Archive for FAQS

Our Greatest Fear: Falling from the Sky

As aerialists, we know what we do is dangerous. That’s partly what people pay for. Driving, however, is also fairly dangerous. I remember whiteknuckling my first time out on the open road, harrowing for both my mother and I. However, after doing it regularly for a while, one gets comfortable (often too comfortable). The same thing happens with performing. Once you are strong enough to hang by one arm for a while and get yourself out of silk knots and the like, you start to feel pretty damn confident. While intellectually we know that the danger still exists, it just doesn’t feel super present after a while.

    Aerial work, statistically speaking, doesn’t have the same rate of injury as other common athletic activities. More gruesome injuries happen more often playing basketball or skiing than doing aerial work. It’s not like people are constantly falling out of the ceiling. That said, any professional who has done it long enough will probably have the scary big fall at some point. It’s awful and shocking. If it’s a rigging failure, you develop major trust issues. If you just screw something up yourself, it may be hard to get your confidence back.  What may be the worst scenario though is being dropped by a partner or dropping a partner. I’m not talking trying a new trick over mats. I mean in a real situation.

The total surprise. The stuff of nightmares. I know, because I missed a catch. The moment when another human slips through your fingers; a human whose life depends on you holding them, and they just slip away. That eternal time before they hit the floor and you grasp in the air powerlessly after them. That moment when you can do nothing. That moment where you actually contemplate leaping after them as if you could race them to the floor and catch them in time. That moment you realize you’ve let someone down in every way. That moment you really hurt someone badly or had the enormous potential to and you are responsible.

Winter Silks

Even silks on either side wouldn’t be enough.

Then comes the guilt. Why didn’t I..?! How could I let that happen?! If the person is angry at you, it’s almost easier. If they aren’t, you make up the mental beating yourself. Every situation is of course different. And complete freak accidents do happen. But I’ve also witnessed it happen in front of me. And it brought back all the awful memories, the visceral sensations of panic. The biggest problem is that we don’t quite believe it can happen to us. Until it does. And while it may not be entirely preventable, there are some factors to be on the lookout for.

1. Frenetic Energy: You are in a situation where there is a lot of rushing, there is a dress rehearsal and the tech is behind, but you want to run your act, but you didn’t get a chance to warm up properly etc. or maybe you were rushed to the venue from the airport. Or maybe it’s just how a producer always just whips everyone into a frenzy on a regular basis.

2. Distraction: Usually there is some external factor involved that is hard to push away. Maybe the space is weird or there is a bright light or smoke in your face. Maybe you are concerned about the rigging. Or it’s hot and you are sweating more than normal. Maybe suddenly a piece of chalk or dust gets in your eye. In my case, it was a guy shooting a camera right below us. It was clicking loudly and he was circling us and the noise and the close circling stole a piece of my focus.

3. Pressure: Often, you feel like you have to run the piece, even if you are feeling off. Either it’ll be the only chance before a show, or everything is behind and you have to get through stuff as fast as possible. Or a producer insists on seeing it. But usually, you feel like you have to do it and NOW.

4. Lack of communication: Perhaps your partner is in your hands, and you realize that you don’t quite have them, but the music is pumping too loud for them to hear you. Or perhaps you try to say something, but you can’t quite get out clearly or articulately what you need them to do in that moment. Or maybe it’s off but you don’t say anything, and you just think it will be fine, because up until this point, it always is.

Double Trapeze

Double Trapeze

I think the hardest thing to do is to take a moment mentally, before you go up in the air, always. Take a moment to focus on what matters: safety and connecting with each other. The performance or rehearsal is always secondary. And then we have to be brave enough to stop everything when our gut tells us “no, something isn’t right”. That can be hard to do especially when pressure has built up. I have had two times when my gut said “Come down NOW” in the middle of an actual show. And both times I did and both times, the rigging was in the middle of failing, because somebody else had to rig for me for a quick transition and didn’t pay enough attention and it was rigged improperly. I was very lucky. But I wasn’t brave enough that one time to stay “stop”, and Laura paid the price with fractured ankle.

   We always say safety matters and we might do all the necessary rigging checks and keep our equipment up to par, only use steel, check cue angles etc etc. But still, we may forget in the moment that we ourselves are indeed fallible too, and we need every part of us to be there in every moment. And isn’t that partly why we even do this in the first place?

We all as a community need to support each other when things get hectic to remind ourselves about what really is important. Safety first. Always.

Angela Attia

Dare to Imagine….

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.
T
www.FlyingStitchLabs.com

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

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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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Sparkly Banana Hammock??!!! When Show Costumes Do NOT Work for Your Act

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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Static Trapeze

March 24, 2014 Comments Off on Static Trapeze Aerial Acts, Corporate Events, Stage Shows, Theme Parties, Uncategorized

Rose Contortion trapWhat is Static Trapeze?

Static Trapeze is a dramatic aerial act performed on the static (non-swinging) trapeze. The artist executes breathtaking acrobatics and gorgeous poses while suspended high in the air. One, two, three, or four artists! This act does NOT swing.

 

What Does Static Trapeze Look Like?


 

What Does This Act Need to Perform?

Don’t worry – we have rigging options to suit nearly every venue! This act requires one or two close rigging points (exposed beam, sky hook, truss, theatrical grid, etc.), and a ceiling height of at least 14 feet. Trio or quad trapeze acts require truss or crane bars to ensure even spacing of ropes. Free-standing rigs are also available. Email us at us@imaginaerial.com or call us at 212-252-3131 – we’re happy to answer your questions!

FAQs

This act is 6-8 minutes long.

  • This act does not swing, but solos and duos can spin if done on a single point.
  • Solos and duos are perfect for performances with audience on all sides.
  • This act is available with one, two, three, or four artists.
  • This act requires at least 14 feet to be safely performed in its entirety.
  • This act is appropriate for all audiences.
  • There are multiple costumes and music choices for this act.
  • Floor must be completely clear (no tables,  chairs, sets, etc.) Performer must be at least 3 feet from the edge of a stage or platform.
  • Performers may not perform directly over audience members. All necessary precautions must be taken to prevent audience from walking underneath the aerialist.

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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.

1.DO THE SPLITS

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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Aerial wheel- The blast-off to “the Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog”

We are featuring a few of the fabulous parts of our new show, “The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog”.

In rehearsal

In rehearsal

 

The flying clock!

The flying clock!

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.

https://www.facebook.com/KSUPAC

The One Thing Every Aerialist Must Know

April 30, 2013 Comments Off on The One Thing Every Aerialist Must Know Safety, Uncategorized, Working in Circus

DRUMROLL……..Answer: Rigging (duh)

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 8.45.25 PMDo 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.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 8.44.44 PM

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.

Ideal set up for trussThe 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.

 

 

 

 

Champagne Aerialists/Aerial Bartenders

November 25, 2012 Comments Off on Champagne Aerialists/Aerial Bartenders Aerial Acts, Ambiance, FAQS, Uncategorized

Aerial-Bartending-SarahWhat are Champagne Aerialists or Aerial Bartenders?

These graceful performers pour flutes of champagne (or other light colored beverage of your choice) for your guests for a fun and unexpected welcome!

 

 

What Do Champagne Aerialists Look Like?


Aerial Bartender

What do Champagne Aerialists 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 10 feet. Free-standing rigs are also available. Email us at us@imaginaerial.com or call us at 212-252-3131 – we’re happy to answer your questions!

FAQs

  • This act is atmospheric. Artists can perform up to 5 fifteen-minute sets in a four hour period, and must have at least 15 minutes between sets.
  • This act is perfect for the cocktail hour or for welcoming guests!
  • This act requires at least 10 feet to be safely performed.
  • This act is appropriate for all audiences.
  • There are multiple costume and silk choices for this act.
  • Floor must be completely clear (no tables,  chairs, sets, etc.) Performer must be at least 3 feet from the edge of a stage or platform.
  • Performers may not perform directly over audience members. All necessary precautions must be taken to prevent audience from walking underneath the aerialist.

Contact ImaginAerial

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
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