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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Comments

  1. It’s a good thing you’re an exceptional seamstress.