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Upping the Live Entertainment Ante


So long, dime-a-dozen DJ.

Tired of the same-old same-old? We asked Abby Tobias, president of Sole Power Productions, in Toronto—one of the foremost entertainment providers in the country— to put together a list of hot new ideas in live entertainment, sure to wow your guests, employer or client.

By Abby Tobias

L.E.D. Drummer

During the last few years, there has been a trend where a musician plays along with a DJ (roaming bongos, horn players and electric guitarists). This takes that idea and adds a high-end visual. The drummer plays along with a DJ, while each drum has a built-in L.E.D fixture. With each hit, the sound activation illuminates the drums.
This would be perfect for any high-energy dance-related party and adds value, as the drummer can present a short performance and/or play along with the DJ all night.

Martial Artists

A live performance by a team of martial artists can provide a unique and exciting show. Typically, the group will not only include high-flying stunts, but also feature weapons and props that your attendees have probably never seen close-up before. The shows are usually 10 to 15 minutes, and often invite children from the audience to participate, making the show interactive. It’s ideal for any Asian or sport-related event, but also fits in well with non-themed events.
The drama is heightened if you incorporate a good soundtrack and mood/effect lighting. Be careful when booking this act if your venue has low ceilings or a small performance area.

Red Carpet Model

This is a live piece of decor. Line the entranceway with 20 ft. to 30 ft. of red carpet. Having seen that at almost every gala and formal event they’ve attended, your guests won’t think much of it from a distance. As they get closer, however, they will notice that the red carpet turns right into a dress made entirely of the carpet being worn by a model, who can hand out a signature drink, access passes or act as a greeter.
This piece is amazing to use once. You wouldn’t want to repeat it at future events if the same crowd is attending both.

Digital Graffiti Wall

This combines a Wii-like concept with the culture of graffiti art. Using your basic projection screen, along with an infrared unit and customized software, this functions as an interactive activity, where your guests can fulfill their childhood dream of spraying graffiti. The beauty of this product is that there is no actual graffiti; thus, it can be set up in any space, including indoors. The cans make real-life sounds and you can implement company logos and other branding images into the software, to add value. You can also book a live graffiti artist to produce high-quality art throughout the event.

Street Dance

Dance performances have always been popular at company parties, weddings, etc. The introduction of authentic street-dance style is a tremendous way to not only excite guests, but also include a personal touch by getting creative and including the company president as the surprise guest dancer. Street dance works better than most styles of dance because it is visually easy to understand and includes high-risk, and highly skilled, moves that are easy to appreciate even if you’re not a fan of dance. Loud costuming and wardrobe changes also offer an added value to a street-dance performance.
A street-dance performance would last five to 15 minutes and is an ideal way to begin a dance set.

Rent-A-Guest

Have you ever been seated at a table that’s lame or boring? This is the perfect fix to that problem. Rent-A-Guest involves hired actors placed in the crowd to act as a guest. They need a backstory, though. So, “you know Mary from PR? This is her boyfriend—they’ve only been dating for a few months.” The best part is that you have the ability to create any character you want, depending on your client’s sense of humour. The character could have had too much to drink and is now hitting on all the women at the party; or maybe he works for a competitive company and has nothing nice to say about your workplace. You get the idea!

Duelling DJs

Everyone has heard of duelling pianos. Well, this is simply a modern-day version of that. Place two DJs in a pyramid-shaped setup and have them play together, take turns and, of course, battle! The DJ setup (which is often referred to as ‘two by four’—two DJs and four turntables) provides an engaging visual. Positioning cameras above, to get a better view of their hands at work, adds visual flair. It’s important to pair DJs who have worked together in the past—or even better, simply hire a DJ duo.
Duelling DJs is an imaginative twist on your typical DJ dance party, holiday party or private event. You get a full night’s entertainment, as well as a unique focal-point visual and performance.

Ballet Parking

This act/service turns a play on words (valet/ballet parking) into a terrific first impression at your event. Hire attractive models to play the role of parking attendant, dressed from head to waist in typical valet attire (black jacket and white dress shirt) and from the waist down in ballet attire (tutu, tights and slippers). Your guests will do a double take as they get out of their cars, and will, at that point, know that the evening’s festivities have begun. Eye-catching signage, appropriate music and live ballerinas roaming the valet station’s entrance are an excellent way to spice up the act even further. This act is clearly meant for the beginning of the night only and works best with at least four placed attendants. It adds humour to any corporate event.

—Abby Tobias is president of Sole Power Productions, in Toronto. For more information, visit solepowerproductions.com.



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