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Why I Think You Should Absolutely Perform for Free

Chris Delgado & I bust a move at the Big Sky Works Holiday Show last year!

Chris Delgado & I bust a move at the Big Sky Works Holiday Show last year!

Hello Dear Danglers! The holiday season is upon us!!!! The mistletoe is hung on your trapeze, those cranberry bar thingies are back at Starbucks, and people are lining up to jingle our bells – it’s a festive time of year. It’s a season of generosity and giving, so I thought it might be a great time to talk about something near and dear to my heart: performing for free, and why I think you should absolutely do it…

Perform for Free

… when appropriate. Now, you’ve heard me rant and rave about not performing for free – what gives? Well, you do! You give your time and talents to a worthy cause! In this case, the “cause” I want to chat about is our circus spaces. Most studios have showcases several times a year, and this is a FAN-FREAKIN’-TASTIC time to donate your performance time. Consider:

    • Aerial studios aren’t rakin’ it in hand over fist. In fact, many are barely squeaking by here in NYC. Insurance costs just to open the door are astronomical, plus rent, plus equipment, plus marketing, plus admin, plus instructors…. you get the picture. These showcases allow them to get ahead just a tiny bit (or, for some, allow them to make the rent that month).
    • Giving back is important. Sure, we pay for space in these studios, so it’s not like we’re not giving. But this is special! This is support with your whole body and heart. It means something!
    • These showcases are the PERFECT time to trot out a new work-in-progress to see how it will play in front of real people, or a chance to do something silly or experimental that no one in their right mind would pay you for. I have to be Serious Snowflake or Enigmatic Elf all blessed season, so it’s a real treat to throw on something ridiculous and dust off the old acro act for a night!
    • When you do a showcase, you’re a part of a community that is fluid and always growing. Welcome newcomers, and say hi to old friends you never get to see! It’s also an awesome time for friends and family to come see what you’re dangling from these days.
    • Aspiring professionals NEED performance time, and this is the perfect way to get it! You can hone your circus and performance skills in a supportive, low-risk environment. Bonus? You need photos and video for your demo reel, and this is an easy way to get some great footage.
    • Not ready to perform? Buy tickets and show your support from the audience!


No, my head is not where you think it is. OK, it is, but it's not like that. OK. Glad we had this conversation.

No, my head is not where you think it is. OK, it is, but it’s not like that. OK. Glad we had this conversation.

Ask around! Find out when the studios in your area are putting shows together and GET IN THERE!!!! If nobody is doing showcases, organize one your own durned self! This is a time when you should absolutely, positively work for free (though I always find I’m compensated generously by having awesome places to train). Love and pull-ups, Laura

CLICK HERE to support The Muse in NYC! Move the Muse! 


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