Forums > Social Chat > How to keep up interest in solo performance?

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Blackbird
member
Location: London UK
Member Since: 23rd Jul 2001
Total posts: 337
Posted:Ok... not so hypothetical situation...let's say you breath, eat, spin and twirl.You have a big wick short staff (just long enough to do basic contact, rolls and such), eating sticks, a set of poi, and a set of braid fire whips. (finally got around to making these! they absolutely rule!)And /no music/, and it's a /solo/. (much more pressure that way, don't you agree?)How do you keep (non stoned, non drunk, short attention span) people's attention? I can do moves, I just have problems doing a "show" as such.Generally I don't want to talk much, you know? Just get on with it... but people are never terribly impressed. Okay, they usually like the breathing, but that's it. The rest of the time, it seems they just stare boredly/politely...How do you make what you do worth staring at?------------------"O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention." - William ShakespeareCheck out my Online Gallery! Å Ĉ К я

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xtremravr...was here..
member
Location: amsterdam..i wish
Member Since: 2nd Feb 2002
Total posts: 337
Posted:hey, that sounds pretty crappy they wont let you have any music?!?! well ive only been doin poi about 2 months, but i have seen some pretty impressive under the legs moves where you jump over the poi, or try some wraps where the fire hits your arms (but where protective clothes) or do what a previous thread kinda made fun of, where you can tell all the people in the audience that the fire that they will see is just a new technologically advanced form of fire used for light, that burns cold to the touch and it doesnt burn you when you touch it. then when you actually spin real fire they will awe and ooh at how realistic the fake fire is!!!! that would probably be pretty cool, then at the end of the show tell them that it is real fire and yoou just wanted to play with their heads...well better not do that you might get fired...well gotta get back to do some work!! p.l.u.r.r.xtremravrsorry if this post sounds kinda weird i was just thinkin of the possibilities..or something...

Peace Luv Uni-t Respect Responsa-what?!?! Xtrem

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Blackbird,This is a really good question. I walked away when I first read it because it deserves a strong answer. If I were to answer it as fully as I think it deserves, it would be a multi-page article, so I will do the best I can to make it "brief".Without music is really not a problem. When you say you do not want to talk to the audience you are seriously limiting yourself. You need to realize that when making the decision to be silent. Part of what keeps the attention of an audience is feeling a connection to the performer. That can be done easiest with words. If you don't want to talk then you absolutely need to work on other forms of connecting, though eye contact and body movements.Evaluate how you spin. Do you spin for yourself and does it show? Do you turn alot so your back faces the audience? Do you do moves that look nice from their point of view? Where do you focus your eyes when you spin? How big are your movements and how open is your spinning, meaning do you stay in one spot or move about freely?If you spin for yourself, then you are not putting yourself out there to connect with.If you turn alot, it might be impressive but it closes you off from the audience. I know I don't appreciate looking at someone's back alot. There may be an entire contingent of moves that you like to do but that look unimpressive to the audience. Remember to them, it is only fire in circles after a bit. You need to throw changes of tempo, of height, of direction in frequently. If you close your eyes or keep them within the circle of fire then you aren't reaching the audience. You need to make eye contact, smile, express yourself through your face as well...show how you feel through expression and through your spinning, combine them. If all your spinning movements are clean and tight to you then you are again, weaving a very little world for yourself...move, make your motions larger and really catch the attention of people, make them wonder what you will be doing next. When fire eating, sit...point your torches at people in the audience, wink, smile, move adeptly but not too slowly. Don't fall into patterns, make them wonder what you will be doing next.Never underestimate the power of good costuming either. All black is boring. Jeans and T-shirts can be as well. Get creative. Change something between sets. Wear something reflective. Push your imagination so you can push theirs. Remember, it is all about the audience. A person can watch a spinner on a video, or in the movies but a person can only connect with a performer live. You may love to spin, but you also need to love to perform, and it needs to show, in your face, in your movements and, yes, even in your words when you are done. And trust me, it is a wheel, the more you put out, the more you get back, and it just keeps feeding into the energy.In a few years do you want someone to say at a photograph "That was some guy spinning fire?" or do you want them to go "That is the guy who looked past the fire at me. It was so cool." ??? That is the difference the connection can make. Best of luck to you,------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com

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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Tails
member
Location: Tahoe City
Member Since: 24th Jan 2002
Total posts: 16
Posted:awesome reply ^^ it inspired me! lol... nice one pele-Tails

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xtremravr...was here..
member
Location: amsterdam..i wish
Member Since: 2nd Feb 2002
Total posts: 337
Posted:good post pele...i thought mine would work too..but maybe not..o well..p.l.u.r.r.xtremravr

Peace Luv Uni-t Respect Responsa-what?!?! Xtrem

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Blackbird
member
Location: London UK
Member Since: 23rd Jul 2001
Total posts: 337
Posted:Just my luck, I ask a good question and she goes and fobs me off with one of her "short" answers. Pah...Yah, I move a lot, try and keep to the audience, switch between different move groups, change toys, all that...However I realise I don't really like performing... I don't like the pressure... frankly, audiences scare me.And this one was too far away to really make eye contact, and impossible to talk to (they were behind glass). Oh, and they were all about five. Children audiences are scary
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at least older people are usually polite enough to watch...And I seriously misjudged my costume... did not impress the parents
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I was misinformed about the gig, really. I thought it would be older children...


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Ajay
member
Location: Oxford, U.K.
Member Since: 3rd Dec 2001
Total posts: 158
Posted:i think this topic board should be re-named to "ask pele" some great answers recently "your on fire" lol

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew there swords and Shot each other.

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Blackbird, may I make a suggestion?Don't perform. The love to perform is something that can rarely be learned, it is there or it is not. I may be shy but I ***LOVE*** to perform, so I face my shyness. It seems that for you, it goes beyond that. I have seen this before and the people who are in these situations end up really unhappy with what they are performing, what they originally loved to do. Dancers end up resenting the dance, musicians give up writing because they have to perform their stuff in order to get it recognised, etc. It is a horrible thing to watch a passion fizzle from un-necessary pressure. I would truly hate to see that happen to someone who loves to spin as you do.Spin for yourself, because you love it. Save your ulcers for something more important!
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I am not saying this will happen to you, I am saying that if you don't love performing, there is nowhere that says you have to do it, you know? Just my (unsolicited) advice.Ummm...to everyone else
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*blush* Thank You.------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com


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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Blackbird
member
Location: London UK
Member Since: 23rd Jul 2001
Total posts: 337
Posted:Yeah. I hear that.I don't mind non solo performances though.

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi Blackbird, you have good skills and don't mind performing in a group, so it's performing solo that appears to be the problem. Going solo is pretty scary, so don't be too hard on yourself. I think the challenge was just doing the performance, and you got over that barrier. So, "how do you make what you do worth staring at?" Well, Pele has summed it up pretty well, and I'll just add that you can learn a lot from watching how buskers/street performers work a crowd. Not necessarily to copy anything, but to learn a few tricks, like having some icebreakers or a few lame jokes up you sleeve. Even smiling or grinning can make a big difference. You can always try out your ideas out on a crowd when you perform with a group, to see what works and what doesn't. While I'm basically an introverted and reserved person, I think it's good self development to push it occasionally, and solo performing certainly does that. Personally, I feel that there is a bit of "performer" in us all, and hey it can be fun.
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If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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utilitydeamon
member
Location: Saline, MI United States
Member Since: 21st Jan 2002
Total posts: 33
Posted:Heres the way to do a little solo. You have to keep the crowd involved, and a perfect and fun way to do this is to do tricks really close to them, but of course practice this first. You should always answer their questions (how long have you been spinning? do you ever hit yourself?)Have a lot of variety, and use some props like walls and benches. As a poi spinner at all, you need flow to keep anyone entertained at all. It helps to get your body into it, too.

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