Don’t Be a Jerk – Say Thank You!

Posted by: on July 29, 2014

 

Oh - the ways I humiliate myself for you people.

Oh – the ways I humiliate myself for you people.

The following is a PSA, sponsored by The League of Old Curmudgeon Circus Folks.

If I had a nickle dollar for every time we dispense advice, look over someone’s materials, inquire about availability, etc and never hear a thank you, I would…. well, let’s just say Dr Tummy Tuck and I would be overnight besties (simmer down – that was a joke, save your hate mail). Are you coming off as rude and not even knowing it? We’ve been there, and learned the hard way. Don’t be a jerk – say thank you!

 

When a Thank You is In Order

When in doubt, it never hurts! The following are examples of when a thank you is just plain good manners:

  • when someone has hooked you up (or even if they tried) with something or someone, be it a gig, a rigger, a space, etc.
  • when someone inquires as to your availability for a gig (“Yes! I’m available – thank you for thinking of me!” or “No, I’m sad to say I have another event that weekend. But thank you so much for thinking of me!”)
  • when someone answers a question, particularly if they took time out of a busy schedule to give you career advice, look over your materials, or address concerns.
  • After a gig, a thank you note makes you stand out! It’s gracious, and acknowledges that they didn’t have to book you. Email is fine, it doesn’t have to be messengered over on embossed, perfumed stationary!

 
Good manners are, well, good manners! The person who goes the extra mile really shines, and it makes us want to work with them again and again. We’ve definitely forgotten our manners on occasion, and trust me – people remember. So, when in doubt, give a little gratitude! It makes you look good, and makes others feel good – everyone wins. Dare to imagine, Laura
  

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Killian Rides Again!

Posted by: on July 15, 2014

This past week, we had the pleasure of taking “The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog” out on the road again! We played to over 5000 (!!!!!) enthusiastic theater-goers at Lakeside Chautauqua and Springfield Arts Council’s Summer Arts Festival! Here are some of the amazing pics taken by photographer and web designer extraordinaire Kenneth Feldman from KPF Digital (if you need a website designed, HE’S YOUR GUY!). Just click on the thumbnail to view a larger image or start the slideshow. Enjoy!

Dress Rehearsal/Tech

 

Lakeside Chautauqua

 

Springfield Arts Festival

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Sparkly Banana Hammock??!!! When Show Costumes Do NOT Work for Your Act

Posted by: on June 24, 2014

futurechicken.jpegP1010267_editedIf you’ve done any sort of touring or joining up with shows (or hope to), you’re bound to encounter some costume dilemmas that make you nervous. Really nervous. What happens when someone wants you to wear something that won’t work for your act? Step awaaaaaaay from the sparkly banana hammock….

Storytime….

futurechicken.jpegAngela and I toured for many years with a sassy duo trap act which included a roll around the bar. Any duo who has incorporated this move into their act will, at some point, become incapacitated with laughter (and sometimes just incapacitated) when your leggings or unitards entwine around the bar, and you are stuck stuck stuck in the most indelicate of positions. Your only options are roll backwards (sometimes nearly impossible depending on how your costume has become wrapped), take your pants off, or have someone lower your point.

We were performing at the Casino Estoril , and the show was providing our costumes. We sent a list of our needs, and arrived to find costumes that needed some adjustments. The one we REALLY pushed for was the tightening up of the material in the midsection. They did this for us, and our run went off without a hitch. HOWEVER. We were replaced by a lovely lyra duo, who also had a roll around the bar. They were more petite, and consequently, our costumes were a bit looser on them. When they asked to have them adjusted, they were told (wait for it….), “The girls before you never had a problem.” So, they left it. Guess what? During the show one night, they became so tangled that the lyra had to be lowered, and they had to scoot offstage still attached. Want to keep this from happening to you? Read on.

From Your Employer’s Point of View

 

Medieval Angels

Medieval Angels

As a pretty DIY company, we make all our costumes in house. We have a vision for how we want a show or event to look, and how your act will fit into it. As aerialists, we also have an idea of what may be a no-go (you are not usually working with people who understand performers needs). Sometimes, making adjustments to a costume may require taking the entire thing apart, or re-designing from scratch. So, it’s in our best interests to only make changes that MUST be made, and put the onus on you the performer to make the rest work. We also may be going for a specific look – it may be a bit of a pain in the tush, but the result is worth it.

Fcostumeor example, this is the Angel Statue costume from our Killian Cog show (it’s not usually wet – it’s in the process of being dyed). It’s long and flowing, and was created for the duo Spanish web act. Let’s be clear: no performer looks at a long, flow-y costume goes “Oh goody! Tons of fabric to work around!” But, these beautiful performers made it work, and the visual impact in the show was stunning.

 

Negotiating Your Costume

First, determine your needs. If you have a single shin to shin, you need shins uncovered. Period. Roll around the bar? Tight costume mid-section. You many need head/neck free, nothing hanging off, the list goes on and on. Determine those needs, and fight for them if you have to. If you get a lot of push-back, explain to your employer WHY this is so important (they often have no idea why one might not want slippy fabric when you’re hanging by a toe….).

Is the costume just kind of a pain to work around? Do you have to make small adjustments to your act to accommodate it? This is where you have to suck it up and be the pro you are. If it’s a few weeks or a month, really try to make it work. If it’s a long tour, see if you can partner with the designer to come up with a compromise that suits the show, and doesn’t require too much sacrifice on your end.

Bottom line, safety is a non-negotiable. Also, as a performer, you want your act to look amazing (trust me – your client does too). Really try to work with designers and employers to find that happy medium between what the show requires and what you need to look spectacular. Dare to imagine, Laura
 

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Call the Waaaaaaaaaa-bulance! How Whining and Complaining Equals Less Work for You

Posted by: on June 10, 2014
Laughter keeps shows & rehearsals light!

Laughter keeps shows & rehearsals light!

Truth be told, this lesson is one I wish I had figured out earlier in my career. Much earlier.

Ask respectfully and clearly for what you need. DON’T whine, bitch, complain, kvetch, gripe, grouse, grumble, moan, bellyache, fuss, nag, or snivel.

We have needs as performers, and when show day gets hectic, sometimes it feels as if those needs may not get met. But here’s where you get to ask yourself: is this something I really NEED to perform safely and well? Or is this something that would be nice to have, but is not essential?

Needs

  • Try to handle this yourself. If necessary, bring it to the attention of the stage manager, or appropriate person. State your needs clearly and respectfully. Ex: “After they set lights, I just need 10 minutes to double check my rigging. Will that be a good time?”
  • Be patient. There is a LOT that goes into setting up a show, and you may have to wait a bit before getting what you need.
  • Remember that bad behavior almost always gets back to the folks in charge, resulting in less work for you. No bueno.
  • Examples of needs – time to check rigging, time to check lighting levels, time to do a quick jump onto your apparatus to check the “feel” in a new space, etc.

Wants

  • Wants are the “gravy” of show day – nice, but not essential. By all means request them, but don’t get your panties in a bunch if they don’t magically appear.
  • Examples of wants – time to run parts of your act (beyond what you need for safety), time to work with the music, ample warm-up space (sometimes, you’ve just got to use the hallway), etc.

 

I have definitely done my share of kvetching (and still do), but I assure you – it doesn’t endear me to anyone. It doesn’t endear you to anyone either. If you whine, complain, or (worse) pitch a hissy fit when you don’t get what you want on show day, folks will hear about it. You will be labeled drama whether you actually are or not. And – true story – drama doesn’t get hired (unless you’re Lady Gaga). Let’s work on this together! Have you struggled with complaining? Any tips for keeping it to a minimum? Share it in the comments below! Dare to imagine, Laura

 

  

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“I Have Ebola and My Arms Fell Off!” How to Back Out of a Show

Posted by: on June 3, 2014

Hey friends! Long time no chat. We’re getting Killian all spiffed up and ready to head back out to Ohio in July – whew! But, we figured that a little quality time was long overdue.

No one wants to back out of a show (particularly a paid one!), but sometimes stuff comes up! The way you handle this is what separates the pros from the noes.

 

Something Better Came Along

I’ve been there, you’ve been there. You say, “Sure I’ll perform at your All Nude Showcase Cirque-Stravaganza!” Then, you book paying work. Or, you commit to a gig, and book a tour. It happens! And, when it does, you have your work cut out for you.

  • We understand! This is a very real part of our business. Call (DON’T EMAIL) the person or company who hired you ASAP and explain the situation.
  • Be prepared to replace yourself. One of our very favorite acts once accidentally double booked himself (yep – that was fun). He immediately offered a list of potential replacements, checked their availability, and offered to personally cover any extra costs associated with transportation or differences in artist fees. That made our lives much easier, and saved the professional relationship.
  •  You may have to suck it up and stick with the original contract if you have a very unique act, or if there simply isn’t time to bring in a replacement. Contracts are legally binding, so don’t even think about being a no-show unless you want to end up getting the pants sued off you (also? It’s a small business – shenanigans like that get around). It’s also a matter of integrity – you want to be known as someone who honors their commitments.
  • Paying work always trumps free showcases – don’t feel too bad. Give as much notice as you can so as not to screw people over, and don’t make a habit of it. If you book a ton of work last minute, don’t sign up for showcases!

You’re Genuinely Sick or Injured

This is a reality in our business. We watched half the cast get felled with infectious diarrhea once in Venezuela – it was a party. If you are too sick to perform, or an injury happens that you cannot work around, try this.

  • Try to make the person who hired you’s life easier (replace yourself, give as much notice as you can, etc).
  • Be honest with yourself about your limitations. If you have any questions about whether you’ll be able to perform (you’re pregnant, you’ll be recovering from surgery, you badly sprained your wrist, etc), you owe it to yourself and to your client to alert them to the situation to avoid last-minute drama. They may take a wait and see approach, or they may need to replace you. Either way, they’ll be glad you fessed up.
  • It’s pretty obvious when someone is truly too sick to go on. Some things come on very quickly, and there’s truly nothing you can do about it. If you won’t spread ebola to 20 people, and it’s possible for you to safely get there, it’s worth showing up so the client can see you making an effort. If you truly cannot leave your sick bed, you’re going to have some repair work to do when you get better. We saw this handled nicely once: an artist we were working along side of was felled with the flu the morning of an event – sick sick sick. When he was better, he called the company, apologized again, and offered to do a free event to make up for the drama. It was a nice gesture, and much appreciated by the company. They still work together to this day! However you handle it, definitely follow up and do whatever you can to make it right.

You Have a Personal Emergency

  • Make sure you are being scrupulously truthful here! Honesty is always the best policy. People can be perceptive, and you do NOT want to be caught in a fib. Also, people are more understanding than you think – we’ve all been there!
  • Above rules apply. Do everything you can to take good care of the professional relationship!

 

Best Video on Backing Out Ever

Applies mostly to non-paying commitments, but I found this super helpful. I hope you do too!!!!!  Have you ever had to back out of a gig? How did you handle it? Tell us in the comments below! Dare to imagine, Laura

 

 

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Aerial Wheel

Posted by: on April 25, 2014
Aerial Wheel

Aerial Wheel

What is Aerial Wheel?

This act consists of three artists performing stunning aerial acrobatics on a single-point metal “wheel”. This is a perfect act for performances “in the round” (audience on all sides).

 

What Does Aerial Wheel Look Like?

What Does this Act Need to Perform?

Don’t worry – we have rigging options to suit nearly every venue! This act requires a single rigging point (exposed beam, sky hook, truss, theatrical grid, etc.), and a ceiling height of at least 16 feet. Free-standing rigs are also available. Email us atus@imaginaerial.com or call us at 212-252-3131 – we’re happy to answer your questions!

FAQS

  •  This act is 6-8 minutes long.
  • This act does not swing, but it does spin.
  • This act is perfect for performances with audience on all sides.
  • This act requires at least 16 feet to be safely performed in its entirety.
  • This act is appropriate for all audiences.
  • There are multiple costumes and music choices for this act.
  • Floor must be completely clear (no tables,  chairs, sets, etc.) Performer must be at least 3 feet from the edge of a stage or platform.
  • Performers may not perform directly over audience members. All necessary precautions must be taken to prevent audience from walking underneath the aerialist.
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Spanish Web (Aerial Spinning Rope)

Posted by: on April 21, 2014
Spanish Web

Spanish Web

What is Spanish Web?

Spanish web is a circus classic! This fast-paced, exhilarating act features a daring artist who performs dizzying acrobatics while spinning on an aerial rope.  A pulse-pounding addition to any event or show!

What Does This Act Need to Perform?

Don’t worry – we have rigging options to suit nearly every venue! This act requires a single rigging point (exposed beam, sky hook, truss, theatrical grid, etc.), and a ceiling height of at least 17 feet. Free-standing rigs are also available. Email us at us@imaginaerial.com or call us at 212-252-3131 – we’re happy to answer your questions!

What Does Spanish Web Look Like?


FAQS

Duo Male Spanish Web

Duo Male Spanish Web

  • This act is 6-8 minutes long.
  • This act may be performed as a solo act OR as a duo act.
  • This act does not swing, but DOES spin.
  • This act is perfect for performances with audience on all sides.
  • This act requires at least 16 feet to be safely performed in its entirety.
  • This act is appropriate for all audiences.
  • There are multiple costumes and music choices for this act.
  • Floor must be completely clear (no tables,  chairs, sets, etc.) Performer must be at least 3 feet from the edge of a stage or platform.
  • Performers may not perform directly over audience members. All necessary precautions must be taken to prevent audience from walking underneath the aerialist.
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I’ve Had Two Months of Lessons – am I Ready to Perform Professionally?

Posted by: on April 18, 2014

… No. You are not. You are not you are not you are not. I don’t care if you are the spawn of two Russian Olympian gymnasts and danced with the Bolshoi for 10 years. You are not. Below is a great example of what happens when young hopefuls get in over their heads (in fact, she landed ON her head!). Nope nope nope!

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This is a HUGE topic, so, for the sake of brevity, let’s focus on this single situation. Not having been there, I can only comment on what I see (or think I see). This is also geared more towards the aspiring aerial community – veterans have more leeway with calculated risks in performance simply because they’ve been around the block enough to know what a calculated (as opposed to ridiculous) risk actually is.

  1. That move was jacked. There’s no way that was ever going to hold. It takes a good long time to develop the strength, technique, and vocabulary necessary to call yourself a pro. But more than that, there’s a “sense” that cannot be developed overnight – a sense of what will and will not work, what feels right and wrong, when it’s a bad idea to trot out a particular move, etc. This sense cannot be rushed, but must be slowly acquired over hundreds of hours of training. All of us who have been working fabrics for a long time caught our breath and knew exactly when she was going to fall without actually needing to try the move. That’s the sense.
  2. Nightclubs are challenging, and a poor training ground for the fledgling artist. Clubs mean late hours, multiple sets, drunken idiots, inconsistent lighting, blaring music, and a venue that generally has no idea what we do or how we do it. The working conditions are pretty crappy, which is why lots of pros won’t touch them (all this drama for less $$ – why?). Not a great place for folks who are just getting their feet wet to start!
  3. Know what you need, and be responsible for getting it. Need specific lighting? A costume that hugs you closely with nothing hanging off? 15 minutes between sets? Part of being a professional is being responsible enough to be your own advocate when it comes to safety (and everything else, for that matter). Aren’t sure what you need? Then you’re nowhere near ready to perform professionally. Keep asking questions and learning!

 

This poor girl. I really feel awful for her. It must have a) hurt b) been humiliating and c) killed her chances of working in that club again. It’s hard, as a newbie, to know when you’re ready. It’s hard to say no to money and the perceived glamour of this kind of performance. But, part of setting up a career the smart way is positioning yourself as a professional from the beginning. That means having all your ducks in a row and doing your research, not just flinging yourself into a business you have little understanding of. How do you get that understanding? More posts about that down the road, but I assure you – it’s not so different from any other business. Use your noggin. Ask questions. Consult the Googles. Take a business class. Have a strategy. Train train train with the best people you know. Because your future (and the future of our industry) deserves a little thought and planning on your part. Dare to imagine, Laura

For more on this topic, click here. 

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Solo Triangle Trapeze

Posted by: on April 15, 2014

Triangle TrapezeWhat is Solo Triangle Trapeze?

This act consists of a solo artist performing stunning aerial acrobatics on a single-point triangular trapeze. This is a perfect act for performances “in the round” (audience on all sides). Definitely something your audience hasn’t seen before!

 

What Does Solo Triangle Trapeze Look Like?

 

 

What Does this Act Need to Perform?

Don’t worry – we have rigging options to suit nearly every venue! This act requires a single rigging point (exposed beam, sky hook, truss, theatrical grid, etc.), and a ceiling height of at least 17 feet. Free-standing rigs are also available. Email us atus@imaginaerial.com or call us at 212-252-3131 – we’re happy to answer your questions!

 

FAQS

  •  This act is 6-8 minutes long.
  • This act does not swing.
  • This act is perfect for performances with audience on all sides.
  • This act requires at least 16 feet to be safely performed in its entirety.
  • This act is appropriate for all audiences.
  • There are multiple costumes and music choices for this act.
  • Floor must be completely clear (no tables,  chairs, sets, etc.) Performer must be at least 3 feet from the edge of a stage or platform.
  • Performers may not perform directly over audience members. All necessary precautions must be taken to prevent audience from walking underneath the aerialist.

Other acts on the Triangle Trapeze: Trio Triangle Trapeze, Comedic Duo Trapeze

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Aerial Harness

Posted by: on April 11, 2014

Jumping HarnessWhat is Aerial Harness?

Aerial harness involves a performer in an acrobatic harness performing gravity-defying flips, cartwheels, and acrobatics against a wall or sturdy screen. Often used for product launches or interactive video performance, this act brings a dramatic wow-factor that leaves audiences excited and engaged.

What Does Aerial Harness Look Like?

What Does This Act Need to Perform?

This act requires a wall or very sturdy vertical performance surface (a heavy duty cyclorama, for example). There must also be a rigging point within three feet of the performance surface.

If a performance surface is not available, performers may also be hung in harnesses and dramatic costumes throughout the space as “living chandeliers”. Chain motors and the requisite rigging points are required for this.

FAQSIMG_2575-slice

  • This act is flexible in length, depending on the needs of the client.
  • This act is easily customized to suit the needs of the event – music, video, costumes, length, and choreography may all be custom-created.
  • This act is suitable for ambient performance, with or without a performance surface.
  • You may select one performer, or use multiple artists!
  • This act is dynamic. It swings, spins, and can move up and down.
  • This act requires at least 10 feet to be safely performed in its entirety.
  • This act is appropriate for all audiences.
  • There are multiple costume choices for this act.
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