We are featuring a few of the fabulous parts of our new show, “The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog”.
This week I’d like to introduce our watch spirits on Aerial Wheel! Our show is all steampunk-y, so of course, we have to start it off with a giant spinning, flying Wheel/Clock, just as it ends with a fabulous German Wheel act by Killian, played by Chris Delgado.
Just when Killian thinks his crazy-time-traveling-flying-clock creation is a bust, the thing comes to life (isn’t that ALWAYS the way it is?). AND it happens to come with three lovely watch spirits inside, Michelle Dortignac, Kristin Olness, and Hannah Risner. In addition to performing an incredible and dynamic aerial trio, these mechanized ladies show Killian how his time travel map works and what he needs to do to get to each place. They also hint to the audience what kind of ride this unsuspecting guy is in for.
They set the course. Killian then must decide exactly how far he will go. Below is a Facebook link to the Theater in Ohio.
Laura and I were cheering on Michael Karas at the Apollo when we saw something else magical…. the amazing Moses Harper, performing as Micheal Jackson. We immediately looked one another with the same thought (which happens after 10 years of sharing a trapeze bar). “We must have her in our show!” (The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog) So luckily Moses thought we were just wacky enough to make it worth her while.
More about our time travel show in the next few blogs, but we might as well get a little ahead of ourselves to keep with our theme. One of our favorite scenes comes after intermission when our poor Killian Cog winds up in the middle of a pop concert in the 1980′s. And of course, which concert would be most appropriate, but a concert with the King of Pop himself.
Sunday was our second rehearsal together and Moses taught the entire cast how to “Beat It.” We sweated, we groaned, but pretty soon she had everyone moving to the beat in sync. I was excited that hard core circus artists who spend this much time perfecting their skills in the air could cut loose like this. The good guys and bad guys (or in our case, the genuinely confused guys vs. MJ’s peeps) are going to have a dance-off, because that is the only civilized way to settle any score.
The one thing that is certain is that everyone is having a good time and it shows.
Below are some pics and a link to our lovely lady, Moses Harper. For more, check out www.mosesharper.com
The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog is well on its way to becoming a real show! Below is a bit more for you curiosity seekers.
“Killian Cog is a watchmaker who became so consumed by his work that he let love slip away from him. He is now determined to build a time traveling contraption to go back into his own past and change one pivotal moment, but he soon discovers time isn’t a straight line, and nothing (even time travel!) is ever as simple as it seems.
Through a “steampunk” lens, The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog takes the audience on a cirque style journey through time and space. The audience begins their “Intro to Time Travel” with Professor Jane Prime in Killian’s studio. A flying clock comes alive, carnies contort, and a drunk monk sees flying Angels instead of bats in his belfry. From an isolated colony in outer space to a post apocalyptic future, an 80′s rock concert to a pirate ship on the high seas, Killian travels the multiverse chasing his own tail. When Killian finally returns to his studio at that pivotal moment, nothing is exactly as it was.
The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog isn’t just a circus show with unique and exciting physical stunts. It is theatre for the whole family, sophisticated humor for the adults and otherworldly fantasy for the little ones. It tells the story of a man who goes on the type of journey we only dream about.”
Parts of the show will be previewed in NYC: SLAM, Williamsburg, Friday June 28 and Saturday June 29 at 8 pm
Full premiere Kent State Tuscawarus Theater, Ohio July 13 and 14
About Chris and his German Wheel!
Each week until the show we will let you know about some of the acts and how rehearsals are coming. This week’s blog features our lead, Killian Cog, played by the inimitable, Chris Delgado. Chris has been working closely with the creative team to create this show from the beginning, meeting with us week after week to write the script and figure out the tech. He has also been training all kinds of skills that he will be using throughout the show. So not only can he flip off a rolling wheel, but he can now fly through the air, moonwalk, and catch a pocket watch with
Below are some pics from the show. Chris is a patient soul who sits through fittings and photo shoots while we mutter
Every once in a while, we like to give you a little taste of some of the events we do. Recently, we spent an amazing evening in Texas pouring drinks upside down. Then we pulled out all the stops in a great performance! We had an amazing time as I think you can see from the pictures and video. Enjoy!
Check out the VIDEO!
DRUMROLL……..Answer: Rigging (duh)
Do not go on a professional gig without some basics. Do not rely on other people to know what they are doing. This is the single most important part of being an aerialist. Now, of course, it is all fine and good for me to sit here and wag a finger, but how do you know what you don’t know?
First, take a class if at all possible. It is worth going to another city to do so. Also join the aerial riggers yahoo group and listen to the conversation. Knowledge is power as they say. Find a rigger that is highly recommended and use that person whenever possible. The problems come when a job already has a technical person on it, but you have no idea what their experience actually is and you don’t get to meet them until the actual job. Whatever you do, unless you know for certain that good riggers know this person and recommend them, don’t just trust what they tell you. Double check everything.
What are the actual problems that you run into?
On several occasions, we thought we had made ourselves ultra clear about what we needed only to find something was missing or misunderstood.
We have been told a rigger has circus experience only to realize they still didn’t know what they are doing. It really helps to have someone you can call if you aren’t sure. Better safe than maimed. A scenario recently that we ran into… We arrived at a gig, were told that the rigger had circus experience and from far away it looked like a straightforward square box truss. Upon closer examination, it appeared what was holding the top section of truss on each leg was some wrapped chain (not secured) and a two by four. First, we made them remove the chain and use truck straps and secured them ourselves with moused shackles. Then for extra security, we had them remove the two by four and put in steel pipes that were thick and had some lip on either end. All this I ran past our amazing rigger friend who okayed it.
The client doesn’t often know about these things so they may not know who to hire to do it or there may only be one person available locally who does everything. So again it is super important to ask what each part of your rig is rated for separately. Do not be afraid to rock the boat. It is hard to do, but you will feel better and ultimately it serves everyone when you stay safe.
What are Aerial Silks?
As seen in Cirque du Soleil, the artist performs stunning flips, drops, and contortions on two long strands of fabric. Beautiful and elegant, this is our most requested act, and it’s versatility makes it perfect for nearly every event.
What do Aerial Silks 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 15 feet (for ceilings under 15 feet, please see “Slammock/Hammock“). Free-standing rigs are also available. Email us at email@example.com or call us at 212-252-3131 – we’re happy to answer your questions!
- This act is 6-8 minutes long.
- This act does not swing.
- This act requires at least 15 feet to be safely performed in its entirety.
- This act is appropriate for all audiences.
- There are multiple costumes, music choices, and silk colors for this act.
For booking information, please email us at us@imaginAerial.com or give us a ring at 212-252-3131!
It is hard to make an income that would allow you to live in an apartment without ten other people and not eat a bagel-only diet
The industry is very up and down
Decide what you really love about performing
Finally, Get a damn hobby!
Believe it or not, getting paid to do what you love does have a downside. The activity that once made you dance around the park in
sparkles, will now sometimes feel like doing dishes. This doesn’t mean circus will suddenly turn into a complete drag, but it won’t always give you the innocent high it once did. If you are making your passion your career, then it is important to now find something else to do just for fun. So take up something that doesn’t matter so much, that you can learn without pressure and enjoy just for enjoyment’s sake….Until, of course, it takes over your life.
I noticed a kid next to me in Kindergarten copying the drawing I was making. The solution was simple then. I just took his crayons. I told him if he cried or told the teacher, I would tell her he was a big copycat. Then I think he hit me in the head with his sandwich.
But, have you ever watched a performance or a video and thought, “Hey, that looks awfully familiar!” It’s annoying at best and makes you want to chew through someone’s trapeze rope at worst.
The problem is that it can either be unconscious or conscious. Unconscious copying is probably the least insidious and comes purely out of ignorance. For example, I was shown a certain transition out of a move by a colleague for a piece that we were doing together. I thought it was a smoother way to get out of the move than the way I had known, so I started to use it in general. I thought she had just been showing me something that was common knowledge, and obviously I don’t know every single new trick that is part of this rapidly expanding art form. It turns out she felt like I had stolen what was hers even though she hadn’t told me it was hers. I felt badly about it. It was a misunderstanding that we easily worked out, but shit happens. People new to the business, are the ones that most often don’t know when something is proprietary and when it isn’t.
Conscious copying is probably what gets most people the most righteously outraged. Some in our company have experienced egregious examples. We showed one new piece of work to the public only to have absolutely every part of it copied to the letter by someone else two weeks after we showed it. To her credit, she worked fast. However, it didn’t go anywhere. Another colleague of ours actually noticed someone coming to her rehearsals and videotaping without asking. And it wasn’t just a nice stalker.
When to let that crap go..
To some degree you can’t avoid the risk of being copied. If you are a professional, you will perform publicly. And you don’t want to be paranoid or start falsely accusing. Sometimes people do just come up with the same thing at the same time. The more people are trying to expand their vocabulary on silks (for example), the more likely it is that someone will come up with the same sequence you did. You can’t assume that you are the only one to ever have thought of a certain move. If you feel like you have evidence to prove plagiarism, maybe confront them or at least hint to them that you noticed, if not, let it go.
The same idea goes with a type of apparatus. As annoying as it is to work on a square and have someone else suddenly have ordered the same thing, if they are doing something different than you are on it, don’t worry about it. There are thousands of people using the same apparatus (lyra, trapeze etc) and those pieces all look different. The circus world is probably big enough for two people to perform in giant dream catchers.
What is most definitely not okay is copying a sequence of choreography or the whole concept of a piece or show. If you get caught, people can start to see you as untrustworthy and in this business, reputation gets around quickly. As a modern dancer, I once witnessed a show in which a choreographer took an entire section Pina Bausch’s “Cafe Mueller.” It was shocking not only ethically, but also in the fact that she thought an entire educated dance crowd would seriously not know one of the most evocative bits of choreography in dance history. But because she wasn’t Pina, it didn’t make a difference in the long run.
So how do I protect myself from these unoriginal numbskulls?
If you are showing something to someone else and you don’t want them to share it, tell them. Most people will respect a clear directive. If a trick feels precious to you, don’t teach it in a class or share it on YouTube. It’s like leaving furniture out on the streets of NYC. People are just going to assume it’s out there for the taking.
But then how do I get my work out there on the interwebs for agents and producers to find without risking it being stolen? Don’t show your transitions, just the big tricks, and definitely don’t show your piece from start to finish. Nobody got time for that, anyway.
Is it ever okay to copy? How can I get away with it?
Best way to know is to ask the creator if you can use an idea or move. If you are pretty sure they’ll say no, then DON’T DO IT. I’ll be honest here. I look on YouTube for inspiration as I think do many people. However, usually whatever I find, I end up morphing so much that the original choreographer probably couldn’t tell it was theirs to begin with. I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking to other artists for inspiration. You will know if you are crossing bounds though if you imagine that person in your audience and you know they would recognize what they saw and be really upset. It takes a ton of time and hard work to come up with something truly original. It’s worth doing because the feeling of success will feel deserved and not just superficial.
If you do find your stuff hijacked, take heart.
At the end of the day, you have more creativity in you than the copycat does. The sad part for them is that they clearly don’t believe they have anything original to offer, even though we all do. It just takes some serious work.
Another thing to keep in mind is that cool new moves are really only for yourself and other circus artists. Your general audience does not give a crap nor can even recognize differences between acts. It’s about your performance. Below is one video I love to watch for inspiration. Shana Carroll’s piece isn’t particularly virtuosic nor is there anything in there that we don’t know. And yet her piece is totally original and totally her. Nobody else can really do what she does.
Have you dealt with plagarism – intended or unintended? Share your experiences in the comments below!
What is ImaginAerial up to these days?
I’m glad you asked! (I love conversations where I get to play both parts). We have been busy creating a show called The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog since the summer. We will be showing a sneak preview of parts of the show at SLAM in New York City June 28, 29th, 2013. After that, we will premiering the full show at Kent State in Ohio July 13, 14. More about the actual show in follow-up blogs. Let’s cut straight to the interesting stuff, which is the behind-the-scenes insight, right?
How does one start this daunting process? First, you have to find a venue that is excited about showing a completely unseen, untested piece of theater to their faithful subscribers. Luckily, the personal connections we have at Kent State in Ohio have just enough tenuous faith in our actual experience (and truly this ain’t our first rodeo) to help us make this happen.
So, for the last few months Laura, I, and Chris Delgado who is our main character, Killian, have been busy meeting in cafes, at our houses, and rehearsal spaces to create this monster of a show. This show is quite different from our last show, Luminarium, because it isn’t a plug and play but has a real story to it. It also does not feature a cirque style aesthetic, but a steampunk aesthetic.
As with anything you actually try to create, many things that have sounded good on paper are quite funny when we try to work them out in the real world. Laura recently decided one of our clock spirits really needed a pink bustle. A pink bustle can really look like a pink bubble sitting on one’s butt. Needless to say, she’s redone that costume four times now.
I also had worked out the perfect physical transition to fly Killian in a harness while scenes changed, only to realize he was going to end up facing down instead of up hanging by his waist, like a wet washcloth flying around the space. That doesn’t create the excitement we were hoping for. Many bits we think are going to be totally hilarious end up a little cringe-worthy when we actually say them out loud, or do them physically.
So it is always back to the drawing board, but every week we get a little closer, and we learn a little more. So bit by bit we plug away. More soon!!
What is a Hula Hoop act?
In a Hula Hoop act, the performer manipulates multiple hoops for a hypnotic, high energy act.
What does a Hula Hoop act look like? Click on the arrow below to start the video.
** Our ImaginAerial hula hoop video is getting a make-over! In the meantime, here’s a great example of this kind of act!
For additional images of this act, check out ImaginAerial’s Novelty & Costume Character Act page on Pinterest! Click the ImaginAerial button to view all our boards.
What does a Hula Hoop Artist need to perform?
This act requires a clean floor, stage, or pedestal of at least 15 x 15 feet.
- this act is appropriate for almost all audiences (the act requires small areas of bare skin on the legs and torso)
- some performers bring their own pedestals, others perform on the floor, or on a small stage set up by the client
- This act is 5-6 minutes long.
- Depending on performer availability, glow (LED) hoops may be availalble.
For booking info for this and other awesome acts, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-252-3131.