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Posted:How do you put skills together? What is the "long line" of your show like? Do you use characters, themes, stories? When you're not doing freestyle, how do you create a performance? Thanks, Diana

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Jesse


member
Location: Pittsburgh, PA/ USA

Total posts: 118
Posted:I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to employ the somewhat *boring* and systematic method we used to choreograph new dances for the ballet. First you pick a suitable song to perform to. If you aren't performing to a song, though, the rest of my instructions should just be thrown out the window.Next, you "map" out the music by counting out the number of measures you have and in which measures "highlights" or points of "punctuation" occur. Then you choose the "flashy" moves that would best join with those "punctuations" in the song.And last you fill in all the spaces in between with suitable transitions. After that's all done I usually look at the overall product and the tone I get from that product. Then I go about the "fun" details like costuming, etc. It certainly isn't glamorous, unfortunatly. It usually requires a bit of discipline on my part to actually sit down and do that "mapping" bit I described. But it usually delivers a quite solid end product, that looks quite a bit more polished than my admittedly preferred freestyling...

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Pele is definately a character (can't you tell?
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). Our shows are based alot on visualization and audience interaction.For Ren Faires we take the personalities of our characters (flightly, fun and competitive gypsies) and try to figure out thier character needs. Competition for money and food. Based on that we developed our two shows. The fire eating show is completely dedicated to various forms of the fire eating art and the bits in it are a comedic mix that fulfills the character need of food utilising fire eating skills and audience participation (someone lighting a cigarette off my tongue for example).The swinging show has turned into a comedic bet of sort between our characters. The audience sets the pace for us by clapping, which makes each show a different challenge. We picked moves that flow easily into one another that can be done to any rhythm the audience chooses and can be altered as the audiences changes rhythm (since a group of people is incapable of creating and holding a steady beat for more than two seconds...really). In the meantime we use the two at a time moves to step in on each others swinging and allow the other a break...ex...while I am talking Prom comes up to spin his staff around my front from behind my back. "Irritated" I take it from him. He throws his temper tantrum while I do a set twirl routine and then I toss it back to shut him up. We do several of these exchanges while playing up to the audience. The entire show has an outline, the swinging, the eating, the premise that we are going into it with but what we say is completely improv, which is why we get people who will come to every show we do...there's always something different. If we mess up we acknowledge it, laugh it off some witty way (blaming the other of course) and continue on.For the night goth shows we first decide on the feel of it...violent, seductive, hard, soft, etc and choose music accordingly. We then practise to that music until we can feel it in our sleep. Then we choreograph much the way Jesse diagramed. Our costumes are built around the show we are doing...Ren, Pirate, Goth etc. I do alot of ground rolling and such so I look at versitility, flamability and overall appearance to the setting. With the goth shows once we get the choreography down then we add in what we call our accoutrements...lighting, smoke, bubbles. I do a floor fan dance to Type O Neg's "Cinnamon Girl" for instance that is alot of flame to body transfer and swing release and such as well as torch licking. Sexy, sultry and naughty all at once. I wear a little black leather thing, florescent body paint, white/silver contrast make up and use a smoke machine and a black light for the effects. It's the overall effect of what you are doing from the audience perspective more than just skills. The more complete the package, the greater the applause and the more likely you are to be rehired.Using this "recipe" we have been able to create several 30 minute + shows over time.Also, we have different routines and looks for different events. We are doing a 4th of July thing to kick off the fireworks, and we have to do it to top 40...rules of the town. In keeping with that we have to adjust our costumes and night routines to be more family friendly (as Ren routines wouldn't work). It's important to know what venues you intend to target and then be flexible within that range. You never know what people will request or ask to tone up or down! At least these are my findings within my area of the country (No competition here) and the unique venues I have the pleasure of frequenting.If I didn't explain anything clearly, or you have any questions...you know where to find me!Best of Luck...keep us posted on how you're doing.
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Heph
GOLD Member since Dec 2000

Heph

member
Location: Chicago, IL

Total posts: 79
Posted:You guys continually surprise me with your creativity and performing ideas. maybe im just new to this, but after reading your descriptions, im almost embarrassed to get out there and just swing to music, using the transitions and pace changes in the music to alter moves and speed w/ the poi. i was wondering though....how do most poi-ers finish their routine? when the music ends? when the poi burn out? do you often use a particular move to finish with(presumably a pretty climactic one)? and di--i think i remember you mentioning that you use 6-8 feet of wick per poi...the more i think about that, the more crazy it sounds....are your wicks super fat or what? i'm thinking my last set was maybe two or three feet long wick on each poi, at the most.....any thoughts on this?-heph

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Simos


enthusiast
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:i am replying reluctantly to this topic as i have very limited experience as far as performing is concerned - but since Hephaestos asked how people finish their performances i'll add my bit for any glowstick swingers out there - this will NOT work with fire poi! It's a really simple trick which needs a bit of practising though - when you are getting at the end of the song you start swinging at your sides in reverse - the music starts fading and you let the string wrap around your palm; if the length of the string is right after a few circles both (or all 4 of them
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) glowsticks will end up in your hands; your friend doing the music stops the music completely at this point - it's not a spectacular move (altough it looks good) but it's good to end with since it gives a definite end to your performance; people will know that u finished and hopefully start clapping, at which point you will be able to bow (!!!) to your audience if you are holding the glowsticks - i know this is not a problem with fire since i guess when the fire goes off people know you've finished but glowsticks will never stop glowing in such a short time and if you just stop swinging them and let them hang on your sides people start wondering if you have finished or just screwed up? i know it's not something great but it's a neat way to stop swinging for whatever reason ( e.g. noticing a gorgeous babe in the audience and a guy next to her trying to make a move
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) and make it seem as if it was planned - another idea i guess would be to throw the glowsticks high up in the air and catch them... (make sure you are confident about your abilities to catch them though
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)happy swinging,Simos[This message has been edited by Simos (edited 24 January 2001).]


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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Hey Simos, I hate to disappoint you but the catch ending is actually do-able by fire poi people on two accounts...one, if the poi have burnt down well enough a hard swing while the wrap ensues puts them out enough to be caught or two, if the poi-er is wearing leather gloves. I do this move after I cross the flaming poi in front of me to create a blow sometimes in my choreographed (non-faire) routines.Hephaestos...I end the poi routines by doing a roll usually following the blow. This is what I do. I work my way through the routine then say "Wait, wait" and some other comedic type comments as I overexaggerate being out of breath and I take a drink (of fuel, but the audience doen't know this)we also use this time to smother, dunk and reignite the poi (or just switch sets all together)...Prom then ensues the clapping which is when I continue swinging, holding the fuel between my tongue and my teeth, breathing through my nose. Crowd clapping always speeds up so when it gets to the point where either the poi or I can't handle it (usually me) I do a fire blow through the poi, ducking "under" it into a roll and then end by doing a wrap (as Simos said) or by "tossing" them to Prom who catches them in the damp towel. It's really very cool, well, at least I think so
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. Then again, I think my show is cool
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!Great questions tho Heph and Di. Can't wait to read more answers...and thanks for the compliment Heph. I appreciate it!
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Later!------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Sacha


member
Location: Key West, Florida, USA

Total posts: 15
Posted:Wow...Pele, your show sounds amazing!!I'm blown away by your descriptions!! As for something I can add...I think that playing with partners is very entertaining, I'm not the best choriographer, but there are simple moves that if you practice playing close to each other, you can easily play behind, above, and around each other doing simple moves and it looks like a show!the simplist one is one person twirling a wide circle and the partner makes small pois by wrapping them around your hands and doing an (I don't know the names of moves) the inside spinning wheel thing inside of the other persons big circle--move both circles up and down, and it looks cool as heck!

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Simos


enthusiast
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:hey Pele
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- haha i knew you would find a way to do it with fire!!! but as i am not experienced with fire i don't like recommending potentially dangerous things to anyone without having tried them out myself first - i agree with Heph, your show does sound amazing...hey got an idea, if you have short video of a part of your performances (you must do by now
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) why not send it to Malcolm to put on the site! most of us here are not proffesional and probably have never seen a show like yours - it's a really different thing just doing a 5-10 minute show in front of people in parties or 'background' dancing in parties (i usually do one of the two) and another thing to have a proper show like you guys!Jesse
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- i think the boring and systematic way you are describing is quite helpful, especially to those of us with limited experience...being very excited at first i tried free-styling and improvising a couple of times but that doesn't always work out! you definitely need to be very familiar with the song, listen to it lots and make sure you at least have some moves 'mapped' to certain distinct parts of the song if you don't wanna prepare the whole thing from beforehand...you can fill in the rest in on the spot if you have a bit of experience i reckon! well please note that i am not talking about doing a whole show on your own (i haven't got a clue about that), i am talking about people that want to do a small performance in a party or just swing as a dancer in a night-club etc for background dancing i think really anything goes...people will not look at you for long periods of time so it's ok to repeat the same moves again and again - you can even experiment on the spot on new transitions or mixing of the moves; it's nearly impossible to choreograph anything since what usually happens is that you do it for a long time and in the meantime djs change and play their own sets etc... sorry i've drifted a bit from the original topic, i though i'd add this info here for anyone who might find it useful,happy swinging
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Simos[This message has been edited by Simos (edited 25 January 2001).]


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