Background Or Foreground? How To Decide Between Featured Acts Or Ambiance

Posted by: on September 26, 2011

You see your event in your head. As you imagine it, your attendees enter your event space and people are flying from beam to beam in swaths of fabric, doing back flips over the bar, and juggling bread sticks. The partygoers get sucked into this crazy world that you have created and no one wants to leave. Everyone has scrapes under their chins from when their jaws hit the floor and consider it the party of the year.

Great. Bandaids are on order. Now what?

Visualization is the fun part of planning, but we have to realize that what we see in our head is a montage of highlights.  Our imaginations conveniently edit out the stuff in between. We want to make sure that the audience sees what you envision and not the ramping up and down. How you create the “wow” is going to depend on your particular party.

The biggest decision to be made (aside from what shoes you are going to wear) is whether you want ambiance or individual acts. Ambiance consists of walk around acts and people dangling in space. With ambiance, the DJ continues to play his music and all the choreography is improvised on the spot. With individual acts, each act is specifically choreographed to music and everyone stops what they are doing to watch the act. Both types of entertainment have their plusses and minuses. You just have to look at the realities of both and really figure out which one will work for your event.

When Ambiance/Walk-around is best:

-When your event attendees are mostly just walking through a space, not hanging out in one place, or when there is no peak time of an event (i.e. trade show that goes all day or at the entrance to a huge event)

-When there are several things going on simultaneously and you don’t want any one part to take the focus (when there are other engrossing activities to engage in like getting fake tattoos)

Cocktail Party Ambiance

-When a space has several different rooms to walk through with different themes and no one is going to congregate in one place for very long (in a museum)

-When you want no interruption of the music or mood in any way (a trance marathon)

When Acts are best:

-When you are looking to make a dramatic statement (acts can be used and choreographed to sell or say anything)

-When you want people to remember one unforgettable moment

-When you have a chance to grab everyone’s attention  (and the award goes to…)

Irina Hula Hoop

Irina doing her Hula Hoop Act

-When everyone is congregated in one place or sitting down at some point (during dessert or waiting for a speech to start)

-When you want to build to a dramatic entrance, make a big introduction, or kick off something (at the end of one twenty minute non-stop performance extravanganza, drop a curtain in front of a new shiny plane and reveal new branding)


Now you know whether to choose ambiance or an act for your event. Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion to this article. How to keep the ambiance in the background or really bring the acts to the foreground: the secrets to making your choice WORK!


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