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Words by Wednesday, Photography by Mia Maraschino and Etienne Reynaud

If you ask anyone what their greatest fears are, getting up on stage half naked in front of strangers would likely be up there. It’s understandable, right? Vulnerability is tricky for anyone, much less in public with all your gear off. So how can you prepare yourself to actually take the plunge and pop your solo cherry? Well, before you even get your butt up on that stage, you need to know how to properly apply for shows to get your submission over the line. We put together a little cheat-sheet in crafting “the perfect application”.

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When submitting an application to perform, the first thing casting directors look for is the quality of your video. While the video doesn’t need to show the act or choreography of the show you intend on performing, it does need to have a clear image and good sound quality.

It also doesn't hurt to put a little effort in! This is, after all, the selection committee's first impression of you. You need to be looking and feeling like a damn rock star! Wear something that showcases your personality, pop on some lipstick and give the casting directors some serious stage presence!

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Who cares if you can do a meat-hook or a super babe if it only looks so-so? A common misconception for first-time performers is that you have to throw in a bunch of highly advanced aerial tricks to get your submission selected. Not true! It’s always better to do beginner/intermediate tricks with perfect precision than more advanced moves with less confidence. A good performance is about clean, elegant lines, pointed toes and a fearless attitude. No one wants to watch a performance thinking, “omg, are they going to die?!” You want to feel like you’re in total control of your movements. Your audience should say, “wow, that looks so incredible!” not, “yikes! That was close!”

So, to increase your chances of getting selected, work on making the tricks you’re comfortable with look heartbreakingly beautiful! We wanna see flawless technique, control and fluidity of transitions. 

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You’d be surprised how many people don’t get this part right (sigh). You want to make it as easy as possible for the casting director to say yes, and performer applications often feature very specific rules and requirements that must be followed for this to happen. You can do everything else right; great video, amazing execution of apparatus skills, but if your written application doesn’t meet the standard, you’re submission is toast!

Some tips? Take the time to carefully read the application. Write a great bio about your performer self that is punchy and succinct. Research your concept and check it against the description of the event to make sure it fits nicely with the theme. Read the rules about cultural appropriation and consider whether your act in any way could be considered culturally inappropriate. Ultimately, you want to be as detail-oriented as possible so the casting director has absolutely everything they need to approve you

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You can’t expect to be at a performer-ready level if you’re only doing one or two classes per week! Polish and finesse takes hours of training every day. One of the biggest tips for popping that solo cherry is practice, practice, practice! You need to come in for more than one class, do practice time training as often as possible, and make a list of stretching exercises you can do at home while watching tv.

Now, it goes without saying that physical training is extremely important prior to solo performing. But mental training is just as important! One thing you have to do is listen to your routine song on repeat, there’s a common performer saying that if you don’t absolutely hate your song before you perform, you haven’t done enough preparation. Additionally, a fierce on-stage personality is just as critical to a routine as the execution of tricks. Sit in front of the mirror and practice your stage-face and find the source of your inner sass. Before recording your video, practice performing as your most iconic, fearless self. You want to show the casting directors that you came to slay!

Heartstoppers applications are now open, and will close Monday 25th February. Stay tuned for Part Two of ‘Cherry Poppers’, when we reveal our tips and tricks for preparing to perform!