Archive for Performances

Pop Quiz: Creative, Controversial, or Clueless?

May 30, 2013 Comments Off on Pop Quiz: Creative, Controversial, or Clueless? Ask Mama Silk, Performances, The Business of Aerials, Training, Uncategorized

What makes an artist creative, commercial, controversial or clueless? What kind of artist are you? There’s an interactive Pop Quiz at the end, so read on, and please answer honestly, so we can have a fruitful discussion.

Today’s post is inspired by a recent article in the NY Times about the controversial Chinese artist and social activist, Ai WeiWei’s latest work. In this video called “Dumbass”, he graphically recreates scenes from his illegal detention, set to heavy metal music.


Love it or hate it, Mr. Ai’s work usually provokes some kind of emotion. His work is often a staunch commentary on the Chinese government, which has landed him in jail on more than one occasion. So there’s definitely some ‘juice’ to his opinion, that seriously rocks the status quo in his environment.

So it got me thinking about what it means to be a controversial artist, and what’s controversial in the aerial arts world these days.

What’s controversy anyways? According to Merriam-Webster:
con·tro·ver·sy — noun
1: a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views : dispute
2: quarrel, strife

I used to shy away from controversy. I was too afraid to be on the ‘wrong’ end of a discussion, to be disliked or to be ridiculed. I’ve grown to learn, however, that controversy is positive. In fact, it’s a key component to the entire democratic system. Discuss, listen, agree to disagree, and perhaps change your mind or someone else’s. Controversy shakes us out of our complacency and helps us to evolve, personally, professionally, artistically, however painful that may be.

While my art is still far from controversial, I’m OK with that. I’m not ‘the disturber’, nor do I wish to be. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But as I’ve found my creative voice, I contribute to my art form in the realm of fusing aerial and dance and character for the WOW factor with beautiful lines and pointed toes for my corporate gigs, and emotion and humanness expressed inventively for my more artistic gigs. I’m creative and I’m commercial – a combination that keeps me busily employed at a high level and providing work for other artists.

Many aerialists are intensely creative and are really moving the art form along by fusing diverse art forms, media, props, incredible virtuosity, new apparatus, costuming and music. But how many of us are truly controversial, with a capital ‘C’? I’d love to hear from you about who you think is controversial in the aerial world, and what discussion or opposing views that artist brings forth with their work.

As a point of comparison, I found this list of 10 Controversial Artists of the last Century by Annemarie Dooling (God, I love the internet, sometimes). The list includes artists like:
-Georgia O’Keefe, who painted nature is ways that were interpreted at the time to be racy representations of the female anatomy,
-Pablo Picasso, who once stated, “For me there are only two kinds of women: goddesses and doormats.”, and
-Christo Javachev, whose work “The Gates” covered part of Central Park with orange banners. Art to some, a waste of fabric to others.

So, aerialists, do you have to get yourself arrested like Ai Weiwei to be a controversial artist? No. Does getting arrested mean you’re controversial? Not necessarily. Did your act lead people to consider the world differently? Were you challenging existing norms, commenting on the current state of society, the government or it’s people? Or did you just want to create a stir on Facebook, and gain some notoriety?

The aerial controversies I’ve come across lately have more to do with whether aerial instructors should be insured, and whether teacher certification is good for the industry or is elitist. But these are controversies for a subsequent post. And is bad rigging controversial, or is it simply bad?

I’m not suggesting you have to be controversial to be a respected artist. But I am suggesting that if you want to call yourself a ‘controversial aerialist’ you probably want to challenge the status quo in more ways than safety and creative costuming.

Here’s our Pop Quiz to keep the conversation going: We will tabulate all results.

1. NY Times Article “Prison Was Awful, but He Likes the Video Version”, page C1, May 22, 2013. Full article here
2. Ai Weiwei website: (accessed May 22, 2013)

Smirnoff Sorbet Light Tasting Event

April 26, 2013 Comments Off on Smirnoff Sorbet Light Tasting Event In the News, Performances
Helium’s bubble contortionist and rhythmic gymnasts looked almost light as light and delicious as Smirnoff’s Sorbet Light Vodka.  The attendees loved the product and our gals. Thanks to MKTG inc for having us.
Photos courtesy of Insider Images.

Heather performing straps at The Muse!

March 12, 2013 Comments Off on Heather performing straps at The Muse! Performances, Uncategorized

The infamous MUSE in Brooklyn recently hosted a benefit show, Amuse Bouche, which was produced by Madeline Hoak and Kiebpoli Calnek! All proceeds from the show benefited Breaking Ground which focuses on enabling Cameroonians to break ground on sustainable, locally initiated projects. There was an amazing line up of aerial, spoken word, fire spinning, burlesque and more!

Heliummm Student Showcase “Special Gifts” December 1, 2012

December 3, 2012 Comments Off on Heliummm Student Showcase “Special Gifts” December 1, 2012 Performances, Student Showcase

Heliummm Aerial Dance’s Student Showcase “Special Gifts” was a resounding success. The house was packed, the mood was festive, and acts were superb!

Big thanks go out to our fabulous students and to our volunteers:

  • Heliummm President Jeep Ries for box office, cleaning, set up and intros
  • Wes Krygsman for helping set up the backdrop curtains
  • Julie Krygsman for doing sound
  • Professional videographer Katrin Haiba for taping
  • Professional photographer Christine Nguyen for superb photographs
  • Lola Picayo for making yummy chocolate chip cookies
  • Zoe Picayo for the case of water
  • Jack Crawford for rigging
  • Cierra Martinez, Ariel Sheldon, Yuka Kawazu and Lola Picayo for set up and tear down
  • Jacob Robinette and Embody Collective for having us teach and perform there

And, a big thank you to the awesome audience members, who came out to support their friends and family.

Achieve your dreams. Come to class. Set a goal. Work hard. Have fun!

Click on an image to enlarge.

Thanks and Happy Holidays!

Big aerial love,

PS: Don’t forget – gift certificates are available in the Heliummm online store at

We’ve been announced!

October 2, 2012 Comments Off on We’ve been announced! In the News, Performances



Our entertainer of the year nomination has been announced – – and the vote is on!

You can vote daily from now until October 21st at 11:59 pm here!

Please cast your vote today! We need your support!!

Heliummm Student Showcase April 28, 2012

April 29, 2012 Comments Off on Heliummm Student Showcase April 28, 2012 Performances, Student Showcase

Once again the Heliummm Student Showcase was PACKED with friends and admirers.  We definitely need a bigger space for our fall show!

Our performers did an outstanding job. It’s amazing to see how much progress was made from November’s performance. All those pull-ups and classes are paying off! Jack, Kealani, Laura, Lauren were our most excellent veterans. And, we welcomed a few first-timers: Dan, Erin, Heather, Jamie, Julie, Michelle, Tatiana.

And, thanks to all those who helped us raise money for the Reciprocity Foundation, a world-class, nonprofit organization that helps homeless, runaway, and foster care youth from all five NYC boroughs to realize their full potential.
Click on an image to enlarge.

Additional thanks to:

Jeep Ries (set up, box office, clean up, and general awesomeness)
Susan Quinn (photographs)
Dan Croft (video camera and editing)
Cierra Martinez (filming)
Kealani Tosh (rigging)
Wes Krygsman (black drape wrangling)
Julie Krygsman (set up)
Jack Crawford (mat washing)
Dariyya (rhythmic performance)
Jacob Robinette (space rental)




Heliummm on Law & Order: SVU!!

April 27, 2012 Comments Off on Heliummm on Law & Order: SVU!! In the News, Performances

Heliummm aerialists Heather and Cody were delighted to be hired as Stunt Principals to film an episode of Law & Order: SVU!

We had our very own dressing room in the honeycomb, I mean the honey wagon (I’m so unhip it hurts).  Though our trailer wasn’t as big as Ice-T’s, we did get to meet him (and his new dog), and co-star Kelli Giddish (all very nice).

We spun and spun on our lyra in sequined blue tops at the Coney Island Museum, for an intriguing episode called, ‘Strange Beauty’.  And, no the title is not a reference to our hair and make-up! We were well taken-care of by Emmy-award winning make up artist Nicole, and the key hairdresser, Brian. (We wanted to bring them home with us, but they film SVU 10 months a year).

It was fun to have the camera pan by us on its smooth track as we were spinning about. Talk about needing to smile at all times! We got right into it, calling ‘Rolling!’ and ‘Cut!’ with the crew like the TV veterans we are (alas, veterans from the other side of the screen).  And, what better compliment than to have Director Alex Chapple tell us we were doing such a good job up there it was hard to get people watch him!

For Law & Order junkies, our vic has a strange body modification that requires some serious investigation by Fin and Amanda. No spoiler here — you’ll have to watch the episode for yourself to see us and see how it ends.

Thanks, Law & Order!



Heliummm Writes for ‘Insiders Know-How: Planning Your Perfect Wedding’

March 5, 2012 Comments Off on Heliummm Writes for ‘Insiders Know-How: Planning Your Perfect Wedding’ In the News, Performances

We are thrilled to write the Chapter entitled “Entertainment That Reflects The Couple” for Kizzi Nkwocha’s ‘Insiders Know-How: Planning Your Perfect Wedding”. Now available on and’s a brief excerpt:

Weddings are extraordinary days where two unite to become one, celebrating love and the promise of the future. We all want an incredible, memorable wedding day. And your wedding day entertainment should reflect that special love, your personalities and your vision for your day.  But what kind of entertainment reflects who you are?


While the classics are tried and true, what if you want something a little more innovative for your wedding?

What’s Old is New Again

Let’s face it. The cocktail hour is de rigeur.  So why not give your guests an experience they’ll never forget? Augment your cocktail hour with aerial champagne servers.  Dazzling beauties dangling from the air, suspended in white fabric or on a lovely aerial hoop. What could be lovelier than having an aerial angel fill your flute with Moet et Chandon? While you’re off taking pictures, know that your guests are being well taken care of with this exquisite touch.

Technology with Heart

In addition to offering lighting options and MCs, DJ packages now often include fun extras.  Ask about Text to Screen Messaging.  Your guests will be able to text you and your beloved messages that will appear on a large screen on the dance floor – live – during the event! You can alternate between heartfelt messages from your guests

Classic But Curious

Ballet dancers dressed in long romantic tutus or other period attire add an elegant touch.  The dancers create lovely atmosphere and beautiful movement as they escort guests to their seats.

The Wow Factor

Aerialists are not just for Sky Candy during cocktail hour.  Romantic aerial duets add incredible beauty to the celebration of your love.  Make a splash during dinner and speeches a featured solo or duo aerial act. Amaze your guests with the incredible skills of contortionists, magicians, or jugglers. All artists can be costumed and styled to match the mood and look of your wedding. Perhaps to introduce the removing of the garter, you select a tasteful burlesque act!

If you want to read the full article, or want more information on how Heliummm can make your wedding extra special,  contact us here.

Happy Wedding Planning!

Heliummm Trains with the World’s Best!

February 6, 2012 Comments Off on Heliummm Trains with the World’s Best! Performances

When you want top notch performers, you want the artists of Heliummm Aerial Dance. We trained this weekend with world-renowned acrobatic balancer Virgile Peyramure, shown here.

We’re always taking our skills and training to the next level to bring the biggest WOW factor to YOUR next event. And, we can book the best in the world for your premium happening. Heliummm’s got it’s finger on the pulse to make your job planning incredible events the perfect balancing act.

Contact us now to start planning world-class entertainment for your next event.

The Show Must Go On…Or Not!

December 27, 2011 Comments Off on The Show Must Go On…Or Not! Performances

There’s something romantic and glamorous about that ‘the show must go on!’ mentality. And, many times, we’ve pulled out all the last-minute stops to make that happen.

We recall dancing for Noemie Lafrance 70 feet up on a Frank Gehry building in 2008 in Rapture. When one of the performers pulled a muscle in his back, the choreographer re-jigged the remaining dancers. After teaching another talented dancer my role, I spent the afternoon learning the injured dancer’s role on a roof with a much different incline and a much different rigging system. We had to make some last-minute modifications given that the rigging system was designed for a 175 lb man and I’m a 112 lb woman…And, we pulled it off, thanks in part to the injured dancer calling me cues from the rigging station behind my spot during the 50 min show!

But what about those times when, well, the show really can’t go on? Sometimes, it just needs to be postponed. For those rare times, you’ll be glad that Heliummm Aerial Dance & Entertainment is on your team.

Last December brought the East Coast a record snow storm that paralyzed NYC and its environs for days. This threw a wrench into the Demetro family wedding, given that the guests, the caterer, myself, and the bride and groom couldn’t make it to the venue on the wedding day. So, the wedding (and performance) was postponed till January 10th, when the streets were clear and everyone could get there safely. We were happy to accommodate this client on another date.

This holiday season has brought another unexpected event delay. Lexi’s Sweet 16 was supposed to be tonight, but alas, she is quite sick. The event planner and venue owner luckily has a couple of free dates in January. So we’re wishing Lexi a prompt recovery and we’ll be whooping it up for her and her friends later next month.

The message? Heliummm Aerial Dance & Entertainment delivers. Rain or sleet or snow or shine. Exceptional performers you can trust.