The First Time
So the best of all my stories was definitely the very first of them. I know it seems like a waste to put it first in the blog post but it has really set the tone and tolerance for everything else that follows and it still makes me shake my head and laugh.
My very first gig as a professional dancer was booked last minute, of course, and on the beach, or so I was told. Well it was on the beach sort of, it was on the deck by the public restrooms for the beach. Oh and I thought using wings was a good idea (facepalm and then live and learn).
It was a family party for two gentlemen who were celebrating their birthdays and they were very very drunk. So drunk that at some point they decided to grab a pepper shaker and try to cover me in pepper, let me repeat that…tried to cover me in pepper. I am not joking and no I don’t know why, maybe some sort of inside joke. Shortly after that, the public safety officers showed up and then decided to join in on some almost inappropriate and deffintely uncomfortable photo time. As so begain the err…”seasoning” of my professional belly dance career.
Toddlers and Scimitars
My favorite way to get hired for parties is by people who see me perform at an even and then want to hire me for theirs. That is how this particular story started. The client saw me dance with a sword at a birthday party and had to have the sword dance at his party.
As I started to discuss the event in more depth with him, I discovered the party was for his two year old daughter’s birthday. Hard stop right there. Toddlers + Sword = Bad idea. He assured me repeatedly that the kids would be outside and the show was for the parents. (See why this is an important distinction HERE) Day of I get to the event to a very unhappy and surprised wife, apparently he didn’t tell her about the show until that morning.
The changing space was in a public area pool women’s restroom. He came into the restroom to harass me about when the show would start, despite me arriving early. He did this repeatedly. Then he gave my assistant a hard time and wouldn’t let me into the room with the adults. I ended up trapped ina small section of a room next to a pool table. Oh did I mention that no the children were not outside?
No rather they were allowed to run around loose and chaotic. I love children at gigs but this was the first experience I have ever had with parents completely checking out and allowing anything to go including pulling on my skirts and props. I switched gears in my show to make it child orientated and the rest of it went off without a hitch, minus one free roaming toddler during a much modified sword number. Needless to say this event left a lasting impression on me about stressing the difference between regular shows and shows specially designed for children.
Dancing to an “Empty” Room
This is probably one of the most dreaded experiences that every dancer faces at one point or another, dancing for a room that is full of people who want absolutely nothing to do with you. I have been very lucky that this was the only time thus far that this has happened to me. I went to dance two shows at a hookah lounge and found it packed with mixed ages and ethnicities. Sounds like it should be a great show.
1 set starts and not one person wants anything to do with belly dance, at all, not even a little. No eye contact and turning bodies physically away. Tons of fun of course but as a professional you smile and trudged on. Luckily the tables switched over between sets and the second had a little bit of a better crowd. I left with super disgusting feet to boot. Lesson: wear shoes silly!
Remember that Time When…
(A quick little list of some one offs that don’t need to be a paragraph essay)
…I shared a house party with a Santa…
…I taught a girls day out party out in the summer sun…
…I came barreling out in an entrance and missed the step down, fell and twisted my ankle…
…the birthday boy almost ruined the surprise by hovering around my car as I was getting out and then the front lawn and I had to ninja weave behind him…
….there were dogs running around and being part of the show too…
I know I was so close to hitting the August mark too but I had some projects that needed wrapping up. I hope you enjoyed some of my gig antic stories and I am sure there will be more to come. Have a topic you want me to address? Let me know HERE or the comments below. If you are looking for Long Island entertainment please make sure to check out my hire page HERE.
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