Tag Archives: art

The taste of success

“El éxito no tiene sabor ni olor y cuando te acostumbras es como si no existiera.”

The Past

At the very beginning I had the luck to kickstart my aerial and burlesque career at the LBF in 2009. I achieved a whole lot more of a praise that my skills were to take me to.

I was very successful for a “beginner”

Until 2012 I could really not enjoy or live any of the success. It was a struggle of survival, until I could make it all work by the end of 2012.

2013-14 were years of progress and work and some failed dreams and friendships.

Conclusion is, that at an early stage you don’t even realize what you have.

Fast forward to now

For the first year of my son’s life I was planning to do an average 1-2 shows a month, and as a matter of fact I succeeded in that…

Yet I consider this last year a very hard one professionally…

When I got pregnant I had to cancel 3 months of work and events 5 months from the date, I can say I was on top of my game, working a lot and becoming a considerably “OK” (strong upper mid-level if you please) aerialist…

I did expect it to be physically hard to get back, but I did not expect it to be so professionally miserable.

I explain.

I’m terrible at selling myself, I am full of doubts, I cannot watch a video of myself without rolling my eyes and I cannot finish a show without at least once saying how SHIT I was.

I also did want to switch scene and focus on bigger shows instead of gigs and burlesque related productions.

And obviously, I did not expect the burlesque scene going to shit on the meanwhile either.

Visibility on festivals

There comes a time in your life, when doing burlesque festivals for less than free just don’t make it… but let us be honest… I said to myself, let’s try other festivals (not Lbf, which was a safe application process always), than you get the ‘oh thank you, but…’ message…

You, established, good performer… being explained how Kittiey Mc Tittishaker (lets hope nobody owns this name yet), a two year VETERAN of the scene, entrepreneouer daredevil extraordinaire with a hiper original signature classical tribute act has a bigger ‘IT’ factor when it comes to performing… classic burlesque…

So according to facebook and the scenario, I keep being the backstreet circus chick of the show… you know the one other performers are not eager to take selfies with… yet the one to mostly finish off the show as the “strong plate”…

It felt quite unsuccessful, all this.

In reality… with the one show a month I make more money than I did with various years before…

By chance or by luck I landed doing the Barcelona Burlesque Festival, which happens to be a paid thing and goes by invitation… (and I hope they keep it that way)

By conclusion I landed a half year contract with the theater.

This is the real success.

It was hard work, performing, pulling my acts back together, even making them better. Million email, proactivity, and all.

Does it feel like bathing in champagne already?

It is great, yet I only dare to whisper it…

I am the resident aerial artist of El Molino theater…

Feels like it just disappears the moment you say it.

Now, I did not substitute someone on a gig, I did not do a couple of parties or the Festival, noo! Im there and to stay.

Yet, does the burlesque scene cares?

I tell you what, if I feather up my bio and explain it… maybe… but in reality, no shit.

And this is how success feels in the “scene”.

Even if you make it, you need to fake it.

In the city?

It is a great reference, everybody knows it, I have a two page spread photo of myself.

In reality?

I see my osteopath almost every two weeks.
I juggle a baby, a household and my sleep deprivation.
I lost 10 kgs, since baby. (I do have some killer abs, though)

Altogether, I think I am at the right track.

The Struggle

I am a very booring person.

My topics: art, my struggle with art, baby, training.(or the lack of time for it)

I am also tiring with it, constantly analyzing, writing, thinking.

Alltogether it folds out to be some kind of a never ending struggle with the limits of my body and time.

I will never be the best aerialist of the world, in fact being the best in anything is getting impossible by the day.

So at this point I want to calm myself and set out reachable goals and stop eating my soul out with unreachable expectations.

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We are professionals

Never let yourself cornered by the “we are professionals” flagline.

I guess this happens during the first years of a performers life, when people want to push your prices down because you are new, not “good enough”, not skilled enough, not cirque du soleil enough, but mostly just not confident enough.

But let’s face it we will never be good enough…

Without self-esteem, self-respect and integrity, we go nowhere. (not only in performance art, but in life either)

My experience came on many levels, I was, and maybe still am sometimes (fucking saa-a-aad) the idiot to take advantage of.

Nevertheless, on the professional level, is where I could face and cut this problem the best.

Whatever and whenever I started I faced and am facing this problem.

Advices like and comments like:

“….you’re new you should set your prices below the other dressmakers around here to set up a costumer base…”

“…you say you’re an established performer, although we have never heard of you, but XY was on the cover of… magazine”

“…we get established British pop stars for less and you should consider this as a vacation…”

“…you still have a lot to learn… hoooney…”

“…you’re not much of a big deal…”

“… I don’t think you’ll ever create something truly original…”

Etc.

Not made up, all said to me.

So woahhh, where does all this disrespect come from? What is wrong with people?

Be clear. People saying any of these, are the ones just a wee too eager to cover their own lack of the professsionelle…

Let say, you do two weeks of aerial training and then apply to whatever famous company. Well, I really doubt that a truly busy and succesful company would have the time or the energy to personally go out their way of creation and shame and humiliate you for the sake of it…

Surely artists lifes are hard, filled with disappointment and rejection. (and art, beauty, inspiration, creation, magic, sparkle, glitter, sunshine etc. To avoid being all tragic)

The fellow

The owner of the best and worst advice. Here you need to carefully choose whose advice you ask from and derived from there whose advice you take, as there are jealousies going a lot farther than you think.

Better take advice from your elders (not necessarily by age), rather than fellow beginners. Fellow beginners might have all the good will, but just not enough knowledge and experience.

The “boss”-es

“Yeah, but how about 80 euros for 5 aerial numbers a night? I mean our dancers only get 50 euros…” – Good for them…

“So you could actually make the costumes as well, that way you could earn a little extra (dinerito)…” – before or after rehearsing 10-12 hours a day?
The next time anyone says “dinerito” heads will roll for sure in Melittalandia.

The never to be costumer

So why inquire for a quote, if you are unwilling to pay anything over the price of a double cheese burger and are from the other far end of the globe?

The producer with no idea

“Can you do an hour long aerial act?” – Sure no problem….

” I would like to hire your burlesque act for my children’s party…” – I made this up, but I guess you get it.

Family and (not so) romantic partners

Unsupportive family is one thing, but a romantic partner, who does not support or respect your art is just devastating.

“… I don’t think you’ll ever create something truly original…” – this comment marked the beginning of the end of a marriage… with other things, but this burned deep into my skin.

All those thinking they know better what fits you

They think this or that music, style would fit you, etc. Unrequested, but thank yoy.

Go and find your own style.

Integrity

Wikipedia

So tell me, which is better, telling the truth by saying you never got payed for that job, which was also a disaster on all levels (hearing “Oh babe, how negative…” from the background), or telling everyone how all was fine and dandy and a lovely experience (just because you were on all fliers and admitting that this “peak” of your career was plain bullshit?)
Who is the professional here? Who has integrity?

Have morals and ethics.

Self-respect

If it feels wrong, humiliating, cheap, abusive, most likely it is. Get out of there. Now, on the first quirky comment that pushes your buttons or at latest the second, because there will be a third, a millionth of it. Then deeds. Then regrets, of you not leaving earlier and wasting time.

Listen to your gutt. Respect yourself.

Self-esteem

You need it, desperately, we all do.

Look in the mirror and see who you are as an artist, better to overvalue yourself than to undervalue.

Final conclusion

So be careful, screaming professional does not always mean being professional.

Artistry – Ego tripping

I somehow believe that the way to become a good artist is going through the dark forest of artistic crysis. I also consider this as a positive thing, because this way you question your own work constantly, you look into the mirror and inspect. There is always place for improvement. I met lots of other artists on my way, most of them have left some great impressions and taught me something good, yet some others only taught me the way how never ever to be or behave. In this category fell the company I decided to end my collaboration with in 2013, and yet I learned the most about how to lead a company well, while seeing the flaws of this one. The examples however might come from other real  life situations I have been involved in.

Ego tripping?

I don’t even know if this is a proper term in English to start with, but if not let just start using it, as we do in Hungary. We obviously know that people having the urge to stand in front of an audience have some ego tripping going on, shall we say, they are mostly narcissistic and self-centered, otherwise they would not seek the spotlight and the attention of others. Yet this can be perceived in many ways. Self-consciousness is a great help for the artist just as much as body awareness, yet on the other hand attention-seeking, or better say attention-whoring, or self-contentness are quite big setbacks on the way forward. I like to believe that we create some kind of an energy on stage that we share with the audience. I even believe that we create this same energy just training, too.

Are you the ¨best¨?

You can never believe you know the best.

Because? There is no such a thing as “a” best. No best as a single artist either, a best way to do something. I, for one hand consider myself a new-circus artist, this implies, that for me nothing “old-school” will just make it. So if your music is Harem and your act is all about the technicals, most likely I won’t even watch further than one min.

On the other hand my circus sister is seriously in love with the classic overtly technical things, so the best for her might be the most cliché for me and the best for me might just be plain freakish for her or too mixed with other genres of performance art, because she is a purist. It is all about tastes.

The story here actually, is about this dude, that though all his friends and himself were the absolute bests, yet he treated new people with a hidious disrespect and everyone who were the friends of others. So hey, this dude from “insert city” that is just the best, yadda yadda, I learned how to throw 3 balls from him. (Feel the importance?) This girl, the best silks, hoop, trapeze etc., and even if it is true it just doesn’t make it right to simply ignore others that are not his friends yet, or rather will never be, as his ignorance will get into the way. Right, here’s this other dude, once again, amazing, worked with soleil (in this context would be the equivolent of pretty fucking great), you don’t know about him yet. Well instead stucking your head in the sand, that is of ignoring and pretending that only the people you discover and make friends with can be good, do your background check and just say, “oh, I didn’t know him, but wow his work is impressive, happy to get to know him” or such.

Other story, stripperworld, man, strippers just love to believe they are the goddamn bests. So you were big 10 years ago, because they knew you in 5 stripjoints? Great. What do you do now? Believe that you are still the best and screaming the producers or directors head down, because you believe the other girl is just not as good as you and she should get less money as you do? Professional…

Training methods?

Well, here it goes even broader, because for everybody a different training works well, let along lifestyle and diet and even beliefs.

Acrobat, contorsionist or WTF?

Calling yourself an acrobat without anything to show for or a contorsionist without having your ass on the floor doing a split, just doesn´t make it for me. Also contorsionists are in my view the highest on the rank, so I get extra offended from statements like that.

I loved this recent situation, I was doing a job outside my general field of work, dressed to the neck (so my circus tattoos were all hidden), so I find myself in this conversation, after seeing this girl trying to do something acrobaty with everything and trying to hang herself on anything: ¨I was a competitive gymnast all my childhood, it was my life…¨ ¨Oh wow, it must be hard to be an acrobat, you must rehearsal and train a lot, how many hours do you train daily?¨ ¨None¨ I just smiled under my moustache… So I believe any of us breaking our bones 4+ hours daily in the circus know the meaning of this statement…

On the other end of the situation, I´m still a little shy to call myself a circus artist or acrobat (that especially, because my floor skills are still below 0). So for once, I attended my new guests as an airbnb host and they asked me what I did, so I dropped it, and guess what? Two of the boys were the acrobats of Limbo, absolutely amazing acrobats, I got pretty blushed and admitted that I wish to be that good one day. 🙂

I was a great circus artist all my life, but got injured…

Really you got injured and lost the flexibilty in your back and legs at the same time and the skill level as well?? And the basic way of carrying yourself as well? I just can`t believe all of that at the same time, sorry. Yup, I am a snob, but I can spot a professional, and I appreciate honesty and hate liars. Having started circus at a late age is no shame, I only have 5 years of it, and instead of trying to mask my shortcomings in fairytales, I´m happy to tell how hard or not, how much I sucked and how much effort or fun it all is or was.

Success?

Earning money and having jobs makes a good business person not a good artist, in fact some of the most amazing artist are a mess with business and absolutely bad artists make a hell of a career in the spotlight.

Why lying to yourself?

As time goes by memories are prettier, for some, for others, memories just straight up change entirely. Story. Dubai, the magical Dubai. I heard these marvellous stories about these dream 5+ star jobs, where they were the stars of the night. He could get me a superstar job anytime, just a phone call away. Well, that phone call never happened, as you bet. It came to my attention that he has never even been close to a stage in Dubai ever, just the general rip off juggler/clown work we keep stumbling upon all the time in a mall. There is no problem with taking these jobs, but why lie? I had great and shit jobs, I keep having them, we all do, no shame.

Why exagerrate?

So she is the most smashing aerial artist on the planet, that have worked for Cirque du Soleil and she does aerial silks on 40 meters, right? (40 meters is a 10 storey building, just sayin’)

Umh, vampires, thiefs and copycats?

These are people seeking to steal skills and ideas, or using other artists’ talents to get further. I’m not sure if I get to explain this well, though. I don’t believe skills can really be stolen, if you learn them they become yours, and even if you deny teaching them to someone, they will find someone who won’t. Therefor I never minded teaching my little knowledge with the few interested and thank God, the people I happened to ask, with considerably higher skills, either. Yet there are some very crooked minded ways to suck your skills out of you. One is promoting things with you, while actually aiming to sell another person.

Copycats, never ending story in the burlesque end of my world. Thank God, I was not involved in any situation as of lately, but at the beginning I was pretty bummed to recognize my own moves in the routine of another performer  and the very same idea I offered for a show, that decided not to hire me, but to ¨use¨ the offered idea of mine. Well, such is life. I recommend anyone to do the same I did, I was furious back then, boiling over it, but a friend just told me to ignore, so I did, I`m a lot happier, it was a waste of time, people like that will always be around.

Alpha females?

The alpha females with a lack of emotional intelligence and overflow of jealousy. These are the very dangerous ones, while men fight for their place in a straight up way (hypothetically), these crooked-minded sweethearts sleep their way into many places, regardless their talent or skill level, that is they might be pretty good ones on stage.
Shit people, ok I understand why, but I still wonder why people with amazing skills choose this easy path of getting further. Then comes manipulation and jealousy, calling names etc. Whore me down, but can you actually show a man around who you haven’t had a something with? Because as for me I only had a beer with some friends and the next day I was openly attacked on my own facebook page by this someone, who a day before pretended being my friend.

Attention-whoring?

If you are an amazing performer, acrobat, etc. Do you really need to call the attention in 15 year-old stupid bitch look at me I’m kissing my girlfriend kinda way?? There are times for everything, call me a snob, but I call fun times once work has ended and that still doesn’t include me going down on my best friend on top of the bar after 3 shot. These behaviours just take away a lot of credit in my view.

Backstage manners?

Same here. I get completely bummed in the burlesque world how mega divas some of the girls are. I mean, I rig, I need time and space to warm up and stretch before every show, I need a calm moment to reflect as I can even kill myself any day on that thing I hang myself on. I try to do the rigging fast, and the rest as well as I can. I have no time to chat around before my show, neither can I sip champagne, but I do my best to not molest and not being a pain in the ass. Then you see these girls screaming with the technician about the lights and being full blown divas backstage and spending more than an hour placing a damn table on the stage. And then you ask. What the fuck is wrong with them? or me? I think we need to proove something on stage, nowhere else and no other time.

With it all, inside and outside, affiliated or not to artistry. The real inspiring amazing talented people I have the luck to know, are humble, friendly, they never judge and they honestly help, even if they truly are one of the bestest of their field.