Your hands are the paintbrush, your imagination is the canvas…
If you have ever been to an electronic music event, you have probably seen this common sight – excited festival-goers giving and getting light shows with giant smiles on their faces, hitting every beat and bringing a visual experience to the sounds of the music on stage. But what exactly is gloving? And why are so many people interested in light shows?
Gloving fuses dance and visual arts, bringing the joy of performance to all those who pick it up.
What Are Those Things You’re Waving In My Face?
Born from a mix of dance styles such as hip-hop, tutting and more traditional flow arts like glow sticking and poi, gloving is a true melting pot of different cultures and performance styles. Utilizing highly-advanced microlights on your fingertips hidden under the sheath of white gloves, glovers manipulate visual space and strive to create the illusion of a seamless light show that matches perfectly with the sounds of music. Put simply, gloving is a dance form that draws from a ton of other influences and mixes them together for a 100% unique performance experience.
How Do The Gloves Work?
One of my favorite aspects of gloving is the idea of self-expression meeting technology. Back when it all started, glovers would outfit their hands with clunky keychain lights from Target with pretty much the only feature being the ability to turn them on and off. Over time, the microlights in the gloves quickly advanced, becoming the main ‘brain’ of what controls the flashing patterns of the lights as you give a show.
Most glovers perform with individual chips on each of their fingers. They’re technically wearing 10 powerful mini-computers on the tips of their hands! Microlights have gotten so advanced that beginners can easily program their own modes and colors with a pair of eLite ezLites, control their color brightness settings with the eLite Chroma24s and even experiment with accelerometer-based motion control with the all new eLite Elements.
Of course, you don’t need the best lights on the market to throw a great light show, but you will be amazed at the power and technology that has been programmed into each chip.
Where Do People Glove?
Starting as a phenomenon born from the rave culture, gloving has exploded across the world and provided glovers with tons of new opportunities to perform and meet like-minded people. Weekly FNL (Friday Night Lights) events hosted across the country, BOSS and IGC Gloving Competitions for glovers to compete, festivals, clubs and even amusement parks have all become home to glovers of all ages and experience levels to meet up and perform. Gloving is special because it is extremely accessible and can be performed virtually anywhere in the dark, or you can even take your gloves off and just wiggle your hands to practice during the day. Whether you are on a school bus, at your work desk or just hanging out in front of a mirror, gloving is something that can be experienced anytime, anywhere.
Why are Gloving and Other Flow Arts Banned at Some Festivals?
Gloving – along with many other flow arts – is banned at certain events due to a variety of complex rules and regulations. The bottom line is it is up to the promoter throwing the event whether light shows are allowed, and unfortunately many view it as a fire and safety hazard (glovers giving shows sitting down, poi spinners spinning in small areas, etc.) that can potentially cause problems to the people throwing the events. Remember to always check the rules before going to a new venue or show, and if you were to accidently bring them in somewhere they are not allowed, be courteous to venue staff and security guards if you are asked to put them away.
Why Should I Glove?
Simple answer – you don’t have to! Gloving is just one of the many ways people choose to dance and express themselves at festivals and raves. With that said, hundreds of thousands of people have tried on a pair of LED gloves and have not taken them off since. To many glovers, there is no better feeling than performing for a crowd of a couple dozen onlookers at a festival and seeing the joy you bring to them after performing a show. Some dancers use the gloves to stylize certain performances and take their dancing to the next level. Many people – including myself – have two left feet when it comes to traditional dancing, and gloving gives us an opportunity to feel the magic of performing and progressing towards getting better. At the end of the day the most important thing with any hobby is that you enjoy it and are having FUN.
So How Do I Get Started?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…you don’t necessarily need a pair of gloves to get started! Try watching some beginner tutorials and getting used the movements before you take the plunge for your first set. When you feel like you’re ready, grab a Classic Set or pair of eLite ezLites and have a blast. It takes time to build up your skills, but the most important thing to remember that gloving – much like life – is a journey, and everyone starts and learns at their own pace. It may take a bit of time before you’re gloving like the pros, but the experience of picking something new up, progressing and mastering the art is fun in itself, and it will stay with you forever.
You Can Learn More About Gloving and Getting Started Here: http://www.emazinglights.com/start-gloving
Recently featured on ABC's hit show Shark Tank, Brian is a serial entrepreneur that bootstrapped EmazingLights.com | iHeartRaves.com | IntoTheAM.com into a multi-million dollar operation. It all started wtih selling LED gloves out of the trunk of his car in the hopes that he could share and grow the art of Gloving to a worldwide audience. He has been spreading love and appreciation for EDM culture at festivals since 2009.