life of the party! Many right from the stages of Coney Island, these artists are an outrageous and daring addition to any event. We know – it sounds really over-the-top, but audiences go wild! Be as daring or as conservative as you wish, there’s something for every party.

 

What Does Sideshow Look Like?

 

 

ray-edit-swordWhat Does a Sideshow Artist Need to Perform?

 

  • Acts include sword swallowing, human blockhead, fire, contortion, yo-yo, bed of nails, juggling, and more.
  • Needs depend a bit on which artist(s) are booked.
  • Contortionists need a clean floor space, and about 5×5 feet of space on a stage, pedestal, or floor.
  • Artists can perform acts as walk-arounds, on a stage, or even pose as guests at the event for a VERY surprising reveal!
  • If you have questions (and I’ll bet you do), give us a ring at (929) 260-3134 and we can talk you through it.

 

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Bummer – When the Gig Doesn’t Go

Posted by: on October 25, 2016

Most inquiries never get past the initial request for information – folks are positively gobsmacked to discover that you can’t get a 10 person 30 minute circus show for $1000 on Christmas. If we get past the sticker shock, and they’re still interested, now comes All The Questions – can we rig there? How much space will we really have? Can we do it over a pool filled with sharks? This stage can take weeks. I’m not going to lie – it can be le poo (like fifteen-conference-calls-a-week-and-CAD-drawings-rendered le poo). BUT – if their wishes and our magic line up, we get….

THE CONTRACT PHASE.

Before the contract is signed and the deposit received? No gig is foolproof. We had one fold just today that I’ve been working HARD on for months because of an un-forseeable family emergency. Le. Poo.

What Does that Mean to Us As Performers?

It can be a delicate dance, because no one wants to miss out on work; here are a few tips to hopefully make things easier.

  1. Hold the date. If someone asks you to hold a free date, pop a note in your calendar with a question mark.
  2. First refusal. So – you’re holding a date, but get another inquiry. What to do? Be transparent. Tell the first person that you have another show or company asking after the date, and give them the right of first refusal. If they are not going to be ready to go to contract within a day or two, you may have to go with offer number two. It’s not personal – we know that, and we want you to WORK! Often, it comes down to whoever produces a guarantee first.
  3. It’s an official go! When you hear those words, you should see a contract within a few days. HOORAY!
  4. It’s a bust. Sometimes, sh*t happens and it doesn’t go – even if a crazy amount of prep has already happened. When you get the news as an artist, be sure to acknowledge it with a quick email response like, “Oh no! How disappointing. Thanks for letting me know,  looking forward to working with you in the future.” Radio silence can sometimes come off as peevish, and doesn’t give a nod to the butt-busting work that planner or agent did (for free) on your behalf.

Events aren’t an exact science, because PEOPLE. Do be gracious, and understand that there are a huge number of moving parts to every event which we don’t control. Now, go forth and WORK! Dare to imagine, Laura