Flying in a Winter Wonderland

Posted by: on November 24, 2015

This weekend, ImaginAerial had the pleasure of dressing our free-standing rig in all it’s winter finery as we “flew” in a Winter Wonderland! Our rig is the perfect solution for venues without easy hang-points – it sets up and comes down easily, and can be decked out in a variety of lights, fabrics, and decor. Combine Aerial Champagne Performers and our Living Snow Globe, and you have the makings of one hot holiday event!


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Eek. I totally flubbed a performance. Now what?!

Posted by: on November 17, 2015

So you’ve gotten yourself into a knot that caused you to panic and start the sort of public fight with your silk that involves cursing, flailing, kicking, and essentially everything you’ve ever been told not to do in public. You do the best you can to finish out, but what do you do to recover your reputation once you have escaped that nightmare?


If you perform enough, you are going to have some stories to tell. We have gotten wrapped around a bar, crashed into other performers, fallen over from a standing position, tied our hands to each other, lost costumes and hair pieces, run straight into wings, tripped over lights, forgotten whole sections, and farted on stage. It’s all hilarious later to talk about (years later), but when it happens, it’s like every nightmare you’ve ever had playing out in reality…in slow motion.
While it might seem like a great idea to quit performing, change your name, and wear a fake mustache for the rest of your life, you can recover from gaffes like this.

Jakarta, Indonesia

No need to go incognito


Here are some tips :

1. Take the temperature of the people that hired you ASAP. Get out in front of it. If they are beyond p’oed and want their money back, it might be good to give it. They will probably cool down if they know you feel worse than they do. They will also know you took what happened seriously. Also if you acknowledge what happened first, they won’t just think this is what happens to you regularly and you are just a screw-up.

2. If they don’t seem too upset then ask for feedback. Do NOT tell them how you think you did. It could hurt you either way. If they thought you did okay and you start to tell them all about how everyone was watching you trying to extricate your costume from a rope for a good 5 minutes and it was really 15 seconds, they might start to think it was worse than it was. However, if they thought you did really badly and you start to tell them that you thought you totally pulled it off, you are going to come off as too cocky, not serious, and out of touch with your abilities.

3. Take responsibility for what happened. Do not make excuses or blame the producer in some way (if the lights hadn’t been so bright, yadda yadda). The fact that you accidentally drank decaf that morning is not going to help your cause.

4. LISTEN. If you have the potential to work together again, it’s important that the client or producer really feels heard. THEN let them know how you think you could prevent the issue in the future.

5. Volunteer to do a small gig or help the producer in some way. Then blow their socks off when you get a chance to perform again. As producers, what we like the most are consistent performers. So only time will show that his was a one time fluke. You need a number of shows to prove you can be trusted.

People are very willing to forgive mistakes. We’ve all been there, but we have to show we do all we can do keep those mistakes to an absolute minimum. With all the bloopers listed above, we were able to maintain good relationships with the people that hired us. It can be a good growing experience for you. It keeps the ol’ ego in check and they make good fodder for your next comedy act.

Dare to imagine…

written by Angela Attia


Posted by: on October 20, 2015

ImaginAerial rebooted their first show, Luminarium, in Toronto at the Westin Harbor Castle for the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). The circus talent’s credits include Pippin and Cabaret on Broadway, Les Sept Doigt de la Main, Cirque du Soleil, among many others. We had hoop diving, cube juggling, hand balancing, acro biking, hula hooping, wheeling, contorting, aerials, and much more. Costume designer, Katie Sue Nicklos of Timberlake Studios created groundbreaking costumes using EL wire that lit up the stage and elicited an “ooh” or two (Fun safety tidbit, battery packs are protected by condoms, which I later realized were lying out open in the dressing room. Oops.). Renown lighting designer Martin Postma completed the vision of light with projections and black light giving each act its own unique imagery and making everything pop.


Sneak preview of the show!

Post by Angela Attia


Dare to Imagine….


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Killian Cog at Performing Arts Exchange!

Posted by: on October 6, 2015

Last week, at Performing Arts Exchange (PAE) by South Arts, “The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog” creative team members Laura Witwer and Chris Delgado got to chat circus with a crackerjack panel of circus presenters and aficionados!

The panel was facilitated by Krista R. Bradley, Executive Director of BlackRock Center for the Arts. Featured panelist Nadia Drouin, Head of Programming Circus Arts for TOHU in Montreal (everyone’s dream circus space), spoke passionately about the emergence of contemporary circus and it’s place in the arts – it was thrilling! We also heard from several presenters about their experiences in bringing circus to their venues, and about why they’re so passionate about our art form.

We also got a chance to connect with Sydney Pepper Smith from the National Endowment for the Arts. Did you know that the NEA is now recognizing circus as it’s own, legitimate genre? Well, now you do! And it’s some of the best news we’ve heard in forever.

We reconnected with old friends, and made plenty of new ones. The future is looking bright and busy for Killian – and we couldn’t be more thrilled! How far would you go? Laura


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Killian Rides Again November 8th at the Midland Theatre!

Posted by: on September 29, 2015
Chris Delgado as Killian Cog

Chris Delgado as Killian Cog

What’s new with us, you ask? OK, maybe you didn’t, but this is fun.

“The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog” will be wowing the crowds of Newark, Ohio at the Midland Theatre on November 8th! We’re super excited, and taking this opportunity to add a few new things to make “Killian” better than ever.

Working With a Dramaturg

Dramaturg and all-around-awesome-person Lauren Feldman has jumped on board the Killian creative team! She is going through our script with a fine toothed comb, and helping us make sure our story is being vibrantly and carefully told. As you can imagine, it’s not easy to communicate theatrical nuances and stories without dialogue, but by golly – we’re doing it! Her beautiful articulation of ideas and talent for storytelling are really making “Killian” shine.

If you’re going to be in the area, don’t miss it! Tickets are selling quickly, so zip over and snag some for yourself and your family. Click here to run away with the circus for an afternoon!

New Music!

We’ve also been working with masterful composer Joshua Green, who’s creating some fresh tracks for the show. It’s a very cool thing to show someone an act, describe the feel you want, and then have it manifested in sound! We absolutely cannot wait to add the new music – it’s like Christmas came early.


Ever wondered what it’s like to run away with the circus? “Like” us on Facebook and get updates on where we are, what zany things we’re doing, and quirky peeks backstage!


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What is Bubble Performance?

Posted by: on September 23, 2015

What is Bubble Performance?backbend bubble edited

Bubble performers are just plain fun! From human snow-globes to luminous orbs floating in the pool, this act packs a lot of punch. The orb can be used indoors, outdoors, or in water, and can be filled with sparkling confetti, feathers, snow, glowing balls, or left plain.

What does Bubble Performance look like?

What does this act need to perform?

This act requires a smooth surface, completely free of anything that might burst the orb (gravel, sharp stones, etc.). The artist also requires a path at least 8 feet wide to the performance area (or a pipe and drape) with electricity nearby to inflate the orb. Email us at or call us at 212-252-3131 – we’re happy to answer your questions!


  • This act is 6 minutes long for stage shows, or can be performed in 15 minute ambient sets.
  • This act requires a surface free of sharp objects which could burst the orb.
  • This act requires a path of at least 8 feet to the performance area, and a performance area of 8-10 feet.
  • This act requires electricity to inflate the orb.
  • This act is appropriate for all audiences.
  • There are multiple costumes and orb “fillings” (snow, confetti, feathers, glowing balls, etc.).


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Hanging Out and (NOT) Bursting Bubbles in the Hamptons!

Posted by: on September 22, 2015

“You guys are always a delight to work with! Looking forward to another soon!” – Sasha

This weekend, ImaginAerial was deeeeeeelighted to jaunt off to the Hamptons to bring some sassy fabulousness to a “Gatsby” themed event! Featured acts included Aerial Champagne Pouring, and Bubble Dancer (floating in the pool, no less). A marvelous time was had by all!

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No Artistic Business Margin? No Business. Enjoy Starving.

Posted by: on September 9, 2015

Way back in Ye Days of Olde when Angela and I first teamed up, we did a lot of things very wrong; BUT, we did one thing very right: we established and upheld a business margin.

What the Heck is a Business Margin?

Let’s explain it this way. Pretend I’m a plumber. You call me and ask me if I can come and fix your toilet. Now, there are three costs that are actually in play here:

  1. The cost of my labor. This is what I personally am paid to come and plunge your potty. I use this money to pay rent, buy food, and the rest goes to hookers and blow. In short, this is my salary. Let’s say it’s $50 (though I personally would charge you a LOT more to come and fix your porcelain throne).
  2. The cost to run my business. We love to forget how much money it takes to make a business happen! Everything from equipment (toilet snakes) to website to gas in the truck. These costs are very real, and they add up fast!
  3. The cost to grow my business. Times change, and the needs of a market change with them. If plumber A has set aside $$ to grow his business, but Plumber B has only charged what he needed to get by (aka just his salary), Plumber A now has enough for new, modern, better equipment, and can quickly put Plumber B out of business.

Cost #2 (see what I did there?) and #3 are a business margin – a buffer you charge clients to cover your expenses, both presently and in the future.

The meme above is from the fabulously funny and talented David Engel, who has a phenomenal show called “Pirate School” (check it out!). He absolutely nailed it! The performance is just the tip of the ice burg – it costs money to produce artistic work!

But I Don’t Need One – I’m Not a Business

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (deep breath) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, my dear, you are. And until you start treating yourself like a business, well, enjoy that day job (unless you have a trust fund, in which case we should talk about investment opportunities…). When you buy equipment, web costs, costumes, insurance, makeup, rehearsal space, etc, those costs should be covered by your business margin. A healthy business margin is usually around 30%, but can be more. For example, if my salary is $50, I would charge the client $65; $50 goes to me, and $15 goes to the business. If my salary was $650, I would charge the client closer to $850.

I know, it doesn’t seem very “artistic”, does it? This is a tough thing to reconcile. What helps me, aside from my yearly reckoning with my accountant, is remembering that art has, at least in some respects, been a business for a loooooong time; for example, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and countless other artists worked on commissions – as in, they were paid to produce a particular work of art, often with significant input and stipulations from the patron.

You are not a bad person for wanting to make a living producing art. You are not greedy, unethical, or suspect for charging what you’re worth, and what it takes to run your business. You may be bad/greedy/unethical for a whole host of other reasons, but that ain’t one of ’em. Go forth and create wondrous things, and ask for enough so that you can KEEP ON creating wondrous things! Dare to imagine, Laura

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Filed Under: Working in Circus
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Put a Sock in It! When to Offer Input on Someone Else’s Work

Posted by: on September 2, 2015

Spanish Web

This is a really simple answer: NEVER.

Unless there is clear and immediate danger (think lava,sharks, or mono-filament & coat hanger rigging), your mouth should remain firmly and definitively closed.

Now, to be fair, I am the worst about this. I teach aerial silks, and spend a good part of my day barking corrections and shattering the dreams of unsuspecting students; it’s sheer torture to hold my tongue when I see poopy technique, snoozy transitions, or have a zillion and one (clearly genius) ideas about what should go where. But here’s why we should all just stick a sock in it:

  1. They may not be ready for feedback. The creative process is, indeed, a process; things evolve and change. We need LOTS of room to play, experiment, look eye-wateringly bad, and make mistakes. When you offer unsolicited feedback too early in the process, your seemingly innocent comment can shut that whole system down, and be truly detrimental to the work in it’s embryonic stages. Artists and entertainers need space to hear their own voices, not yours. Even if it’s a “have you thought about trying this” comment, hold your tongue.
  2. “It’s not your place, so shut your face.” We used to say this as kids, and it’s so true! Unless someone has specifically asked for feedback, it’s not your place to give it – even with the best of intentions. Whether you’re in a shared rehearsal space, class, or just walking by, unless they have solicited your opinion, shut your face.
  3. Are you just going to ignore this and give feedback anyway? At least give the person the opportunity to say no. Try something along the lines of, “Are you open to feedback right now in your process?” Then, listen to their response AND the vibe they give. Some folks are really, really nice (I wouldn’t know what that’s like), and may say yes when they really mean no. Try to be genuinely sensitive here.

Summing up, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Your mother was right after all. Dare to imagine, Laura

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Booked a Gig? Book the Day!

Posted by: on July 28, 2015

Michael is a consummate professional – we love working with him!

Question: When you book an event, how much of the day should you plan on giving to the show? How long should you expect to be there?

Answer: All day. All. Day.

Wait – Really? All DAY?!

Well, yes! I know it seems extreme if you haven’t worked a lot of events, but hear me out.

First and foremost, we are part of a larger “event machine”. The banquet manager, event planner, etc have to juggle catering, room set up, DJ or band, stage set up, flowers and decor, sound system, lighting, and about a thousand other things. Consequently, rigging and rehearsal doesn’t happen at our convenience! Let’s break this down so you can see how this might work:

“If cocktail hour starts at 6:00 with champagne aerialists, rigging needs to be completed no later than 4:00 so they can finish setting the tables. Rigging seems straightforward, but the decorator wants to swag fabrics from the center of the ceiling, and can’t do that until everything is up. Normally we would start rigging around 2:00 or 2:30, but we need to start earlier to accommodate the ceiling swag. OK – rigging at 1:00. The gig is in NJ, and we’re leaving from NYC. It’s a Saturday, so we can expect more traffic. On an easy day, it takes an hour and 15 to the venue, but we have to allow an extra hour in case of delays. Departure at 11:00. We want to do a quick spacing rehearsal for the ground acts, but the floor won’t be down until 3:00. At that point, the genie lift will be on the floor for the decorator to do the ceiling. Can we come earlier to rig? The decorator doesn’t need the floor down to use the genie lift, so we can rig, he can swag the ceiling, then the floor goes down, and we can see if the German wheel has enough space on the dance floor. Departure is now at 10:00 am.”

Do you see how that sometimes works? Good – it’s important to know that we are not trying to waste your time. You might ask why you’re even there early to begin with; I mean, after all – you’re just doing a hand balancing act at 9:00 pm! Believe me – we get it, sometimes we’re asking ourselves the same thing. The easiest answer boils down to two things: transportation, client. If we need to send everyone in the same van, ground acts are going to be there earlier and stay later to accommodate the aerialists. If this doesn’t work for you, another option is to plan your own transportation on your own dime. BUT, consider that this may be a client issue. Often, clients want everyone there early so they don’t have to worry, or they want everyone there for rehearsal, or they want a little sneak peek at what they’re getting. Remember – the client signs our paycheck, and in essence signs yours too. We advocate heavily for our artists, but if the client wants to see you, you’ll be there.


Are There Exceptions?

Of course! Here are a few:

  • You let us know when we booked you that you were only available after a certain time, or needed to leave at a certain time. Totally acceptable, as it places the onus on us as to whether or not to cast you knowing your time constraints.
  • You’re trying to squeeze something else into your day. It’s perfectly fine to ask for time parameters for an event – we’ll give them to you if we know them. That said, know that things change all the time in events, and you should be prepared to cancel whatever else you’re squishing in if something shifts.
  • If you’re doing someone a big favor. The bigger the favor, the more leeway you have.


Events are a weird kind of showbiz, and anyone who’s worked in showbiz for even a little while knows that it’s little things that separate the pros from the no’s. We hire the best of the best, and they consistently prove it to us by going above and beyond – doing whatever has to happen to make a gig shine. Committing to a full day of whatever is needed is a great way to get noticed – and hired – again and again. Special thanks to Chris Delgado and Michael Karas, who made us look goooooood this weekend in Atlanta! Best of the best. Dare to imagine, Laura


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