Category Archives: Circus

One by one, the story of an act – The abandoned bride

The most well-known and if necessary to choose my “signature” act.

This act was born back somewhere around 2006-2007 as a striptease act, at that point the dress was nothing like it is now, was more like a gothic lolita striptease act. (whatdoyouknow)

I remember being very excited about the idea, when other strippers told me it was waa-aaay overused and I shouldn’t do it, cuz it won’t be cool…You bet, I did it anyway.

Music choices went evolving (from White wedding to Rob Zombie), and I found THE WEDDING DRESS in a Hungarian second hand shop (Ruhagaléria rulez!) for 40-50 euros approx back in whichever year.

By 2009 it was one important act of mine with the biggest costume I had, performed on pole.

Then came the 2010 London Burlesque Festival, which I took as an opportunity to showcase something new (a skill) and renewed (this number) and challenge myself.

I added a Bibian Blue corset to the already huge dress and a lingerie like silks dress (which I changed for a better one later) and made one huge decision.

Create an aerial silks piece…

You might have noticed that my main discipline is aerial silk, this is where it all started.

During the first year I was not inspired by this apparatus at all, I saw similar tricks and it just never got to me.

Yet, I decided to change this pole act into a silks act to vary and challenge.

Silks are harder than you would think, but 3 months later I had the initial act.

First time performed at LBF 2010.

Here is the video:

I never decided to retire this video, as I believe it was a fairly good performance for only 3 months of silks training.

There I realized something.

Silks take away my enormous fear of heights.

(on hoop I consider myself still quite limitated as of height – more on this in another post)

Needless to say, this act was a blast, is a blast, it is a great act. The public loves it, I love it, it is me inside and out. My darkness of the soul in it’s simplest form.

Clear and just enough stereotipical to be digestable to everyone, yet not too much of an only burlesque topic.

Over the years I kept doing it on pole, mostly in Barcelona and in the Palais Mascotte, and sometimes due to lack of high enough rigging on aerial hoop.

Here is another video from the 2011 Barcelona Burlesque Festival, where lacking proper rigging at the time, I had to improvise the whole on the hoop.

(I was to omit this part due to too personal, but I guess the whole artistic process is already is too personal)

Well, at that point I hated every move of mine, but looking back  it was not that terrible. Still I was so tangled up in my shitty relationship, that it took over a year and a break-up to focus and pull my ass together and train harder and better.

By 2012 summer I decided to pull my head out of my ass and also watched some of my videos (oh yes, do that!!!) to realize that instead of creating new I should clean up my skills and style.

Then came break-up and drama and just vomiting it on Facebook for a while, bitterness, blablabla.

BUT! On the meanwhile, I worked my ass off saved up money and decided to take some months off and start training hard.

So from 2012 November up until about 2013 March I was not performing, just training and figuring out what I wanted next.

In 2013 I had another break-up, now with the new circus company I was with and from one day to another I decided to move back to Barcelona, because Budapest was a dead end.

To start with I was renewing my Black Clown act, so by May, when I performed in LBF, this act was still and sadly improvised as I had no time to finish the two new choreographies…

Here you see, too improvised, off the music and crappy, and obviously the only time when I constantly tangled with the silk… (The curse of the video)

You might ask why I did not stick to the original choreography… good question, I guess I wanted to show off new tricks and did not think too much…

After seeing myself, I was terrified, I did not like what I saw at all once again.

Back to training, fixing, practicing…

Until November, when the World Burlesque Games were on… (more in another post on “competing”)

I was so ready, it was so on the music, I was feeling it so much… Crowd going crazy, etc. (If I was to see I would surely think otherwise)

I made sure a friend come to film Tish von Devil, but he could not stay for the second show, then I thought OK, surely there will be an official footage (Saw the dude filming in the middle)

Then the curse of the video worked its magic!!!

YES!!! No fucking video!!! No fucking way!!!

Then I was arranging for a proper video with big height and by the time I could have done it… I got pregnant!

Now I guess is the new time…

 

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Why Barcelona?

Out of my many references you can deduce how Barcelona is not the right city for the average burlesque performer. How much I tend to agonise as the artist whose talents has not fully been recognized just yet. Between function and fashion, as you know…

So the question arise, out of what intolerable perversion do I live in Barcelona?

As a burlesque artist, full timer, I would most likely choose another city, and country.

As a circus artist I would choose no other city, than Barcelona.

To begin with, I surely had to end up here. This place made me fall in love with pole dance and aerials, and at their time was the finest place to start my journey in both fields.

In 2006, this was the European city for pole dancers, that did not shame stripping with the dancers of the infamous Bailen 22 on Tv every week and on posters around the city. Strip-art.

Circus was booming in squats forever, but it took me until 2009 to pullmy shit together to do it.

The circus scene

I seriously get to see the most original and inspiring stuff… in squats and hippie places. Full house cabaret, loads of people, yet, when performing we split and get 20-30 euros each. Which nobody cares, as we don’t do it for the money. I still should do more of these shows.

The training

I was an everyday goer to “La Nave”, and I am sorry for not contributing to it, before it closed.

Now… not now as pregnant, but in general I train at La central del circ. Superpro place, 9 meters, pro as pro it can be. Great ambient to train in. Clean, warm, nice.

The cheapest city

Well, I tell you, for me it is cheaper to live here than in Hungary.

Food

Fresh, lots of bio stores and markets for fresh everything.

Rent

Is not that cheap thought, if we consider room prices. Entire flats are Ok, yet here I scored again, I rent and renovate 200 m2 studio, home and future workplace.

Textiles and accessories

The Encantes, Ribes y Casals, Teixits Donna, etc. All you might want. Cheaper than in Hungary, a lot. Lycra prices in Hungary are outrageous to be honest…

For accessories nothing can beat the chinese stores, literally on every second corner. Buying skin colored fishnets 20 minutes before going on stage next to the theater and cheap is just priceless.

The Voliére experience – The job of an artistic director – vol. 3.

The job of an artistic director

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artistic_director

There you have it, what it should be or could be.

So who was she, our “artistic director”?

Let’s be politically correct and skip my personal opinion on her personality.
(+*&^%$@@4?/®÷×_<{± and so on, as you guess)

It was her big chance of making something now, something to show for before retireting and trying to have a baby…
(These ladies that think a baby can make up for their unfulfilled lives *sigh*)

Stating the obvious, she has hardly seen a theater or variety inside, not even as an audience member, least as an artist.

She promised a picture perfect broadway show with cirque du soleil class circus in it to an equally ignorant owner (he owns whorehouses otherwise)

She had no idea what her job was and she failed it every corner of the way.

She was spiced up with all imaginable insecurities, numbed back down with weed and alcohol.

On rehearsals she was more occupied of trying to show off with the pole or on the hoop (she never hold one before) than doing her actual job.

Her way of treating people was plain abuse downwards (which should never be, not even with an animal) and mad ass-kissing and pretending upwards, also showing off with other people's merits.

Let’s see the job closer

From what I saw from the past, rather than qualifications, you need a sense, talent and taste, but most of all hard work to do this job.

In burlesque the artistic directors I mostly work with are also performers, and performers of the same genre. Outside of their genre, they let themselves guided by the ones who areprofessionals, that is, they understands the needs of a burlesque artist, while they carefully consult over rigging with an aerialist or safety with a fire performer, etc.

Running order

They do not put a show together just sucking the running order out of their fingers.

People need to change, warm up and cool down, drink a sip.

In the case of most burlesque shows and variety style shows, the individual numbers are linked together with a compere, there is not necessarily a written plot.

If the show is theatrical play like, there might be plot or a storyline built up.

In both cases, if you work with a limited amount of performers, that have reoccuring roles on stage, you need to plan the timing according to the needs of changes (for example: character or costume) to be made during the plot.

Other consideration should be variety (in the strict sense of the word), so not put two numbers of the same or similar style after each other.

Well, here we were supposed to leave the stage to change costumes (thigths and gloves included) and get back on in 20 sec, just having finished our aerial duo. We obviously could not make it…oh, did you ask? No, we did not have people helping us dress.

Was she a director?

No, not by profession, either by talent.

Was she a coreographer?

Same negative answer, I think my grandmother would have been more effective teaching a coreography than her. She was constantly yelling, instead of counting we got “plass plass and bumm”s. Correcting and recorrecting the same thing back again. Not being able to show the same move twice same way either, but yelling if we didn’t get it right.

Was she a dancer?

There is a difference between having skills to dance and selling that you have skills to dance, in the second option you might also lack the actual skill or only have some.

I need to admit, I had her raised on a piedestal in the past, but memories tricked me, I saw her now and there was nothing of that divinity. Not because she lost it, but rather because it has never been there. She was trash, she was insecure, she was eager to proove she could, but she could not.

She was a graceful stripper, great pole dancer as of 2006 (when pulling an aysha was OMG!) Once she did rythmic gymnastics. Fact.

My glasses of the wannabe stripper fell, and I could see the reality.

Big dreams
(Too big)

She dreamed big. She visioned a broadway show cirque du soleil crossover.

She dreamed aerials, aerial hoop, aerial silks, trapeze, spinning pole, aerial hammock… All high quality, spiced with motorised movements and flights… On a height of 4.5 meters and 5 m wide stage… (For the less circusy reader, that would leave you with hoop and pole, as other disciplines need more height, if we talk quality)

She dreamed a weekly change of theme of 4 different themes. Namely cabaret, flamenco, circus, futurist.
Cabaret, because she saw Cabaret, Victor Victoria and Chicago once.
Flamenco, because it was a tourists’ must, not her choice.
Circus, because we were circus artists, but she had no idea of this theme.
Futurist, because she saw Step up wichever, with the glowing ballet dancers and the coming out of the wall body paintings.
As you can see, all original, all new ideas on a brand new take, innovation up your ass…

She dreamed a team whose superhero powers doesn’t require days off to rest. Neither regular hidration, nor proper food.

She dreamed two, two hours each of shows a night.

All this paying a casual gogo dancer’s salary to the acrobats a day. 120 euros, underline! (and slap me in the face if I ever consider this sum acceptable ever for aerials…)

She dreamed wild success and a job offer in the 3 upcoming months from El Molino Barcelona or such.

She also dreamed that for all this she just had to sit back and light her pot acommpanied by a daiquiry.

She made everyone else do all the aspects of her supposed job. That mostly me, at the beginning then after that our coreographer.

Costumes

Generally the last rehearsals should go with costumes, any fucking where, (except for a burlesque show, where performers already had that about a 1000 times, one would suppose…)

The costumes arrived, like 2 days before premier or less.

She asked us to provide our own dance-skin type tights, white and black tight with all matching black and white garder belts, black and white, black frilly underwear for “mein herr”, big holed fishnet thigh high black stockings, plain black fishnets, etc.

All this being told during the last week of rehearsals, with no free time and no shops selling these items in the nearby.

Surely, a “real professional” should have all this already.

I was to have most of it, providing two frilly undergarments even, but still, white fucking garder belts? White over the knee tights? Last minute?
Obviously a single pair does not work, because to begin with we were 3-4 girls needing each item at a time, so that would go by buying 8 pairs.

Bcn is cheap, but fishnets go around 3-5 euros, frilly underwear 6-8 euros, tights 3-10 euros, garder belts 5-10 euros all depending if you get lucky to buy it in your corrner chinese store, because buying in a higher end store means having to spend 3x more.

So you start the work with min. 30-50 euros loss in material you might never ever use again (fishnets in burlesque is quite a generally accepted nono)

The made costumes were not matching anyone, since noone ever asked for our measurements.

Some were unusable, like our “By-bye blackbird” coreography jackets. These were jackets bought at any sale store, with a badly sewn in velcro in the back. Taking a proper 1.5 size down. So whenever we opened our arms the jacket opened wide open on our backs. No time to fix anything, no sewing machine, either anyone to do it. (At this time I was still hand sewing and fixing what I could, until the directorrissima thought, that instead of thanking me, telling me to shut up and stop critizing our very professional “costumier” was something suitable, so I stopped.)

Shoes

In the middle of dance school show season, we were sent to try shoes the weekend before. Well, no shop had the matching 5 pairs of black dance shoes already, including 3 pairs of 36 and one of 41 size, which was the hardest to find, and did not happen.
Best moment was calling the directorissima and passing her on the phone to the shopkeeper lady, she requested giving us the shoes without paying and that in two days the boss would come and pay for them, on the basis of youknowwhoIam, which they had no idea of.

Technicals

Motor. Failing. All. The. Time.

The so called motor was life threatening to us. Hitting the floor was a constant threat. Start and stop had more movement and shake than the length of the actual rope involved.

Professional aerial arts motors are somewhat costy, so they got cheap industrial ones. These get jammed, are not licensed to hang people from them. (In Spain nobody gives a damn)

Million and one cheaper solutions, pulley? Or fixed rigging?

Oh, did I mention that the structure to begin with either was quite made for this.

We ended up having 3 stage managers including the her, but still no stage courtain got to open and close when needed, no motor working when needed, and we were requested to collect our clothing ourselves. Glamurous that is.

Lady, and others with a smoke in their mouth on that 4 m2 behing the stage and between the dressing room, that had a single curtain to protect itself.

4 circus artists, no actual m2 to stretch, or warm up. Sure, we solved this too.

And after each and every show she came on stage with us to take her bow and collect the applauses of a puzzled mini audience, who wondered who the hell was her…

One by one – the story of an act

The Evil Queen

Snow White and the seven dwarfs, and her evil step-mother is where the story began.

I debuted this act, as my very first aerial hoop act as well, on the 2009 London Burlesque Festival.

As we know, my journey as of an “international” performer began there, and the slight change of genre went from being called a stripper to be a burlesque artist. I pretty much did burlesque from 2006,
it was just not called that way that time in Spain.
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(Wtf with that look?, circa 2009)

I believe this act to be born out of my many inspirations from Mierkoles. We spent endless hours making up new shows and new costumes in our head, mostly stripper themes, but with a little of our darkness to it.

At the beginning I was more the lot less sinister of us two, so I could truly embrace the whole idea and fine styling of burlesque. I was called to do burlesque themed gigs already.

Aerial hoop came into the picture after long years of harvesting the circus ambitions in me, although at this point I never expected to become a full-time circus girl, mostly because I never thought I had this much in me and being a stripper involved way too much pot, and that really numbs you away from training.

So by the time I applied I knew what the act was to be, and I had 3 months till april to make something out of it.

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The first version of the act was, that the Evil queen enters the stages gives out her apples to the public, then has her encounter with the mirror, that tells her she was not the fairest, and so great reason to strip and hang on a hoop, come down and die.

Since my music cutting skills were none, I chose a version of Summertime of Artie Shaw, which has an interesting suspense tune in it. So no music cutting.

Sure, this version was shit. Looking from now. Amateur, low hoop skills, etc.

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(yup, as beginner as it seems)

The stage part I made it up on the go, really, I went on an international stage without ever rehearsing my steps, only the hoop part had a “coreography”, but you bet, that is mostly how I roll up till this day. I guess I was more stupid than brave. Oh, and never tried the tiny corset on the hoop (FAIL) and I still saved it, actually I think my legs and splits saved the act.

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(that split)

For my great surprice, I was full of bookings right after the festival.

There I realized, this would not work with an audience that was further away, I mean apples are pretty hard to be hit in the head with…

Later I tried a version, where I was poisoning the apples with green poison and needle. Changed the music to Jill Tracy’s Fine art of poisoning. Yet here I realized that in a bigger theater noone would see me doing the needle thing, being way too little of motion, so there went the music choice with it…

I needed something strong and evil as of music. I also wanted to make sure that the audience gets, who the hell I represent.

I wanted to cut the actual sound of the mirror in my act. Here, I had more skills in garageband.

I got a nice black cape, with the high collar, that eventually turned into black isis wings.
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(2014, LBF)

The aerial hoop turned into aerial hammock. And the music changed totally.
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(2012-ish, Hootchy kootchy roadshow)

Now it has a first part with isis wings, then the sounds of the mirror and the queen and the aerial hammock part. (also a fully aerial free version).
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I still wanna fix a free hanging ikea framed mirror (you know the one in every tattoo shop), but still have not got to it.
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So here I leave you with a link to the aerial free version. (from minute 14.)

London Burlesque Festival Allstarts

(yes, there is a lot to criticise in this act, I know…)

Pics by Joanna Kor from the 2014 London Burlesque Festival:

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Dressmaking

This might be shameless self promotion or just a couple of thougths thrown together about my long awaited new project.

Aerial costume making

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As a self taught dressmaker (and pretty much self taught anything else) I started to sew aerial costumes around 2010 for my own acts. Before that I’ve seen too many crappy, not-well done and also overpriced pieces of costume, mostly in the stripper world, but also in the circus scene, here the not well done, poorly designed costumes.

Here’s a great read about circus costumes, says it all.

http://www.laurawitwer.com/2011/10/06/cirque-costumes-not-to-be-confused-with-your-underwear/

I remember seeing my friend’s new costumes by a well recognised Bcn costume maker from the strippy circuits, that costed her each 200-300 euros plus, with zigzag stitches all over the place, but to such extent, that I wondered how a “professional” can charge for that, while your mother does a better job on a broken pedal singer from the 50’s. And my friend after spending this money trying to fix these leotards that just didn’t seem to fit anywhere. (I mean a lycra onesie, not a metalic corset…)

I also remember fixing messes right before stage time for friends during pole shows.

So since my first pieces were heavily complimented and also borrowed for photo sessions, and proved to be durable, against the fact that I really can’t be bothered to do my dresses on a professional level, although I can. I figured that at some point I should think about selling costumes.

Throwbacks

Circa 2007-2008. I accepted some proposals from strippers to make costumes.

Summing it up:

NEVER WORK FOR STRIPPERS.

Rude, pushy, pain in the ass bitches trying to convince how another costumist just did a whole nicer, bigger, better piece for a sum of money, that would not even cover the textile… Did I mention, that they are never content with the results either?

That.

I commited my errors and learned, so althought I am well capable to create or copy a design upon request, I decided not to. It is a comfort zone thing. I shall leave moving out of mine for high flying aerial work, not for dressmaking.

Now to share my titbits and methods.

Insight

I always loved lace, lingerie, burlesque, pasties and semi-transparence. I always disliked lycra.

Lycra gives that figure skater / rythmic gymnastic feel.

I am damn great in decoration, pearling and also embroidery.

So, my main designs go with the materials I love.

Pearling I might leave for special requests as if I was to charge by the working hour nobody would pay the due price.

I figured out pretty soon after making my first piece that lace itself is just not thick enough to prevent burnings on the silk, but as we know, I dislike lycra, so I was looking for another fabric to back my lace material up and save myself from burns.

The one best working for me is elastic tull, it’s solf and added as an under layer to the lace also has a more skin like texture. (with the advantage of not making you sweat like a pig on a hot summer gig – like lycra would)

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Since I had to start with a home sewing machine, I figured out ways to make my stitches more stretchy instead of going for the general zigzag (blahhh, zigzag is like the signature of unprofessional), the one zigzag I use is the triple zigzag stitch, that you can generally see on lingerie, hence my liking of using it over lace endings.

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Now I own an industrial overlock… (which was considered garbage, before I took an afternoon to clean it), my good old (17 years with momma) brother home sewing machine and a cover stitch machine under renovation.

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Let me not lie. I am not good with straight lines, I have over 17 years using sewing machines and I still fuck it up. So I avoid them and as I don’t want to sew corsetry I guess I can get away with this.

What can you expect from my produce?

Durability.

Even my shittily sewn ones are keeping up with the shows.

Strength.

So they won’t fall into a million pieces during your first rehearsal. Mostly double secured endings and a lot more hidden rubberband that you can imagine so ends don’t get wobbly and wavy after two washes, and hopefully won’t cause a tit blink out ruining an outstanding contorsion move in 10 meters high.

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Detailed work.

(my costume making dream come true would be a fully pearled bodysuit…. payed by the hour of course)

Nice insides and ending.

Nope, you won’t see zigzag, where overlock should go, no way.

Call me overpriced, but I won’t underprice never no more.

I will still be figuring my way with the cover stitch machine, but I realized since my other methods worked I could throw myself in the market.

Here’s the link:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Honeycupflywear

Xxx