Tag Archives: circus artist

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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The casting call monster!

I bet you are registered at trillion and one casting pages… Me too!

Burlesque performers, circus castings, variete castings, variety jobs, entertainment casting, etc.

But you know what?

I never ever had a job from any of the pages!

In fact I only got outrage and indignation from strolling these pages!

So, now, I am just going to pick apart some of the casting calls that have made me want to jump off the roof of a building.

Since some go back as far as 2-3 years, I won’t quote them exactly.

I am aware that with this post I am likely to loose my last chances to work with mentioned producers that can recognize themselves…

Looking for a multiskilled artist, who have costume making skills as well… for Dubai…

Basically they were looking for someone who was an actual costumier, not someone who could sew a button on.
So yours truly, aerialist on 1-2-3-4 disciplines, pole dancer, posses a fair share of flexiness and obviously even can learn a basic dance coreography, and by the fucking waay is a costume maker…

After about the 4th attempt of contact I get:

“So what else can you do?”

Maybe perform brain surgery while making a chai latte hanging upside down while sewing a button on you ass with my feet?

Looking for aerial acts to perform in a circus show, this is not a nightclub casting, please apply if you can/have experience…

Is there something like a nightclub aerialist? What is that?

Basically implies that you need to be an aerialist, not someone who had touched an aerial hoop a couple of times…

Let’s have a closer look:

An aerialist by deafault can do a show, and the girlfriend of the gogo coordinator dude is not a god damn aerialist! A chick sitting on an aerial hoop or trapeze is not an aerialist! And btw, regarding the inherent danger of the job, no gogo dancer should be sitting around on aerial apparatus on a height higher than 1 meter as most.

work 6 days a week but only perform in the shows (one a day) as there are no other duties.
You will be provided with a room for the full contract.
Fees payed include 3 meals a day, accommodation, travel and 1000 euros per month.

And be like MULTISKILLED!

OMG! Ive been dreaming my whole life about this job! 6 shows a week, needing multiple skills, but I get room and food and some pocket money! And you bet, the waiters would get a higher salary…
1000 euros a month for 6 days a week work! But you only need to do the shows! Easy-peasey, I mean you surely never need to warm up or rehearse ever!

…It’s unpaid but promises to be a great day …

I am sorry, I though that at least we were working for a couple of beers?

TV appearance

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11 am, my phone rings… referring to one of my very good friends, Tv show… they want me to perform live…
More specifically they want me to perform pole dance topless live on Tv… I’m sorry at most I could do a burlesque themed pole act that would go down to pasties… THEY WANT TOPLESS!
Btw, how much is the pay and when would be the shoot, if I am to think about it?

Oh you would get a lot of exposure and the shooting would be in 3 hours at the studio.

Comments on casting calls

We are /insert whatever they are looking for/ but oh we are /insert another town from the same cou try/ ah well, maybe some other time…

Congratulation sweetheart you just prooved, that you never ever had a professional gig!

We have our own equipment and costumes and can rig ourselves…

Since when there is a need to say that? Are there acts who cannot then? How do you work without own apparatus?

another favorite of mine:

Costumes clearly bought from the sex shop down the road.

This is the please don’t, there are so soo many costumiers around in all price ranges, just please drop a dime and get a proper costume for fuck’s sake people!

So as for professionalism I would like to direct y’all to this very well written piece:

Are You Ready To Go Pro?

Annndd Laura on costumes:

Cirque Costumes: Not To Be Confused With Your Underwear

Please note:

I’m not trying to be on the high horse here and pretend I am so perfect, I was an eager newcomer once, I still am not half as good as I would like to be, but I always respected the industry and never underpriced myself miserably.

If we all tried to be the most professional we could be the whole thing would work out so much better.

Performer stories vol. 1.

I decided to share my experiences as a performer, so with every performer story entry I will share two stories with you, a bad and a good or maybe just an interesting one.

I think it is important to see the two-sidedness of the industry and understand, that it is really not about you, when you think it is.

Bad story

Me and the major theater

This topic surfaced the other day in my kitchen between me and the Baby daddy.

I was suggesting that it might be a good idea contacting the theater for a possible contract after the baby, because they did contemplate having me as a regular piece of the show back in 2013, but the whole dealing just did not end right. He got pretty outraged and asked me why on earth I would wanna be in a shitty show, that nobody goes to watch, with all my international fame and feathers. That I would be lowering too much with it, etc., etc. Baby daddy does love me on all levels.

My points were, things have changed, as a mother I wanna do my best and that includes the longest breastfeeding period I can possibly afford this future little man.

The story itself

I was approached to take part of the first Barcelona burlesque festival, needless to say in 2011 I was in the clouds, so happy. This, recently reopened mythical theater wants me in a line-up next to Catherine D’lish, Ursula Martinez, Jess Love and all the others, woowww.
Especially regarding the fact, that a year earlier I left Bcn very disappointed with performance as a whole. (Discrimination? Yup, hon, if you’re not catalan and hipergay or willing to sleep with whomever you need to, just bury yourself)

Festival was pretty much the best ever I attended to this day. Show was dynamic, the line-up was over the top. Even the competing newcomers showed very high skills.
(So far, the festival is a blast every year, I still recommend going to this event)

Downside, no fucking proper rigging… My ahh so prepared silks act had to be modified into an improvisation on hoop… absolutely not bad for that year though.

Straight forward 2013.

I just jumped off a plain with an aerial hoop and a suitcase, ready to take back my city! I had the first shows nailed with a producer I used to work very well, looking for contracts, decided to rent a place in the forthcoming months.

First job right in mentioned theater. Great! Now they installed a truss, 9 meter high rigging point, supersweet!!

First technical check.

The owner walks in. We met briefly, but I never thought she remembered me or anything (my humble side).
Straight to me, she was very happy to see me back, was I staying for longer. I told her I was moving back.

Booom! How would I feel about a steady contract, all legal, insured, etc, 7 shows a week, would I be cool to learn some coreographies in the show etc. I should come down and see the most recent show, invited.
Anyways, office gets the papers done will call in 2ish weeks.

I literally left the place with tears of joy in my eyes…

Just to get them turned into real ones in about 2 months.

Nothing is done until it is done. – never forget that. Don’t get too excited.

So, a girl from the office was to call me. I had this funky feeling about her from the beginning… (hush, don’t listen to your instict, she must be lovely, blabla – said my conscious mind… while the unconscious said, trouble ahead)

3 weeks pass.

Nothing.

I kept doing the parties, so I was all around the theater every other week. Nothing.

I got my ‘manager’ (*khm* – best friend and occasional assistant) to call, erh-umph excuses, they would be in touch…

Another one or two weeks pass.

You see, at this point I was a full-time performer (like always as not for pregnancy), so I needed to schedule my shit in order to do anything.
So on a last attempt I dragged my ass up to the office to clear this up.

There was ‘my gal’ and it breaks down to the fact, that the owner never said, what she said, the offer was rather to have me a couple of times, if needed (wtf???) for certain events. The festival? Most likely yes, but they would contact me anyways…

Yuppi fucking yaaay!!! and thanks for making me loose about 2 months with excitement about nothing.

Life goes on, story does not end still. If you were to think that was not humiliating enough, you were wrong.

So the festival approaches, the way I actually get to know I was not in it? You bet. The promo video comes out.

Classy…

Then the Festival is on. I GET A CALL. omg, with suspicion… I hoped it was not the dragging around for nothing again….

They want me to go in for a rehearsal, the coreorgrapher needs to see me and try me.

Now this sounded more professional.

I’m there, the ‘world famous’ coreographer 3 meters in front of me, his assistant running up and down, every communication going through 4 different people’s mouth (I am not exagerrating here!!).

Nothing. Could I come back tomorrow, the corepgrapher is way too stressed to deal with anything else, than the rehearsals… Sorry for dragging you around so much.

Evening, invited to the show. I went alone, going to say hi to my gal, I see her talking to the one single ‘performer’ I would never share the air with.

And

Kabammm!!!

She was there for the very same reason!! Apparently the coreographer (remember so ‘world famous’ that he could not communicate only via 4 messengers?) would choose, based upon ‘PROFESSIONAL’ measures… (like skills, dance skills, you know, maybe a casting????)

Nooo!!!

No casting nothing. The decision was already made.

She took the deal for a 100 euros a night, that is 25 euros per number, two weeks contract.

I never got to be offered a price, and believe me I was not about to accept this.

She won. I lost.

The news were full of how the theater was on the verge of bankcrupcy. Now I could see. I met the dancers, that left that time, half of them, after 3 months without being payed.

The theater survived, I did two more gigs there, than I never returned.

Loosing against a better competitor is something you can take, inspires betterment.

Loosing against a joke of a ‘performer’ is simply soul draining.

Strange detail as well, while on the verge of bankcrupcy, they did get to hire Bambury Cross, and I do doubt she was to be anything cheap. (getting her from London, renting a place, etc.)

Bottom line, you cannot be a prophet in your home country or pseudo-home country either.

And now:

Good story

Turkey

A.k.a Wonderland.

Story begans in 2010.

The resraurant was called Joke Circus.

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Do you remember myspace? I do.

So one day, shortly before the 2010 LBF, I get a message written in the shittiest English ever, the kinda you wouldn’t even answer so bad. Let along through myspace.

It is a Turkish dude interested in hiring me, Chaz recommended me. Scattered, language barrier, not even the dates were very fixed… Altogether, something you would never take seriously, but I thought harm it cannot do to answer anyways.

It was for Istambul (superexciting!) for a brand new place. So, I decided if they agree to pay the trip upfront, then my, at the time maybe escalated (I thought, while I was still underpricing myself) fee, I was good to go.

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It took up until almost last minute to close the deal, I was to go almost straight after LBF, since I was already confirmed to appear there, it was the Icelandic vulcano year, so shit got pretty complicated all the way.

At the closing night of LBF, I remember Velma asking for my availability the next weeks and me being sorry for being booked right after… we either suspected that we were to meet withing the next week at the other far end of Europe 😃.

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LBF, with all issues, shenanigans, travel problems, etc., went off. Some major housing drama back home. Limbo between Budapest and Bcn started. Drama with icing on top.

(Additional relationship advice: you know these partners, with whom everything turns into major drama? Yup, ex-hubby was one of them, get the fuck away from these people, when it starts, without further waiting, because it will only get worse)

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So by the time I was to catch the flight to Istambul, I couldn’t even think of being worried about the what ifs. The proper Turkish airline flight with food and all was so soothing, after days of saving my stuff out of my own former (and actual) home and literally being homeless for days, that I could just not expect anything.

I arrive, I get picked up by a shoffeur, cool, excitement setting in.

It could be the best and the worst experience, anyways, two weeks in the exciting land of where my actual not artistic name comes from.

I arrive, cute little 4 starry hotel…

I get the suit!!!! WTF? Great. Relax. Unpack. Stretch. I was to be picked up every evening for performance, soon to meet Anji and Mert. (the dude with funky english)

I think we had technical check in the afternoon. The restaurant was lavish, luxurious, I swear each fork was to be over 4000 euros of worth. I guess in the west we miss some point about luxury… and hospitality.

Do I know Velma? She is here too. That was the beginning of a friendship.

I was also introduced to the other restaurant, where our daily lunch was to take place… on the top floor of a shopping mall, if can imagine delicious turkish food! I asked for the daily turkish meal every day.

I repeat, the west has serious things to learn about hospitality from the Turkish.

I enjoyed every bit of my stay, the sushine, the city,the food, all of it!

My mom came for visit too, hotel and food payed for her, too.

What else can you ask for?

I was more than lucky, yet it took me years to realize the importance of all this. To have this all sink in. The luck. The blind luck I had.

I also realized I could have asked for the double of the fee I was asking… beginner, I thought… (yet, I was very well payed)

Secong chapter was Cyprus last year.

Altogether.

Dream job.

Fin.

The difference between what there is and what we perceive

My titbit.

I was deeply depressed at the time of the Turkish contract, constantly being paranoid about my artistry.

I was a very insecure performer, especially as a circus act. They had 3 Mongolian contorsionists, and a Ukranian multiskilled yougster fresh out of circus school. Needless to say, I felt like shit.

What was I doing there? I was obviously below the level… I thought.

The fact that everyone had a longer contract also confirmed my feelings…

Yet, 4 years later I was called, because I was a great act and they did love me back in 2010.

So don’t beat up yourself, you might as well be a lot better than you think you are.

^.-