How To Build A Pro Act
A good circus journey begins with a great act.
An act is different from a routine, made simply of a series of tricks.
The best way to find your path in circus/variety entertainment is to create something quirky, interesting, unique, emotional . . . you get the point. If you are in the flow arts find a unique look. Many professional venues do not necessarily jump for joy when they see the earth tone, cotton flare pants, headband with leather/hemp necklace look. Think of something distinct that is a look just for your act or presentation. Create a character with particular quirks and ticks that suit that look. If you build entertaining routines based on the look, character and skill you offer, you may be able to go straight to auditions and jobs.
A good circus act is about 4 minutes long. Don’t over do it by forcing in every skill you ever learned in your life. Pause, make eye contact, pose, hit good moments in the music. Utilize only the skills that you do with excellence; just because a move is popular or looks great on someone else does not make it necessary for you.
Do not flood your act with only big tricks. Use your secondary best tricks in the opening. Put a good series in the middle and save your ultimate series and best trick for the end. Fill in the blank spaces with acting through movement and try to make an emotional connection of some kind with your audience and yourself.
Try to build a solid, clean act that doesn’t lend to consistent, obvious errors. Mistakes are inevitable regardless of your level but don’t keep something in that is a constant issue, as it will begin to distract you before and after you arrive to that part of the routine. Recovery can make or break you. Figure out how to not let an error disrupt the enjoyment of your act. This is important for your audience and you.
Pick a piece of music that is either so awesome it stands on it’s own or several pieces that you splice together. It is good to have a change of pace in the music. Let several people from different walks of life hear your music. If your best friend, grandmother and mailman can all listen to it without cringing you’ve got a winner. If you are so in love with your selection that you don’t care about Granny, go for it. If you love it that much it may be the right choice. Try to veer from music that grates on the ears. Too much techno is too much. A change of pace with your techno selection could be a great combo.
Have confidence in what you are presenting, and do your homework by studying many forms of movements that can enhance your possibilities. It is never too late to begin taking dance classes. If you have no dance training, create movement that suits your character and looks like it is polished. The only thing worse than watching an untrained dancer trying to do choreography beyond their limits, is watching an untrained dancer ad-libbing to grating techno music.
I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions I am always happy to give my very strong, honest, overbearing opinion. It doesn’t make me right . . . it just makes me think I am super duper smart and talented.
Everybody has their own path . . . that’s the best part.