Here are some tips for becoming a circus performer.
Always before going on stage performers must clean their feet. An easier way is to wear slippers or clogs backstage and leave them out of audience view behind curtain or entrance to stage. you can also clean your feet with baby wipes before walking on.
Makeup: Never wear show makeup once the show is finished and you go outside. When I performed, we wore big glasses if we needed to go to the shops. This is about keeping the mystery of the artist to the audience.
Mehron make up is a preferred brand for most professional circus performers. Quality makeup is a must to ensure your face pops on stage and isn’t washed out by the stage lights
Boys need makeup too; oh yes, it’s true, boys in circus usually use foundation, blush eyeliner mascara. You don’t want to look like a girl, but with all of those lights, features get washed out, so just accentuate them gently.
Costume: Never let the audience see you in costume again after you have performed your act, unless you are on stage, or finale etc… This means; no sitting in the audience with costumes on, Outside in costumes or in lobby with costumes. If you would like to watch the show, make sure you wear civilian clothing, try to cover the fact you have a lot of makeup on, perhaps removing the big lashes is enough and lipstick, both are easy to put back on.
Black costumes are a big no no in circus, it’s something I even know and forget sometimes. There are many reasons behind this, a part from being bad luck to some circus owners, the biggest reason is that the curtains are usually dark blue, red or black, so you don’t see the artists movements properly. Try to pick colours that pop off dark backgrounds like blue, white, red, green etc.
Artists props are expensive, just because a contortionist and a foot juggler have tables for their acts, or hand balancer a may have balancing chairs, it doesn’t actually mean they are tables and chairs to sit on or eat off/place other items on. Peoples props are delicate, so it’s always good to make sure you never bump them or place things on them.
You should always wear
Danskin or Capezio
style fishnet tights. They are a small pattern fishnet stocking and it’s pretty much a must in circus, but many people don’t know, so it’s ok. Now you know
Underwear should never be seen, it should be black in colour unless it is a part of your costume.
Always have a return ticket home, if not a return ticket, then enough in a bank account you can access unless you need to, to get you home in an emergency.
Never take a “no” as enough to stop you following your dreams, you will get 99 “no’s” for every yes that you receive, perhaps even more, contracts will come and go, signed and fall through, so grow a thick skin and let it slide, take every criticism as a positive way to see what you can change, evolve and do better. If you can’t take somebody giving you negative criticism, you probably shouldn’t be in our industry, because even the top artists still get “no’s” all the time and have months when they cannot find work.
Try to never be a DIVA, it’s a very big problem with some of the top artists, they become difficult to work with, hard to place in a team and expect too much. Employers tend to grow tired of this.
Make sure you get some good agents representing you and always ask the agents their honest opinion of your acts and what they think you should change, this feedback is priceless, remember you will get lots of different feedback, it will be up to you, what you pick and choose to change in your act. Make sure you also represent yourself, don’t just sit at home and wait for things to fall in your lap, look in every corner for work, both local and international. Don’t just rely on your agents, but be sure to ask your agent who they are contacting on your behalf, so you don’t upset them by riding over their heads.
Industry: Remember that industries are very different and what they look for is also very different.
•Corporate may look for a slow ambient piece or themed piece to fit their event.
•Circus may look for an energetic and entertaining piece or sitting on edge of seat piece.
•Variete for an quirky and entertaining piece.
It also varies from circus to circus, so know your client before you apply for the job, what were their past shows like, what were their past acts like. If it’s where you want to be, create your act based on the styles that boss likes.
Invest money into your props, you will be paid more money for the more expensive that you act looks.
There is so much more to cover, but I really hope that all of you can take these factors into account. You will most likely learn from trial and error, that is the way I had to, because I had nobody to guide me and no proper coach to make sure I did things well, but at least of of you can learn from my mistakes and achievements, it will help you:)
Last but not least be your self. Don’t copy other people acts or ideas, be unique and you will succeed.
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