Ok so "Perfection" doesn’t really exist, but let me share my tips on how to make your aerial shows APPEAR perfect.👌🏽
Want to perform like a Pro? Let’s start by thinking and acting like one.
So, how do you pull off a stellar aerial show, wow your audience, and not have a panic attack before, during and after each show.
I’ve spent the last 16 years getting paid to… ummm… do the splits... in the air, in sparkly costumes. For hundreds of thousands of people, in hundreds of different locations, throughout numerous countries and cities across the globe.
[No, but really... Got a great split? USE IT - it’s the one trick that never gets old! Sometimes frustratingly so, as the audience REALLY didn’t notice your super high level, perfectly executed, terrifying skill sequence… but that split. 😏]
Moving right along, I feel like I’ve seen, done and experienced A LOT of great and not so great show moments.
So, here my friends, are my top tips to pull off an astounding show, every time!
Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. True story!
Sure, I can perform a seemingly flawless routine with very little practise these days, and freestyle to a track whilst the audience think it’s a choreographed show (and no, I don’t actually do this, unless the client has specifically asked me to freestlye!)…
But there’s good reason for this. PRACTISE!
I’ve spent so many years perfecting my craft, and I continue to train it for hours upon hours every week.
Whether I have shows coming up, or not. I get in there and I get it done!
This means once I am out there, on stage, it’s almost as if I am running on autopilot - I just have to remember which routine I am performing!
I constantly urge my students to make use of Open Training time ALL the time, not just two weeks before your shows!
You simply can’t “cram” your aerial training like you may cram your study for uni/school exams… (I don’t even know if that works, ‘cause I was never big on study at all!).
But, I can tell you now, cramming your training last minute leads to catastrophe!
Your body simply does not work like that at all.
And more often than not it just leads to total exhaustion and sometimes fatigue induced injury, right before the big night!
So… prepare, practise, practise and then practise a little more.
Even if you don’t yet have your routine, your music, or even know what skills you want to use. Get in there and train your endurance, strength and flexibility, so when you DO have your routine together, you don’t have a heart attack the first time you attempt a full run through!
2. TRICKY DOESN’T ALWAYS EQUAL PRETTY (or necessary!)
Please don’t put that big, blood-curdling skill in, where you’re completely out of control and your facial expression says you think you may die.
The audience will be more terrified than you, and that’s NOT the kind of reaction you are aiming for!
When planning big skills (or any skills for that matter), my rule of thumb is if you nail it EVERY time in rehearsals, in a clean and controlled manner… It’s in!
If you found it on Instagram the week before the show, failed it often, fluked it once and put it in, you’re an ummmm… well, lets just say I really do not recommend this, and no student or performer under my guidance would ever be allowed to do this!
In a show situation I advise you work just below your skill level, and never above!
Yes, you can likely pull off a tonne of sensational skills in training.
But have you done them:
Sequentially with success?
Loaded with adrenalin and nerves?
In front of a packed out audience?
In a costume that may malfunction?
Perfectly timed to your chosen music?
Now I’m not saying don’t put ANY big skills in.
By all means, pick your favourite, most consistent few and train, train, TRAIN them… to make sure you can execute them to perfection on the night.
3. LESS IS SO MUCH MORE!
More often than not, when working with students, instructors and performers on their choreography, I tend to see the same thing when it comes to the amount of skills they have planned.
I would much rather see less tricks in total that are actually PERFORMED to your piece of music, as opposed to an entire syllabus of skills that you’re attempting to cram into a short track, consequently turning it into some sort of aerial cluster f**k of limbs, with a backing track!
So, maybe take the amount of tricks you’ve planned and halve it?!
Honestly, I know when you’re out there holding certain skills it feels like you’ve held it for a lifetime, and you just want to move on. But from an audience perspective, a lot of the time you’re just about to hit the sweet spot… and then you awkwardly jerk right out of that position and onto the next!
Film your training, and see for yourself. It really does help to go back and watch it and move forward from there.
4. BREATHE!… Please?!
Breathing is a necessity.
Yes, I know, it seems silly someone would need to remind you of this.
But have you done a run through of your routine and concentrated solely on spots where you can take a moment and actually breathe (besides the very start and the very end?!)?
Do it! It’s so important.
Because apparently the human body doesn’t really function so well under stress for 3+ minutes, without regular breathes - go figure?!
5. AUDIENCE CONNECTION
If you are shy, embarrassed, self confident or all of the above here’s what you need to do… Look IN BETWEEN two people and connect!
I mean, there’s a high likelihood that with stage lights on you won’t be able to see SH*T when you look into the audience anyway, which is even better… Just pretend to connect, with something… ANYTHING!
I don’t care if you’re looking at a wall, a bathroom door, or someones foot!
From way up there, you will LOOK like you’re connecting with your audience and it really does add so much more to your show.
I mean one time I had the privilege of my parents being able to watch a show (this hasn’t happened much in my career as I’m a corporate performer - so generally my shows are private, corporate events.)
I had a perfect breathing moment (in splits - of course!) and was turning right on cue, to face my dad.
I smiled and winked at him, before moving on.
Now, this was an awesome “audience connection” moment for me personally… Only it turns out that I connected so well, the guy in front of my dad thought I was winking at him and followed me through the crowd, back to our green room, and approached our security guards. Only for them to turn around and say “Sorry man, she was winking at her dad, and we can’t give you access to the artists, or share their contact details”. 😂
Being able to listen, understand and move to the phrases of your music is so vital in performing an amazing routine!
You need to understand how your moves and skills relate to the music, so you can choreograph a piece where you are visibly working and moving seamlessly with your track. Not just moving aimlessly, whilst a piece of music blares in the background.
Now not all of us are blessed with natural musicality.
Some people get it, some people don’t, and some spend years and years practising to find that connection (and some still can’t count to four, when learning someone else’s chorey 🙊).
If you are struggling, why not have some lessons with an instructor or choreographer that will help you choreograph and understand how and where your skills will fit within your performance.
It’s always worth seeing it through a professionals eyes and ears, if you’ve hit a plateau and in need of some guidance.
ENJOY THE MOMENT
This is your time to shine, your time to express yourself, celebrate your achievements and display what you’ve been working so hard on!
Get out there, have fun and give it your all.
That’s all from me for now Aerial Addicts,
P.S If you found these tips helpful, don’t forget to share them with your aerial/pole performance friends too!
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