superdaintykate: (Default)
superdaintykate ([personal profile] superdaintykate) wrote2012-02-19 02:51 pm

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Had a good couple of gigs! Both had the potential to be epic disasters but neither did, which was a delightful surprise.

First was a private lesson for a "girls' night" party over on the island. I actually caught myself trying to lowball myself since everyone I teach normally on the island is broke-ass. I then snapped out of it and put a value on my services and time that I was comfortable with and was still marketable, pitched it to the client, and she bought it without blinking, so yay. (I knew I was on the right track when I suggested they do the lesson on Saturday afternoon, since I was going to be back Saturday night for the other gig and that would lower my fee, and she responded that, weather permitting, they would be taking a cruise, so Friday night was better. Right then. No price breaks needed, I see.)

I made a o.O face at my computer at one point -- I asked if there were any particular things she wanted to cover, and she responded hip lifts (fair enough), shimmies (okay, fine), shoulder and arm work (wow, that too, okay), belly rolls (hey now, getting kind of advanced), AND veils (full stop). AND CYMBALS (*head explodes*).

So I packed all my gear in to work, took off a little early (thanks, boss!) took the back way up to the island (sneaking around Woodinville to 405, instead of getting mired in the slog around Kirkland -- glad I tried it, keeping that trick for future reference) and didn't get lost. And made decent enough time that I was able to drive on to the ferry, thank god, because there was some nasty-ass cold rain happening at that point. Found that the ferry time is just long enough to put on Basic Bellydancer Face (sans eyelashes). Had a moment of alarm bells when I found the room at the hotel they had given me and heard male voices inside, so I backed out to the well-lit parking lot and hung by my car with my cell phone to make contact. Luckily, it was a case of sending the Husbands away to play poker while the Ladies had their lesson (they had rented an entire block of rooms here, I should have doubled my rates), so once that was sorted, we got down to business.

It was pretty much what I had expected, some ladies wanted to goof off, some were game, some were frustrated at the goofs because they really wanted to learn. We covered a lot of stuff and everyone laughed a lot and told me 1) they all had a great time, 2) had their eyes opened inre: bellydance (YES) and some 3) actually live in Woodinville, are familiar with Ottoman Bellydance, and are interested in taking classes there. Plus I got a tip on top of my fee that means that gig covers the deposit on my new costume. SUCCESS. Drove home, collapsed.

Side note: my jaw actually dropped when the hostess told me she had asked the Port of South Whidbey people for recommendations about various activites on the Island, and when she (somewhat jokingly) asked about bellydance lessons, my name came up immediately. What the heck? Well, all right! Thank you, Port of South Whidbey!)

Woke up the next morning to a delicious breakfast prepared by my most excellent husband and then packed up to go to the other island gig. I had been contacted a few weeks ago by the woman who owns the studio where I teach -- in her youth she was a dancer at the Moulin Rouge. The Northwest Language Academy was putting on a Belle-Epoque-themed event for Valentine's Day and she was assembling a floor show and asked if I'd be willing to join the festivities. Ever hopeful, I asked her what the budget was, and got the response I expected, which was "HA! BUDGET?!" but I was still intrigued, so I talked to the event organizer a little bit to get the feel of things. I decided to go ahead and do it, mostly because 1) I'd have a chance to do a theatrical but light piece, 2) work with live music, and 3) I had ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL over ANY of it. Which scared the crap out of me, so I knew I had to do it.

Bounced a few ideas off the planners about costumes and music, and got some challenging direction that would have made a sane person say "no, thank you" (they liked the songs I floated that didn't sound Middle-Eastern, I couldn't make any rehearsals because they were all held during business hours during the week, and my absinthe-based costume was vetoed because they wanted everyone to follow a black/red/purple theme). I put together an Indigo-inspired vintagey cabaretesque costume (assuit panels and halter from Domba, black velvet trumpet skirt from L Rose [from the sale rack! Though I need to take it in some, the XL is too big in this fabric], black and grey vertical-striped footless tights, and a red burnout-velvet scarf from Lane Bryant pinned to make a shrug). I teased my hair into a Gibson pomp and adorned the back of my head with half-a-dozen velvet-and-glitter rose hair clips I made ages ago from sale-bin flowers from Michaels. Topped off with some red jewels from Shiny Sparkly Things and was looking quite epic. Epoque?

I was able to make contact with the musicians about a week and a half ago, an accordionist and violinist. I asked if they could do anything Balkan/Klesmer, and they came back with this:

to which I said YES PLEASE.

I got all excited about it and then the accordionist said she couldn't play it fast. Sigh. But we went with it.

So I got packed up (which took longer than expected) and got to NWLA about 3 p.m. (cue more cold rain plus wind), and was met by an office worker as I pulled into the parking lot, asking me to go park in the event parking....a hundred yards away. Seriously? So I offloaded my gear (suitcase with costume, cooler with sammich, full-length mirror) in the office and overheard another office worker who was busy on a phone call mention something to the guy I was with about having performers park close by...and then the guy I was dealing with had me slog out to the event parking anyway. I should have said "hey, let's wait to see what this lady here has to say" but, well, I didn't. "Event Parking" was actually "angle parking off the main road in the mud", delightful. Did I mention it was raining?

But I got back to the locale and was shown to the room in the B&B portion of the Academy that was reserved for the dancers, and was able to put on my full makeup in an hour flat, which astonished me. Got into the base of my costume and made it downstairs for a little run-through, and then got together with the musicians and got music sorted, and it turned out they could play it to a pretty reasonable tempo, thank goodness.

The event itself seemed quite nice in a rich-white-folks kind of way, with a fronch dinner and a cabaret atmosphere, red velvet curtains and candles and red tulle everywhere. The dance troupe did a few numbers, with the organizer opening with Edith Piaf's "Milord", and then yielded the floor to a chanteuse during dinner service. The troupe then came back out for a great waltz and tango number, and then I got to do my piece. I ended up entering with a slow intro, making a show out of stirring an absinthe strainer in a glass and downing the contents, and then being swept away as the music picked up. The musicians did a fine job, I had hoped for some crisper stops but with their limited rehearsals I thought they were great. I finished as the musicians slowed down and got nice and oozy, picked up my glass and tapped it with the strainer as I gave a meaningful look to the bartender and walked off. The troupe then finished with a cancan, and then the chanteuse came back for a longer set. I stayed a while to get some folks up and dancing, and then went back to the room to change and came back down, hoping for leftovers. Everyone else had gotten a plate, so I wandered to the kitchen to see what was left...and the guy in the kitchen gestured vaguely at a tin of pate and some garlic toasts. Oh, honestly. Luckily, I wasn't terribly hungry, though I was a little pissed when the musicians came off to FULL PLATES, HOW STRANGE.

But. I got lots of compliments on my dance and the organizer gushed over me and asked me back for next year's event (and will be sending me a check for travel costs), so we'll see how that goes.

And now I have to comb all of this product out of my hair and put a whole bunch of shit away.

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