Archive for May, 2015

Dyeing Aerial Fabric – the Fabulous T Lawrence-Simon Guest Blogs!

May 26, 2015 Comments Off on Dyeing Aerial Fabric – the Fabulous T Lawrence-Simon Guest Blogs! FAQS, Uncategorized

T Lawrence-SimoneIf you don’t know T Lawrence-Simon, I’m very sad for you. In addition to his aerial and coaching awesomeness, he is a GENIUS with a sewing machine. Here is a recent post he put up on the F-books, which he has generously agreed to allow me to use as a guest blog. Thank you, T!!!!

“How Do You Dye Aerial Fabrics?”

T: I get asked this a lot. When dyeing aerial fabrics, start with “What is my fabric made of?”…most likely nylon or polyester (I am not familiar with other fabrics if used, but keep reading anyway). There are many types of dye out there because different fibers need different processes and chemicals to accept pigment into/onto the fiber. This is where your average neighborhood grocery/pharmacy store screws you over…if they carry any dye at all, they’ll have RIT dye.

RIT dye is the Voldemort of dyes. The dye that must not be used…

Here’s why.
RIT Dye is what is known as a union dye. It is meant to “dye” any fabric you throw it on. The way this works is that the dye product contains a little bit of as many types of dye as they can. If you throw cotton in, the cellulose fiber dye will kick in and do the trick, if you throw silk in, the protein fiber dye will kick in…etc. Raise your hand if you’ve thrown an entire bottle of RIT in the washing machine with an aerial fabric, and out comes a fabric WAY more subdued in color than the bottle seemed to advertise. This is because, while the amount of liquid in the dye bottle seems to be nice and opaque and saturated in color, you’re only gonna get a reaction from SOME of that, but the amount of water stays the same…dilution=less saturated color=sad aerial fabric.
Let’s put it this way, I have a dance company, I have 100 people in this dance company. In my company, 25 of them are trained in tap, 25 others are trained in hip hop, 25 others are trained in ballroom, and 25 others are trained in ballet. This event hires my company to perform because they see my website with 100 people and they’re like “wow, that many dancers will really spice up my event”…they ask us to present a tap number…sadly only 25 dancers show up to perform at the event… womp womp.
That, my friends, is RIT dye.

  • If you are trying to dye cotton spandex for a costume, cotton is a cellulose fiber, use cellulose dye (hint, you can’t really DYE spandex itself, so just focus on the blend fibers).
  • If you are trying to dye nylon spandex fabric for a costume, or nylon fabric for aerial silks, you’ll want a “protein dye”/acid dye (nylon reacts in the same category as silk and animal fibers).
  • If you are trying to dye a polyester aerial fabric, (tricky but doable) you must use a special dye JUST for polyester (it really is a b*tch).

Also, note, each of these dye processes needs other things to work, so make sure you bone up on the process (or hire a fiber artist with experience if you want a top notch job – ya know, so you can call it hand dyed because it is pretty and not as a euphemism for patchy). Also, some of these dye processes involve not-so-healthy chemicals, so don’t dye in enclosed spaces if possible, or at least open doors/windows, fans…etc, also keep the wee ones away, babies don’t need that in their lives.
Over and out.

If you haven’t visited T’s website, get on over there! And if you haven’t taken a class or workshop with him, keep your eyes peeled for the next time he’s in your town – he is utterly fabulous in every way. Dare to imagine, Laura

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.


What Every Performer Should Know About Ambient Work


Nico Maffey is always phenomenal!

Some call it atmospheric, some call it walk-around, some call it ambient. Whatever you call it, if you’re a circus performer, you’re going to be asked to do it – a lot! Clients are often conditioned to think more is better (“15 minutes versus 6? Give me the 15!!!!”), and some events just don’t support a surprise lyra act. So, what should you keep in mind when booking and performing atmospheric work? A lot, it turns out.

What We Wish You Knew

  1. It’s ambient, not main stage. Think slower movements, atmosphere, blending seamlessly into the theme of a room. When four artists are doing ambient and one is hurling herself around as if there was a Cirque du Soleil talent scout in the room, the dynamic gets disrupted and things look… weird. Slow your roll, Sparkle Panties. Be awesome, but blend blend blend. There’s a time to bust a move, this isn’t it.
  2. Respect traditional set times. Every event has it’s own flow, so I’m speaking generally and not as a hard and fast rule. BUT. Traditional lengths for ambient sets run from 10 minutes (strength-intensive acts like hand balancing) to 20 minutes (less-intense like hammock), with an equal amount of rest in between each set. Each artist usually completes 4-6 sets depending on the time frame. You also need to factor in whether you will be confined to one area such as a stage, or whether you’ll be walking around the event space. It makes me insane when I’m contacted by a client, and someone has promised that one artist will do 45 straight minutes of silks; this tells me they’re dealing with a company who a) has an over-eager aerialist who likely has never completed 45 minutes of straight silks and has no idea what she’s promising and b) a company who hasn’t done their homework on industry standards. No bueno.
  3. You’re always on stage. Always. When you are doing a set, I do not want to see you stretching, warming up, picking a wedgie, chatting, etc. You are always doing one of three things: a fabulous move, locomoting from place to place, or “noodling” (non-intense transitional movement). If you wouldn’t do it on a stage in front of the President, the Queen, and Simon Cowel, don’t do it in an ambient set.
  4. Have your ambient sets “choreographed”. Well, not exactly, but kind of. You want to have at least five sequences appropriate for ambient work in your back pocket to avoid too much noodling. For example, when Chris and I do partner acro, we have four sequences of about 8 moves that flow nicely, and allow for natural breaks. It’s amazing how all your creativity deserts you by set number 3…. plan ahead.
  5. Work on your personality. Ambient work, aerial bartending in particular, often requires interaction with the guests (welcoming them, BS, patter, etc). Are you a wallflower? Nervous talking to people you don’t know? TOO BAD. Make sure you know what “personality” your host wants for this event. Mysterious and silent? Welcoming and fabulous? Ask if you’re not sure.


When polled, most artists will tell you they’d much rather do an act than an evening of ambient. Why? Ambient work is challenging – physically, mentally (it can be mind-numbingly boring), and the glamour wears off quickly.

What do you wish artists knew about ambient work? Write it in the comments below! Dare to imagine, Laura

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ImaginAerial Serves Some (Upside Down) WOW at the University of Pennsylvania!

May 13, 2015 Comments Off on ImaginAerial Serves Some (Upside Down) WOW at the University of Pennsylvania! Aerial Acts, Corporate Events, Ground Acts, Photos and Video

ImaginAerial had the pleasure of providing the cirque-style wow factor at the University of Pennsylvania last week – check out some of the early pics! Champagne aerialists, hand-balancing magic, and one helluva silk act. BOOM!


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