Archive for September, 2013

Aerial Silk Choreography- 10 simple tips that will make you shine

September 30, 2013 Comments Off on Aerial Silk Choreography- 10 simple tips that will make you shine Aerial Acts, Working in Circus

Like a little black dress, every aerialist has got to have a silk piece in his/her closet that will work for any occasion. What is the secret to creating a silk piece that makes people pause and look vs. post a selfie on the Fbooks? One could debate for hours about choreographic nuances, but there really are a few simple rules and tricks to follow that can make it easier to create a versatile piece that will work for all kinds of audiences and events.


The more splits the better!

The more splits the better!

Duh. Every routine for a commercial audience should include some kind of splits, and back bend if you have it. Everyone does it for a reason. Take the bait, it’s too easy. People never seem too tire of it.

2.Highlight what you are good at in particular.

If you have strong hands, just hanging for a moment by your hands can be exciting. If you have beautiful pointed feet make sure they get seen.

3. On the flip side, do not do what you aren’t good at.

Boys who can’t point.. please flex or keep those feet outta sight. I die a little inside every time I see bad boy point. You can still succeed without it, just don’t pretend it is there when it ain’t. And if you aren’t that strong yet, stay in one place on the silks. Don’t struggle or let them see you sweat.

4. Pause.

The biggest mistake I see is rushing from trick to trick trying to show everything in one’s repertoire at once. Breathe. When you do hit a big moment, count four one-thousands. I guarantee you think you are holding it longer than you actually are.

5. Make sure the piece has variety.

Drops should be broken up by holds. Move fast AND slow.

6. Along those lines, vary your rhythm.

Don’t do everything in threes. Don’t hit every accent in the music either. Use the music but go against the music sometimes.

7. Give the transitions as much thought as the tricks.

Remember the audience is watching you wrap yourself up, don’t pretend

Look how pretty that is!

Look how pretty that is!

that part doesn’t matter or is something to just get through to get to the next trick. Make it deliberate.

8. Vary your climbs too.

If you climb more than twice, make sure it is very different by the third time.

9. Open up the darn fabric.

It is a silk, not two ropes. Show it off. We know it isn’t hard, but it is very visually appealing. Trust me, the audience loves a little floofing.

 10. Now for some frank talk about sex.

See? Wholesome.

See? Wholesome.

Make sure you can perform your piece a variety of ways. If you are performing at Hedonism III (not that I know anyone who has done that) you don’t want to perform like a school marm. However, if you got kids in the audience, especially in the US, you will want to tone that sh** down. Way down.  Sometimes people think that conscious movement is always sensuous. Not necessarily. You can touch your silk consciously and with curiosity. Learn to tinkerbell it up. Practice performing the same piece differently.

*A side note on hair-ography. Do your piece with and without it. Learn to work it both ways. Hair down definitely falls into the vamp camp. So save that for the drunk lawyers, night clubs, and cabaret shows.

The biggest thing to remember is not to obsess about what tricks you do. For yourself, it might be fun to master new things or incorporate something different. Go for it. But the how is always more important than the what. Audiences honestly really can’t tell the difference between innovative vs. standard or hard vs. easy. All they see is you wrapping and unwrapping yourself in various ways. That’s it. What matters is the grace, presence, connection, and variety that comes through your movement.

That’s all. Piece of cake. Right.


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Light me Up Baby!

September 23, 2013 Comments Off on Light me Up Baby! Aerial Acts, Corporate Events, Costumes, New Offerings!, Theme Parties

Light-up costume  This Saturday ImaginAerial unveiled their latest and greatest! Introducing….The Light-Up Costume!! This was very exciting mainly in that we had no idea if it would actually hold up or not. It not only held up but brought down the house. Our performer even managed to make herself strobe mid-way through. Now that is talent, people. How many of you have self-strobed?!

Check it out!



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Stage presence, what is it and how do I acquire it?

September 15, 2013 Comments Off on Stage presence, what is it and how do I acquire it? Uncategorized

Stage presence is tricky. Like porn, it is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. It often seems like people are just born with it. One could watch someone with strong stage presence mend a sock and find it compelling. While that level of presence may be hard to find if you don’t have it already, the key to it is really in the name… Be present while on stage. Sounds simple, but it is way harder than it seems. The only way to develop it is to rehearse a lot like there is an audience watching you. It makes the biggest difference.  Then, there are some things you can practice to cultivate it and make your act one that people talk about and remember.

Know what you do…well.

This might seem obvious, but if you are trying to remember counts or moves or music, it is very hard to be present. Don’t go out underrehearsed. It is just that simple. Also, don’t do tricks you aren’t that good at or you are nervous about. If it isn’t 100 percent in your body, no one will be impressed, they will just pick up on your nervousness and distraction.

Real joy vs The slapped on smile

Smiles can be contagious. Everyone likes to be smiled at, except when the smile isn’t genuine. Then it is creepy.  You shouldn’t slap on the same exact smile the whole time you perform. You can smile a lot if the audience seems to call for it, but keep renewing that smile.  Find something in the moment to make you smile, a kid in the front row, the brownie you are going to have after, the fact that you just farted, anything to make it real.

Ta-da! vs A dramatic pause

Pauses are important. They give both you and the audience a moment to breathe. If you pause before exploding into some big or fast movement or after a big movement, it creates excitement. If you just stop arbitrarily and look out expectedly and wait for the audience to clap, it doesn’t really endear you to them. “Gimme”‘s just always seem like a desperate ploy of the mediocre. Really good performers will cause spontaneous applause, don’t beg for it.

Being vulnerable vs “Emoting”

Sometimes performers go for a more emotional piece and stay away from the smile altogether. This is a fine choice, but must be navigated even more carefully than the smile.  You have to show a part of the real you to the audience and know how to do that without making a face that makes you look like you are having bad cramps.  Be a master of subtlety as it is very easy to go right over the top.

Connect to your audience

The two biggest performing mistakes people make are either trying desperately to show the audience how great they are or going totally internal and not giving a crap about the audience being there.  Neither way acknowledges the humans who are taking time out of their busy lives to give you their undivided attention.  One thing that helps is to look out into the audience and see a real face, one you may not know, but for one half second, really see that person. Just do what you do without trying to overly impress anyone, but don’t pretend you are alone and invincible either.

Ignore screw-ups or roll with them

If something minor goes wrong (a silk gets wrapped funny or the music cuts out) either pause and move on to the next thing or make it into something by acknowledging it. Whatever you do, don’t get frantic. That isn’t safe or fun to watch.

Make transitions count

The difference between amateurs and professionals are always seen in the transitions. Beginners think an act is all about showing people your big tricks and professionals know that it is all about how you get from one trick to another. How are you grabbing the silk? How are you making the lyra spin? How are you climbing? Etc.

Final word on choosing no expression

There is a school of thought (based in post-modern dance) that is all about the blank face, just letting the choreography and movement do all the work. While this can be  a.) a great exercise for people who rely too much on their faces and b.) interesting for some experimental movement and if working solely with choreography, be very careful about where and how you choose to do this.  You have to be a real virtuoso to get away with it. If you aren’t technically better than most aerialists, it won’t be interesting.

Be aware that lay people don’t get it. Period. They have no idea if something is hard or easy or new. They are looking to your face to tell them a story.  If the performer looks blank, they get bored, no matter how good the performer is otherwise.  I know this because lay people constantly tell me that every time they see one of these types of performances.  They want to see a real human being putting herself and her passion on the line, not a highly trained technical machine who can churn out any movement.


Stage presence is hard to capture in a picture because it is something you feel. See below two veterans of circus. Notice how simple and yet compelling their solos are.





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Music that Makes You Wanna go Boom. What to perform your act to.

We get questions all the time about how to create a great act. One big question that keeps coming up is:  What music should I use?!

First, there are many things an aerialist needs to know other than how to invert with straight legs & pointed toes.  It is extremely helpful to learn some music software, or start making nice to someone that knows it. Often, a piece music is great, but not quite right in some capacity; it would be helpful to lengthen or shorten the track, add some accents, or make the ending smoother, etc, etc. You want to have these abilities at the ready.


Guidelines… Your music should have:

Variation: If your music is monotonous, it will be hard to rise above it and make your act interesting. Go for something that has some slow and fast in it. Ups and downs.

Dramatic ending: If it doesn’t have one, create one. A clear climactic ending almost always works better than a fade out.

Recognizable accents: Make sure you have places in the music where you know for sure what you are doing. Music always sounds super different on stage because speakers are different and adrenaline can cause you to hear things funny. If you are just counting, it’s easy to get lost. Also, sometimes a DJ will fade your music up accidentally, so you want to know exactly where you are through the opening several measures.

What type of music works best?

Know the crowd you are performing for. If it is a corporate event, often you will want to stick with cirque-style. If it is a hip downtown crowd, they might find cirque-style a bit hackneyed and dull.   Use something that inspires you emotionally and physically. If it makes you really want to move, your audience will feel that.

Be careful with music that is:

Too dramatic. No symphony orchestras or movie scores generally. Your movements (and YOU) will look small.

Too popular. There will be a lot of associations with stuff that everyone knows; you will need to either totally go against it or do something very different in some way. If you use “Wind Beneath my Wings, ” I will personally come find you and slap you silly.

Too fast. It can be tough to move quickly in the air –  you don’t want to look like you are madly trying to catch up.

Too slow. When an act starts too slow, it can get a little navel gaze-y. Remember this is not about you and your apparatus, there is an audience to connect to.

Too cheesy. I love to dance around to Rihanna. My iTunes collection has some embarrassing stuff in it, but unless you are going for irony, tread carefully. And whatever you do, do not mouth the words.

Too avant-garde. There are many ways to be edgy, but music that is atonal or screechy in any way will not endear you to your viewers.

Too blues-y. The blues are super awesome for aerial because these type songs can be slow and sensuous and fun to work to. Just be careful if there are other aerial acts performing, because so many people are going this route that you may end up being the 12th blues act in a show.

Important points to remember

Stick with a choice. Do not keep changing your mind trying to find the perfect piece. It ultimately won’t matter what you actually choose. It is more importent that you use it well. That brings us to the next point.

Know your music. If you do nothing else, make sure you know your music inside and out. Listen to it over and over so you can really pick up and go with the nuances. If your music is serving more as ambiance to your act, it just makes your act that much less engaging.  Be on the accents, not a half beat ahead or behind.

Best to get it composed. If you aren’t doing something for just a local show, or just exploring possibilities, it really is best to invest in a composed piece. If you don’t know any composers who you feel would make you something that you can use for circus then you can also buy a piece at a website like and then have that special someone (ideally yourself – don’t be in the middle of a fight and then ask your honey to spend several hours recutting something for you) make it the length you need. This will insure that you don’t have the same music as someone else in a show (happened to us) or problems with copyright (not an issue for free downtown type shows, but problematic for corporate events or casino/touring shows). Just make sure you change it up every once in a while. After five years, it can sound dated.

The main thing is to think of your music as a partner. You want it to support you but also challenge you. You want to know it very well. Don’t mimic it, but find a balance with it. Now that’s deep, yo.


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