Everyone loves to dance, but what exactly does it take to be a top-shelf aerialist, a roaming character, an expert hooper, or another onstage experience creator at a world-class event like Electric Daisy Carnival? Surely, there’s a secret to the success some performers have, right? A lot of people see the iron focus or countless hours of practice, but just beyond the halo effect brought on by the spotlights and lazers strong enough to strike a match a dozen miles away, there’s a whole world that only the bold and brave ever catch the chance to see.

Of course, that’s not for lack of trying. Indeed, the number of performing hopefuls gets longer with each event, and some hail from more challenging origins than others—but in the end, few have the necessary chops to keep getting back up when they fall. You might even say that, for a performer hoping to turn pro, it can take a lot of falling before you learn to fly.

That doesn’t keep the imagery and allure of professional stage performance from being glamourous or energizing. Like anything, earning a place among the best takes dedication to a daily practice, the will to hone your craft, and (dare I say it) a bit of sacrifice. Some contribute all that and still don’t achieve their dreams.

To find out what it takes to become a hero among pro entertainers, we collected advice from eight of the brightest luminaries on our most iconic stages. They all had gems worth sharing—specifically for those at the precipice of a career in stage performance.

BRITTANY QUIDANG
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Specialty: Belly + Fire Dancer
Years Performing: 6
First Insomniac Event: Beyond Wonderland
Favorite Insomniac Event: EDC
Advice:
“Performing is more than just a dance. It’s an interactive journey crafted to inspire, entertain, and mesmerize through radical dramatic expression. At the end of the day, we all school each other. Training, classes, and education are important for developing, maintaining, and improving your skills in dance. Whether you train alone or with a group, it is a practice that should be prioritized to keep you progressing as an artist. Still, regardless of any training or technicalities, what truly makes performance an art is the performer’s ability to exercise passion, intention, confidence, and presence. As a performer, as an artist, even as a human being, these are the virtues we should uphold throughout our lives; they are keys to unlocking our fullest potential.”

 

CERENE SHEPARD
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Years Performing: 6
Specialty: Acting Character + Dancer
First Insomniac Event: EDC Mexico
Favorite Insomniac Event: Middlelands or EDC Las Vegas
Advice:
“A great performance doesn’t start and stop with the stage. Strong performers make efforts to be multitalented within their performance skills. They spend just as much time in a classroom as they do on a stage. Try training in improv theater, dance, or physical comedy—any skill that helps you connect with an audience and get out of your comfort zone. This will help you slow down and step outside yourself in stressful situations. You will become more observant, both on and offstage. Being a strong performer has a lot to do with being present—present with Headliners or other performers—and connecting as a team to create unforgettable experiences that are relatable and noticeable.”

 

CHRIS PURDY

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Years Performing: 11
Specialty: Cirque Acrobat + LED Trampoline
First Insomniac Event: Nocturnal Wonderland 2006
Favorite Insomniac Event: EDC Japan
Advice:
“Ruthlessly attack your weaknesses. Treat your passion, art, and body as a single tool you constantly have to sharpen, polish, upgrade, and maintain. Then, perform like it’s your very last show, without breaking character.”

 

EMMA BYERS
Hometown: Pleasant Gap, PA
Years Performing: 5
Specialty: Aeralist + Stuntwoman
First Insomniac Event: EDC Las Vegas 2016
Favorite Insomniac Event: Dreamstate
Advice:
“Always be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new or take a chance! Those challenging experiences have helped me grow as a performer more than anything else.”

 

GALE FORCE
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Years Performing: 13
Specialty: Aerialist, Stilts + Fire
First Insomniac Event: EDC Las Vegas 2015
Favorite Insomniac Event: Escape: Psycho Circus
Advice:
“Ninety percent of your job as a performer is showing up to practice—to the audition, to the gig. Show up with your whole body, mind and spirit, and the rest will sort itself out. There was a time when even the word ‘audition’ would give me so much anxiety and have me running for the hills, but I have since learned that auditions can be some of the most powerful learning experiences out there, and I’m so grateful for that. How lucky we are as artists to feel things so intensely!”

 

ROGER FOJAS
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Years Performing: 12
Specialty: Acting Character
First Insomniac Event: EDC Los Angeles 2003
Favorite Insomniac Event: Escape: Psycho Circus
Advice:
“Trust your magic. Let it flow. Imagination will follow.”

 

SUPERTALLPAUL
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Years Performing: 16
Specialty: Musician + Entertainer
First Insomniac Event: Nocturnal Wonderland 1998
Favorite Insomniac Event: Middlelands
Advice:
“Wear the face of confidence, whether or not you are confident. Embrace the unexpected. Improvising through an uncomfortable, unplanned performance moment can oftentimes generate a better, more memorable, and connected experience for the audience. Do what you love, without focusing on the money. Be an artist of life, and that flow will spill out in the show.”

 

 

ZACHARY EGAN (ZE)
Hometown: Denver, CO
Years as a Professional Performer: 11
Specialty: Stilting Clown
First Insomniac Event: EDC Colorado
Favorite Insomniac Event: EDC Japan or EDC Mexico
Advice:
“Every second you are out performing, you are creating moments that will make another person’s whole day—from the Headliners to the cops, chefs, DJs, and cleaning crew. You create your environment, so make it a great one for everyone!”


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