Tis the season to go Zen! Ever wish you could do some of the tricks our performers do on a daily basis? Got a circus fan at home dying to get in on the action? Obviously booking your own personal Zen Arts performance would be the ideal holiday gift (*wink wink*). And the next best thing would be an extravagant trip to Vegas to catch any one of 7 Cirque du Soleil spectaculars, all of which are probably already sold out for the next 3 months. But for the rest of us fixed-income people living on a budget, we’ve compiled a list of great gift ideas sure to light up that circus lover’s eyes this holiday season.
1. Glow Poi – Unlike regular fire poi, which can be dangerous in the hands of the novice performer, glow poi utilize low-heat LED lights, perfect for that fire dancer in training. Best of all they are easy to assemble and operate; just pop in a couple of AA batteries and find some space in a dark room. Glow poi create amazing nighttime light shows with incredible effects and an infinite possibility of tricks. LED bulbs last tens of thousands of hours, meaning by the time your glow poi is ready for a bulb replacement, you’ll be ready for the real thing. Best of all glow poi come in a variety of colors and styles, so it’s easy to find one to match the personality of your poi lover at home. Prices for glow poi range anywhere from $10 to $75 dollars, with a decent set averaging within the $25 to $35 dollar range. For some great online glow poi deals be sure to check out Glopoi.com, Home of Poi, and Light Up and Juggle.
2. Stilts – If you’re little ringleader dreams of walking above the crowd, then there’s no better gift than a set of stilts. Ranging from the good old-fashioned hand-held stilts, to peg stilts, to jumping stilts, prices for this gift idea stretch anywhere from $35 to $275. In addition to being affordable and fun, stilts are a great form of exercise, mixing light cardio with strength conditioning, balance, and coordination. For the beginning stiltwalker we recommend the easiest variation which is the hand-held stilt. If you’re looking for junior then look no further than Amazon for some great deals on Geospace and Hijax kid stilts. For the more advanced peg and jumping stilts check out PegStilts.com, Air-Trekkers, or Poweriser.
3. Aerialist Classes – It’s rather difficult and expensive to set up the proper acrobatic equipment, rigging, and safety nets at home, so why not enroll in a class. After all if Carrie Bradshaw can do it, then why not you! Trapeze and aerialist classes are very popular these days, with local deals popping up constantly on discount sites like Groupon and Living Social. If your circus fan dreams of dangling precariously in the air, there’s no need to call a psychiatrist. A package of lessons from a local acrobatic school makes a great holiday gift for an aspiring aerialist. Most packages range anywhere from $25 to $35 for a single class, or rates as low as $15 a class for package deals and multiple-class purchases. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, check out Cirque School LA, The Aerial Classroom, Hollywood Aerial Arts, or Trapeze School New York: Los Angeles. Who knows…with enough practice your amateur aerialist could be performing for Zen Arts someday!
4. At-Home Pole Dancing – What started out as a largely female-based risqué form of entertainment, has grown into a worldwide dual-gendered competitive sport. Whether for fitness purposes, competitive purposes, or simply to discover that inner sex kitten, an at-home pole is the ideal gift for fans of the sport. And if you’re a little embarrassed to have a pole permanently stationed in the middle of your living room, fret not my friend. Today’s poles come in easy to install portable varieties, with no drilling of holes required in your ceiling or your floor, so you can pack it away at the end of your practice session. Using adjustable compression, portable poles stay in place with pressure pushing against the ceiling and the floor. Poles also come in stationary and spinning versions. Xpole, one of the leaders in pole manufacturing, starts their poles at $329.99, but right now at The Pole Dancing Shop you can find an Xpole for only $249.95. For other discount pole sites check out Platinum Stages and The Hussy Store. And of course if you’re willing to fight for it, there’s always great deals on EBay.
5. Airbrush Gun – Does your circus fan got an artistic flair? An airbrush gun might just be the perfect gift to nurture their talent. Whether they’d like to practice on canvas, costumes, or skin, an airbrushing kit is an essential part of every circus, providing the make-up and presentational details needed for an exquisite display. Although you can shop around and look for parts separately (e.g. air pressurizer, airgun, nozzle, paints, etc.), many sites offer pre-assembled kits that would be great for a novice artist. Sites like Airbrush Depot have beginner airbrush kits starting as low as $49.99. And Amazon is currently offering a Paasche single-action airbrush kit for only $151.21, over 40% off the original retail price.
6. Belly Dancing Kit – If your loved one is a world traveler and lover of all things exotic, then an introduction to belly dancing would be a wonderful gift idea. Starting in the ancient Middle East and eventually spreading to the entire world today, belly dancing has become a very popular practice in recent years for its health benefits. It is a low-impact, total-body workout that strengthens the muscles of the body, increases flexibility, improves posture, increases circulation, and burns anywhere from 300-500 calories an hour. For beginners, there are three major belly dancing kits available on the market today, each with an instruction book, dvd, and finger cymbals, and each under $20 right now on Amazon: Carolena Nericcio’s The Art of Belly Dancing Kit, Sherrie Jeffries’ Belly Dancing Book & Kit, and Melanie Votaw’s The Art of Belly Dancing. Top it off with an affordable hip scarf or veil from Miss Belly Dance and you’ve got the best groundwork for an aspiring belly dancer.
7. Iron Gym Bar – Whether you’ve got an aspiring aerialist, contortionist, or strongman in your home, nearly all our circus performers have to train their bodies to be in peak physical condition, and the Iron Gym is one of the best tools for that. With a very simple assembly, this 4-pieced metal contraption transforms into the ultimate money-saving, time-saving, at-home gym, allowing a variety of exercises to work out every muscle of the body including pull-ups, push-ups, chin-ups, sit-ups, and tricep dips. Lightweight and compact, this training utility can even be used to practice circus tricks such as L-sits and handstands. Currently Iron Gyms are selling on Amazon for $24.00, Buy.com for $25.99, and Target for $29.99. Can’t swing the Iron Gym, then opt for a set of good push-up bars, like these GoFit bars selling for $13.04 on Amazon.
8. Dancing Video Games – These days with advanced video game technology, there’s no need to enroll your tiny dancer into expensive and dated dance classes. With interactive video game systems such as the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 Kinect, learning the latest and hottest dance moves is as easy inserting a disc. Make sure to pick up some of our favorites, like The Black Eyed Peas Experience, now available at Wal-Mart for just $41.96, as well as Just Dance 3 selling for $37.96. For Kinect, which uses hands-free motion detection technology, be sure to pickup Dance Central 2 for only $48.93 right now on Amazon, or Michael Jackson The Experience listed at $35.65.
9. Vintage Circus Posters – For some, their love of all things circus extends only as far as appreciation, not participation. Any fan of vintage signage and circus memorabilia would love to receive a vintage circus poster to put up in their digs. Sites like Café Press and All Posters sell amazing vintage circus prints starting out at $19.99, or check out Zazzle for prints starting as low as $9.00. Ebay starting bids for similar posters typically start around $9.95 as well.
10. Sexy Clothes – For that special lady who’s been a little too naughty and not very nice, opt for a sexy outfit to spice up your bedroom funtivities. Whether you’re going for go-go, burlesque, or barely there, there are hundreds of online stores available where you can find that perfect getup for an enticing evening. For the burlesque look head over to eLeg Avenue and The Hussy Store for outfits starting as low as $32.50. For go-go, clubwear, and skimpy lingerie check out Upscale Stripper, Bad Kitty, and Spurst for outfits starting out at $18.99.