Getting started as a hula hoop performer is exciting, and scary, and glittery, and hard work! I have performed at private parties, burlesque shows, festivals, street parades, carnivals, street entertainment, and even retirement homes. I love performing and feel so very lucky to be able to have a job doing what I love. If you are just starting out as a hula hoop performer, I hope that you will find these tips useful and will have an absolutely brilliant time! Good luck!
- Don’t be afraid to ask the person who is booking you lots of questions : you need to know what you are walking in to. A few questions I always find useful are:
- What are the dressing arrangements
- Is there somewhere I can store my valuables
- Where can I park that is closest to the venue – is it free? If not add that to your charge.
- Who is my point of contact on site- get a phone number in case of any problems
- Are there any space restrictions in the performance area, eg low ceilings, width/depth of space
- Make sure the floor is suitable for performing – I once was booked for a party, and the floor was an area of large loose stones that my feet kept sinking in, in a sun trap, in the middle of summer 2m x 1m. It was hell!
- Get a contract stating exactly how long your performance time or set(s) are, and how many breaks and for how long. Make sure you are happy with that. Breaks for water are essential and don’t be afraid to negotiate.
- Make sure you know whether you are expected to be walkabout entertainment or stage show/floor show – these are different types of performance that you may need to prepare for differently.
- Is it an indoor or outdoor performance? (Don’t forget to keep an eye on the weather for outdoor performance – your led hoops may be in danger so seal the connection with gaffer tape, and take back up non LED hoops just in case the rain is too heavy for LEDs - you will probably still be expected to perform in the rain but risk assess the area to make sure it’s not too slippery)2.Take back ups of the important things!
- Take a back up costume, or spares of costume items! Last minute things often go pear shaped – tights/leggings tear, wardrobe malfunctions, inadequate/incorrect information from the booker, and it is useful to have spares in hand.
- Even if the venue/booker says they will arrange your music, always take a back up of it on your phone or ipod, take connecting leads if you have them, and depending on the type of booking a mini rig or even a block rocker in the car. I do all of this, and it has come in useful so many times when the venue doesn’t have leads, equipment failure, not arranged my music! Again – self-sufficiency!
3. Take plenty of water and healthy snacks with you. Don’t rely on getting refreshments provided, and any bought items will come out of your fee! Be self-sufficient as much as possible.
4. Prepare everything before the day of your performance - try on your costume and put it together will all the accessories you need (e.g. false eyelashes, glitter, face paint/make up/spare contact lenses etc. etc.). Ensure your song(s)/playlist are downloaded, ipod, phone, speakers all charged up, print directions and your contract and take with you, and keep everything together so you don't have to go looking for anything you need at the last minute.
5. Get insured!!! If the booker does not ask for a copy of your insurance, they are not doing a professional job. You must get public liability insurance. It is not just to protect yourself from someone who gets hit by a flying hoop claiming damages against you. If you caused an accident while performing that resulted in someone being unable to work, and pay their bills and mortgage – if you are insured, your insurance means that they will receive money to pay these. If you are not insured – the injured person receives nothing and could lose their home. Get insured!
6. What if I drop my hoops? This might feel like a hula hoop performers worst nightmare, but don't worry. It happens to everyone, even the best! So what do you do? the answer is simple - pick them up again. Work out a couple of funny/impressive ways of picking up the hoops - your audience will love seeing you play up to them and will be appreciative and supportive. You could give an exaggerated facial expression of surprise, jazz hands, spins and dance your way to the hoops with a huge smile to your audience - and when you get to the hoops,use a cool move to get them back onto your body or into your hands, such as a toe flip up or the dirty pizza toss.
7. Make sure you plaster on a SMILE! Don't let that concentration face creep up on you, remember to keep smiling! Whatever happens, if you are smiling with your audience - the audience will smile with you. Performing is fun! Enjoy yourself!
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