Clothing Styles

A potential client is likely not very well-versed in tech poi or contactjuggling, but they know what is visually pleasing to them; so a photo of you just posing with fire in your shnazzy circus digs will likely increase your chances of being booked more than a photo of that perfect triquetra vs. extension...

A very well written article about costuming for guys in the flow arts can be found on the website Fire Arts Magazine.

As a performing artist we are always looking to be on the cutting edge of new tricks and acts. Striking an interest and drawing crowds is our main goal. By learning or innovating the latest tools and props we strive to shock and amaze the viewer with things they may never have seen. But what can set many acts apart besides a cleanly executed performance are the styles of clothing or outfits the performers wear. For this reason a Facebook group is created: Clothing styles for Flow Performers

Bad ass steam punk hats...

This discussion group is for everyone to share and learn, offer ideas, and just have fun. This is not a place to sell products but a place to discuss ways to design, create, or locate styles of clothing for all performers. Whether you are on stage or in the Urban Jungle, you always want to stand out.

Your Costume.

This may sound immaterial to some of you, (pardon the pun) but at ALL costs, you should do several dress rehearsals­. As in, what exactly are you going to be wearing, and how will it effect your routine...

A long time ago, I (Ferret) was asked to give my opinion as to what is best to wear while contact juggling. I thought about this for a bit, before I answered it, but to this day, I still stand by my original reply. Given the myriad of clothing styles out there, this initially seemed like an almost impossible question to answer. But as I said, I thought about it. Over the years I have performed in everything from medieval style bagpipe sleeves to bare-chest­ed, to a tuxedo.

The one thing I have found is that if you wear a natural material, be it silk, cotton, wool, leather, or your own skin, You will find that it works much better than something synthetic.­ There are some synthetics that work just fine but I'll take a natural material over man-made any day. There is just something about it that allows you, your average control.

You should however, always practice in costume, more than a couple times, especially if it something you are not used to, including the pants, shoes and hat if you wear one. I did a gig once where I was hired by an agency for a seasonal, show, and at the last minute, 3 days prior, they throw this costume at me and said: "we need you to wear this".

I already had a costume ready but that was what they wanted, and they were signing the check. Fortunatel­y the gig was a couple days away yet (I still consider that the last min. though...)­. I immediatel­y went home, put the thing on, and ran through some moves. It sucked! It absolutely Sucked! I can not even begin to type up how badly this outfit Sucked! (sorry)

It was tight at the ankles, and wrists, too big at the waist, too short in the sleeves, and too tight across the shoulders. I honestly think it was initially made for a small women. Made out of some strange material that they used to make 70's prom dresses out of, really shiny, not to mention the color, and pattern looked like Dr. Seuss threw up on it. The ball went sliding all over the place, it was just ridicules.­

I was able to figure out, over the next couple days, what I could safely get away with, performing for small children, while wearing this @#$%!*& outfit. (The agency was pretty adamant about me wearing it.) I had to cut out half of my routine, and just loop it from there. It was a 3 hour continues gig, based mostly on freestyle, but I still had 7 drops during the course. Seven!

Bad, very bad !!! At my Medieval Faire Shows, a bad day is three or more drops over an 8 hour day. I don't have too many bad days but I'm very used to the costume I wear at the Faires (consideri­ng I made it).

There is a saying in the constructi­on field, "It is a poor craftsman who blames his work on his tools".

I agree with that, but I just wish I had more time to work with the tools I was given, for that particular job. Or to come up with an agreement to use my tools instead...

The point I'm trying to make is, pay attention to what you will be wearing when you do your routine, or it may not work the way you intended. Sometimes you may not have a choice in what you will be wearing, but find out early, and practice in it., as often as you can. Even if you are just visualizin­g, you can still get a feel for how well you can move in it.

At all costs: Don't put on your 'Performan­ce Outfit' just before you walk out there, and expect to know how it will effect you, or worse, believe that it won't matter. You got bigger balls than I do, if you believe that, and you will find yourself in a position that you were not prepared for. I assure you, and that's never a good thing.

Below is a videoclip from Luke Burrage. Although he is talking mostly about his own costume, he is giving some good advice about things you normally don't think of.


Previous page: Performance Stress...
Next page: Creating a Routine