Archive for General

Pro vs Hobbyist: Aerial Smackdown, Part 1

June 2, 2015 Comments Off on Pro vs Hobbyist: Aerial Smackdown, Part 1 Corporate Events, General, Working in Circus

should i donateTruth? I’m writing this, and then fleeing the country for German wheel world championships in Italy. See ya, suckas!

Actually, I started writing this all as one post, but it got tooooooooo looooooooooong. So, I’m carving it into 4 easily digestible parts! Stay tuned for 2-4.

What is the difference between a professional and a hobbyist? Recently, I posted this meme on the F-books (click it to make it bigger). Most responses were positive, but a couple brought up some commonly held (if not voiced) opinions:

  • the only difference between a pro & a hobbyist is that the professional accepts/demands payment
  • I shouldn’t have to turn down a performance just because someone else wants to make money at it
  • performers should focus on being better, thus edging out amateurs
  • me performing at events (charity and otherwise) for free does not “take away” a gig from a professional

Hear that sound? It’s the sound of a hundred professionals grinding their molars in frustration. Why? Because these questions so boldly illustrate the misunderstanding and lack of awareness surrounding our business, it’s enough to make a gal want to hang up her sequins for good.

This is a HUGE topic, so I’ve included several links to additional posts so as not to reinvent the wheel.

Is There Really a Difference Between a Professional & a Non-Professional?

Yes. Yes there is. First, I would like to direct you to this awesome blog post by Allison Williams, which is aimed at individuals interested in pursuing a professional career, who may or may not be ready to call themselves pros yet. This post details many aspects of the work that laypersons don’t consider.

Second, let me tell you The Tale of The Ceiling Fan in My Bedroom. A few years ago, the Mister and I decided to install a ceiling fan in our bedroom to combat the misery of NYC summers. We went to Home Depot, picked out the perfect fan, dragged it home and … wondered how the hell to install it. We considered calling in a professional electrician/handyman, but wait! The guy down the hall said he could – and would – install it for us! It would be a breeze!! WIN! He brought over all his tools, and hammered and sawed around in the bedroom for a while. Three hours later, he came out and proclaimed it done! “The plaster is a little bumpy, but I’ll be back in a few days with some more plaster to smooth it out.” Long story short, the plaster was A LOT BUMPY, looked awful, there’s a small hole in my ceiling, and he never did come back. We also can’t put the fan on the highest speed or I’m pretty sure it will just fly off the ceiling. Sigh – should have hired someone. See where I’m going with this?

Being a professional is more than just being good at something; it reflects a level of dedication, experience, and investment (emotionally, financially, physically), that the layperson simply does not have. It involves expertise – something Americans seem to pooh-pooh in our age of WebMD, Pinterest, and YouTube. Thing is, expertise is a real thing, and my expertise trumps your hobby. Every time.

Let’s have a look at a few of the myriad ways pros and hobbyists differ. In addition to Allison’s substantial list, hobbyists are:

  • unlikely to have invested sufficiently in equipment, costumes, rigging, rigging training, and insurance
  • more likely to leave questionable safety practices or situations unchallenged, often simply because they are unaware that there’s a problem
  • unlikely to have a well-informed understanding of the nuances of event work, and are thus less able to anticipate common missteps or snags
  • often invested heavily in their own experience, and less interested in maintaining professional standards and working conditions

On the artistic side, there’s this.

What is a Professional Gig?

For the purposes of this particular discussion, it’s any event for which the client wishes to hire a professional. Does the person who is asking you to perform know that you’re not a professional? You may not think they’ll care, but trust me – even when they’re asking you to “donate” your talent, they care. In fact, people tend to get reeeeeeeeally uncomfortable when they find that the person they want to have rigging and dangling from the venue’s (very expensive) ceiling isn’t a pro.

Prior to any sort of agreement, if you do not clearly convey to the client that you do not do this for a living, you are misleading them; as in, “I do want to make sure, before we move forward, that you understand that I am not a professional aerialist. I (insert qualifications here), but I do not make my living doing this.” Does saying that make you uncomfortable? You should ask yourself why.

Click here for Part 2! Dare to imagine, Laura

Enjoy this post? Like it, share it, and leave us a comment below!

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!

 

Enjoy this post? Like it, share it, and leave us a comment below!

 

Acrobatic Pole

December 3, 2013 Comments Off on Acrobatic Pole Corporate Events, Ground Acts, Hammock, Theme Parties, Uncategorized

 

WinterPole

 

What is Acrobatic Pole?

Acrobatic pole is a beautiful, free-flowing act performed on a custom-built apparatus that looks fantastic at any event. The artist flips, twirls, and spins while performing dazzling feats of strength and flexibility. This act is appropriate for ALL audiences.

 

 

 

What Does Acrobatic Pole Look Like?

 

FAQS

  • This act is approximately 6 minutes long.
  • This act requires at least 14 feet of ceiling height .
  • This act requires a performance space of at least 12 square feet.
  • This act is appropriate for all audiences.
  • There are multiple costumes and music choices for this act.

 

Contact ImaginAerial

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Hula Hoops

March 10, 2013 Comments Off on Hula Hoops General, Ground Acts, Uncategorized

hula hoops edit

 

What is a Hula Hoop act?

In a Hula Hoop act, the performer manipulates multiple hoops for a hypnotic, high energy act.

 

 

 

What does a Hula Hoop act look like? 


 

For additional images of this act, check out ImaginAerial’s Novelty & Costume Character Act page on Pinterest! Click the ImaginAerial button to view all our boards.

What does a Hula Hoop Artist need to perform?

Hula Hoops glow

This act requires a clean floor, stage, or pedestal of at least 15 x 15 feet.

FAQs

    • this act is appropriate for almost all audiences (the act requires small areas of bare skin on the legs and torso)
    • some performers bring their own pedestals, others perform on the floor, or on a small stage set up by the client
    • This act is 5-6 minutes long.
    • Depending on performer availability, glow (LED) hoops may be availalble.

 

Contact ImaginAerial

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contortion

September 3, 2012 Comments Off on Contortion FAQS, Ground Acts, Uncategorized

 

What is Contortion?

Amazing, that’s what! A contortionist bends and twists her body into seemingly impossible shapes. Graceful and elegant, these are among our most requested performers.

 

 

What does Contortion look like? 

For additional images of this act, check out ImaginAerial’s contortion page on Pinterest! Click the ImaginAerial button to view all our boards.

What does a contortionist need to perform?

This act requires a clean floor, stage, or pedestal of at least 10 x 10 feet.

FAQs

    • contortion can be performed as a 6 minute Cirque du Soleil-style act, or as walk-around atmosphere
    • this act is appropriate for all audiences
    • some performers bring their own pedestals, others perform on the floor, or on a small stage set up by the client
    • This act is 5-6 minutes long.
    • There are multiple costumes and music choices for this act.

 

Contact ImaginAerial

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
 

Handbalancing & Acro-Balance

September 3, 2012 Comments Off on Handbalancing & Acro-Balance FAQS, Ground Acts, Uncategorized
Duo Male Handbalancing

Duo Male Handbalancing

What are Hand Balancing and Acro-Balance?

Hand balancing, sometimes called a “statue act”, is a jaw-dropping exhibition of strength and equilibrium. As seen in Cirque-du Soleil, these artists execute flawless one-armed handstands, counter-balances, and gravity-defying moves. The perfect finale for any show or event – this is one of our most popular acts!

Acro-Balance, or Adagio, is an exquisite blend of strength, balance, and grace. These artists, usually a male/female  or female/female team, perform a stunning series of balances, contortions, and acrobatics. Perfect for walk-around performance.

 

What do Acro-Balance and Hand Balancing look like?

 

 

For more images of this act, check out our Hand Balancing and Acro-Balance Pinterest page! Click the ImaginAerial button to see all our boards.

What do these acts need to perform?

These acts require a clean floor, stage, or pedestal of at least 12 x 12 feet, and a ceiling height of at least 12 feet.

FAQs

  • what’s the difference? Hand balancing is performed as an 8-10 minute act, and acro-balance is better suited to intimate settings or walk-around performance.
  • Depending on artist availability at the time of booking, you may choose a male/male, male/female, or female/female duo
  • these acts require a clean floor, stage, or pedestal of at least 12 x 12 feet
  • This act requires at least 12-15 feet to be safely performed in its entirety
  • Appropriate for all audiences
  • There are multiple costumes and music choices for this act.
  • Floor must be completely clear (no tables,  chairs, sets, etc.)
  • The audience must maintain a safe distance of at least 6 feet from the performers.

 

Contact ImaginAerial

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
 

 

Juggling

August 27, 2012 Comments Off on Juggling General, Ground Acts, Uncategorized

What is Cirque-Style Juggling?

It’s not just balls anymore! Our talented artists can juggle anything from French bread to glowing orbs. From traditional to Cirque du Soleil-style to just plain wacky – you have to see it to believe it!

 

What does Cirque-Style Juggling look like? 

 

 

For more images of this act, please visit our Pinterest Juggling & Unicycle page! Click the ImaginAerial button to view all our boards.

What does a cirque-style juggler need to perform?

A ceiling height of 15+ feet is helpful, but not essential.

FAQs

  • this act is appropriate for all audiences
  • these artists can juggle almost anything – just ask!
  • a ceiling height of 15+ feet allows ample height for all a jugglers tricks, but acts can be modified for lower ceilings
  • no, this act is not cheesy. THIS juggling is fresh, creative, and fun!
  • there are endless music, costume, and theme variations for this act. (Note: one of our favorite artists just won big at the Apollo Theater in NYC with his famous hip-hop juggling act! How’s THAT for different?)

Contact ImaginAerial

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
 

Part 2: Background Ambience or Foreground Fabulous? Work It Cirque Style!

Last week we explored what situations are the best for using ambiance, and which are perfect for acts. Now we get tactical. You want to get the most possible bang for your buck, right? Remember that even the best French toast isn’t going to taste so awesome if it sits around. Gotta keep it constantly fresh! The context in which you place these acts will make a big difference in how they are perceived, and in getting the most out of the cirque-style awesomeness you’ve ordered up.

Making Ambience Amazing – Do It Up Right!

Timing is Everything

 

– Ambient performance works best as the majority of people are first walking into the party, usually during the cocktail hour. Just like the first taste of chocolate or sip of wine is what we savor the most, the first impression is what they will remember.

Ambient Slammock

This is how we hang out!

– Going with ambience all night? Most parties (aside from weddings) do not start on time.  Have the performers begin 30-60 minutes after the official start time. In the past, we’ve noodled around for 10 people for an hour – awkward (oh, so awkward) and more expensive. Save your moolah!

-Please – we beg you – do not have the performers on for the last part of the party! The energy of a party always changes as it goes on, and I can’t tell you how many times people insist they want performers on for the entire party, pay for five hours and then tell us not to bother for the last hour (if we had a dollar….). Being impressed for four hours straight is exhausting – give your peeps a break!

The Nitty-Gritty – Straight Talk About All Things Ambient

 

-The performers should not be doing the same thing non-stop, you gotta mix it up, yo! The audience will not want to see a unicyclist or a stilt walker circle the room 100 times. It will make them dizzy and just wonder if the performer simply can’t find the bathroom.

Juggling

photo: Andrew Brucker Juggling can be done anywhere

-If you know the party might be extremely crowded, someone needs to help the performers maintain some sort of space to do what they do. It’s very hard to balance on one arm if people keep spilling their drinks on you, or your toe keeps wandering into someone’s lasagna.

-Walk around performance does not work in very small spaces or with crowds of less than 100. With so much intimacy, the audience may be seeing many of the same tricks after a while (there’s that awkwardness again!).

-For goodness sake, do not place performers between the attendees and the buffet. It’s VERY dangerous. Laura once stuck her foot in someone’s bean dip.  It’s ugly (Laura here! It really was ugly!). When the food first comes out, give it focus.

 Get Your Act Together! How to Let Your Acts Take Center Stage

–  Have the act announced a few minutes ahead of time so people know something special is coming and will not step out to the bathroom and miss it (they will never let you forget it!).

Flying Silks, Only an Act!

Flying Silks can only an Act! Photo: Andrew Brucker

–  Schedule it once people have settled in a bit, either at the end of dinner before dessert or once everyone has a cocktail in hand.

– Make sure there is someone who can bring some lights onto the performer. There is nothing worse than an exciting act done in the dark or in all yellow (unless you’re going for the jaundiced look). We are happy to provide recommend a lighting designer and make these arrangements as well.

–  Make sure that everyone has good sightlines. We usually request a stage for contortion acts but sometimes we have been given a six inch riser and then people in the back end up hopping up and down.

–  Have a good person running sound. Nothing screams AMATEUR more than a DJ trying several songs waiting for the performer whose holding his/her opening position to yell “That’s it!” With today’s technology, there is no reason this embarrassment needs to happen. The DJ just has to be prepared.

 

Trio Triangle photo: Andrew Brucker, faster than the speed of light

Now let me subject you to my personal bias.  In my humble opinion, I feel that in general, acts make a much greater impact than ambiance. As stated in the previous article, there are good reasons as well as a time and a place for ambient entertainment.  That said, a spectacular trick or sequence can really make people’s faces light up. Those types of tricks are only going to happen when performers are doing an act, because when working for a long period of time, performers just can’t do their hardest/most spectacular work or they physically won’t make it through. A visual background wash can be really beautiful, but it doesn’t culminate in a breathless moment. Whatever direction you decide to go in, just make sure you think clearly about how it can really serve your message and your event.

Yes, I know – it’s a lot to take in! Don’t worry – this is just to give you a peek into the “why” of it all from a planner/performer perspective (try saying that 10x fast). Trust me – it’s not that complicated. Give us a ring, tell us what you’re envisioning, and we’ll take it from there. An informed consumer is our best client! And we love ya!

Sneak Peek….

September 29, 2011 Comments Off on Sneak Peek…. General, Ground Acts, Uncategorized

The fabulous photos are starting to roll in! Here’s a sneak peek at our epic event at Capitale in NYC this past week. Enjoy!

Makes you want to go stretch, doesn't it?

 
Image: Andrew Brucker,  http://andrewbruckerphotography.com/

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

September 26, 2011 Comments Off on Background Or Foreground? How To Decide Between Featured Acts Or Ambiance Ambiance, Corporate Events, FAQS, General, Uncategorized

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!