Tag Archives: circus

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.

Award winning and critically acclaimed!

image

I would like to start my post with this quote from this great man. (thanks facebook)

This post has been festering in me for quite a while. I am one horrible critic, and I do not spare myself either of it, also I am way too harsh in my expressions.

Award winning

Award winning is something more of a tangible thing, yet critically acclaimed is harder to grasp.

Award winning suppose an actual award to exist and suppose that the person actually won that award, prize, title, etc.

Obviously in London/Britain each and every performer has won some kind of an award, even being a part time performer not to mention bad performers, yet on the mainland we performers hardly ever get an award, even if we maintain ourselves by our art.

Then you can go and make shit up… distort information and such.

In my home country we have a lady, that a couple of years ago decided that pole dancing, stripping, aerials, and whatnot belonged to her personally. So she made Tv appearances and claimed to be a world champion stripper… Well, great, but there is no such title as is!
Obviously people in the burlesque scene would refer to the Burlesque hall of Fame and the Miss Exotic world title, but she never even competed there, so nope. Then in “stripping” (as of butt naked, or more sexual stripping – no shame, just specifying) there is a million and one competitions, with a lot less art involved.
Anyways this fair lady won a Miss Nude Canada and returned home as a world champion stripper… you see the contradiction here. (Later on she surfaced in a far away burlesque festival as well, you know just because…)

So what is this all about? Marketing! Shameless marketing…

But, at least she makes a damn good linving out of it! She is a major celebrity and even has quite some contacts and shows internationally…

So, I get it!

Yet, I cannot understand people who does this without any apparent benefit… being “famous” with nothing… getting attention, only… that is quite a trainwreck attitude… (at least for any of us trying to make a living here…)

Anyways, turning back from general shittalking about others to the point in the burlesque industry…

Award winning…. all new awards and titles and competitions popping up and guess what?

Bumm! It goes mostly to the very same people, who already had some…

So either you are a newcomer and may win something in that category or straight up forget about it, if you do not already own a couple of well polished awards up your award shelf.

Critically Acclaimed

By whom?

We all know about the marvellously written press releases, right?

I mean, you know, written by your best friend or a payed writer to put the best quotable line out there about you…

Then, let us be honest with ourselves, there is no negative criticism our so beloved community, it just cannot exist… Even when we express negative opinions we wrap it in pink so carefully, making sure we don’t burn up the bridges behind us and don’t loose precious contacts in the scene…

Nobody wants to be the troublemaker

Also the faux-positivity surfaces, as you are the badguy, when God forbids you name the person who ripped an act of yours off, because say something nice or don’t say anything at all…

You see a shit act, and nobody dares to say it out loud, you see a rip-off act and hardly nobody dares to say it out loud, yet everyone thinks the same.

All the critical good words I have out there are from LBF, and are mostly blogs…

Why?

Because, who the fuck cares about the chick from the other end of Europe, while we can review the well-known, friend of many friends local performer?

So the conclusion is that while there is not a panel of official critics that do need to review everything they actually see, and by what they actually see, this is also just another dead end street in burlescalandia.

What is success?

We jump back to the basic fact, that life is on social media. Nowhere else, but…

Or really?

Performance art is live art, and sure we can tape it, but it will never ever be the same, as it is live. In my view it looses somewhat 80% of it’s poise and energy. Therefore it is very hard to convert or to translate it into social media terms.

And here comes the tricky part, how social media gets to distort the skills a performer might have.

Well, in the world of circus, skills rule the scene, and that is hard to fake, even a photo is showing a whole lot to another professional, so evaluation is easier, there is less playing around. Surely there are differences between the success of same skill level artist with different talents in the artistic side or plain marketing.

But with burlesque, it is just insane what have been going down in the last 7 years! (read my post on the burlesque top 50… from over a year ago, yet just NOW, bigger names start to pick the topic, carefully wrapped in pink schiffon, of course, because saying it is all bollock would be too harsh…)

To answer the question.

For me, success is being able to be a full time performer, earn over 80-90% of your income from performing. Preferably performing, what and where you actually like.

Then again it is not all. Now, I absolutely can see the benefits of stepping back from full timing in order to better as an artist.

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.

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…

 

The Voliére experience – Reality checks in – vol. 2.

8.30 we took the bus to arrive at 10 am, taken directly to the venue to start rehearsals. We were screamed and yelled to start fast, cuz there was a short timeframe and too many coreographies.

We were not asked if we needed water up until 12-13 pm, let alone breakfast or lunch.

No warm up time either.

Rehearsals in 30-40 degrees celsius, 10+ hours of dance rehearsals daily, on a half done stage with our decoration artist working with supertoxic materials next to us, including finishing the stage itself.

Personal drama lovepack:

My Mr. was given a barman job a month before, he had been cancelling the works of his own company to be able to come and work with us. He had a funky feeling, se he talked to the directorissima various times to reassure the thing was not a set up. He also made it clear that he was coming for me and in desperate need of a job.

Needless to say, it was a set up.

So, in her car she drops between two giggles, that ohh hon, the job of ya boy, well, giggle, I dunno, gotta talk to Fernando, cuz it kinda looks like it is not happening.

Woahhhh!! My mouth open of digrace.

First of all, my Mr. is a first class bartender, worked at the poshest places in Bcn before, second, nobody asked no favour, he sent his CV, they fell in love with it, they choose him. Supposedly.

I obviously call my man, who happens to get mad and send tha bitch back where she belongs along with the half pimp of the boss.

We had a serious relationship crisis that day, he literally told me I needed to leave the job or else… he didn’t give a fuck and would even payed me to stay at home… (Surely he calmed down later, apologized and all good)

I was between two sides, responsible towards my friends that I dragged into this shithole and towards my relationship. I knew that I did not want to loose a guy like him over a stupid bitch’s wrongdoing. (Talking about the expecting father of my child, the best, ever, caring loving relationship)

Anyway, I was useless by day two. Then Fernando, tha boss, came up asking me what was up, I told him straight up. This was in no way correct from them. I bet he did not know many things until that conversation, for example that I pulled the whole company together, either that we won’t be able to make weekly changes of theme. That working with your body needs days off… He was sold a dream on crack.

I surely told the bitch too. I guess she remembered a more submissive little girl from years before. She really thought she could get away with all.

Surely, truth was, once again, her shit, promising something without nailing down with the boss, lying on both sides.

I think her plan was to get my contacts and come up with a sorry excuse to sack me during the first weeks of rehearsals… Making me feel like shit of not being a professional dancer, since we know I am a aerialist, that excuse kinda never was to work.

Note: Know who and what you are!! The works of a chef and an aerialist does not overlap and for a reason. Dancer and acrobat maybe, but if you were ever near performing, or watched Step up (haa, bet you did) then you know how is it to ask even dancers to shuffle their style and learn another style.

So, yes, you might or might not dance as an acrobat, but expecting you to be a licensed dancer without you ever stating anything near that is abusive.

Or once again, if pro dancer-acrobat needed hire one.

(Clear up: I consider myself a pole dancer and a burlesque dancer, my dance skills are not bad, but the demand here was exhausting even for the professionally trained dancer)

I was stupid, I thought maybe she was feeling some guilt for the shit from years before, so this way she wanted to somehow make it up to me, and to karma… haha! Idiot I was.

Sidenote: do not karmatise too much. There is no need to look for karma in fart, as more spiritual peopld say.

I was about to leave the first week, it was too much, too little, too bad. So, my friend (more about her soon) talked me into staying, we are in this together, we will make this fun, and it is only one person that causes my troubles, etc. “Oh look at her, what is she compared to you” “She just wants to badly make it and not know how.”

These two became best friends in two weeks term, just to state the obvious.

There was an original agreement of the 6, that we would stick together as a real company if shit was to go down. Well, in this conversation she made it clear that she was not leaving even if they lower her salary or leave her in unlivable conditions, because she badly needed this job, I had to understand…So much for loyalty.

I was the public enemy from day one, as you see.

Why? Because I opened my mouth. I have been an international performer since 2009, stripper since 2006, I have seen way too many places, worked way too many gigs and festivals to see something was desperately wrong here.

Tha Diva

Good excuse the directorissima came up with. I was behaving like a diva. Why? Because I asked for water while rehearsals, I told we needed warm up time. We needed time to practice solos, which never happened. I pointed out things in general. She needed to stop smoking while walking around on stage, she was a constant threat with her cigarettes to us. You know burned thighs are not cool on dancers. Also stop being high on weed the whole day.

But, I was tha diva, the unprofessional, the one that causes the problems.

Constant psychological abuse

“Carino, you really have a lot to learn as an artist” mean tone, mean eyes… was like the friendliest of her comments, the first week was loud of her exclamating my name. Calling me out to “special talk” every hour. I was the weakest spot in the dance (which I was not), because I could not make perfectly the coreographies at first try. There was 5 more in the same situation, though, that is just normal, we were under lot of pressure, but I, out of 3 acrobats and 3 pro dancers, I had to be picture perfect upon the first try.

It was not personal…She said. Wasn’t it? The bash down mixed with skizofreniac changes to friendly, how she understood I was no dancer (belittling, belittling).

Also coming up and correcting a coreography without being able to do it the same way twice herself. Correcting something then correcting it back as it was, telling us we were wrong all the way.

On the last of my patience, one day, there was a sudden change. The bitch calmed down, she became friendly. She backed off from our rehearsals and let the coreographer work his magic.

I got to know weeks later from Fernando, that he saw what was happening and tripping over how someone can behave like her, so she got a higher call to calm the fuck down otherwise she would be out of job soon. (I mean, if we can believe a man, who fails to pay the salaries of 10+ people 6 months later)

And we were still at the first week of rehearsals…

Housing

Was a granny smelling, literally filthy old. 8 m2 room with two bunk beds for the 4 of us, in an old house. No locks on rooms.

The only beauty was the garden and the view.

Kitchen as filthy as possible, and with a continous food disappearance, that is by the end of the dag you had nothing of the food you left in the fridge in the morning.

Bathrooms the same, one day even my towel was stolen, let along all shampoos and shower gels.

Meals

20 euros per day for food in an extremely expensive village with no supermarket at a walkable distance. Best for special diets or any heathy eating, the nearest veggie and food shop was a 20+ min walk with prices tripling the Bcn ones.

There was no way of actually having groceries since by the next morning everything were gone as the construction workers and the gogo dancers and the bar staff was also accomodated in the same house.

We were supposed to get dinner once “real work” started. Well, that started off with fried chicken breasts salads and rice, hardly fulfilling after 10 hours of dance…
As days passed by the amounts were less and less, vegetarians(2) were left with the same fried veggies every day, the quality went down to pre-made half done half still frozen, half rotten salad served the second day in a row… Reaching the wonderous heights of unedible/wonderifitspoisonous.
Until one fine day we were just left without dinner without any notice…

Then some days later dinner appeared again in a wee better state…

I could actually state that we were almost starved (or without almost.)

We fed off protein shakes, protein bars, tuna salad, microoven rice and sandwitches, when we could actually slip out to the bar next door.

It surely is fun to have to spend a considerable amount on not starving to death of your already way too low salary.

Transportation

The lodging was a good 40 minutes walk on the roadside (oh so very safe) or a 5 min car ride. We were told, that there would be a minivan to get us to and from work every day…
That ended up in car rides in the car of the directorissima with two contorsionists in the trunk…

Or most of the time walking down if you wanted breakfast.

We were living in the Voliére.

To sum up nothing was as it was agreed upon or promised.

So you wonder why on earth I stayed?

With people you trust you can trick yourself too much. As everyone acted as if this was normal, I was always the odd one out, the uncontent, the rebel.

We were drifted very far from reality.

The main attraction of our show said these places are all over the islands and it is the same deal, abusive and shit, but at the end of the season you go home with good money… I came to realize this was just as much of a lie as anything else she said.

I kept going, because I believed in the 5 friends I was with, I thought we were like family (stupid thought of a circus girl), I was very, but very wrong.

I also believe that the weekly or twice a week visits of my boyfriend got me not to break out. (We had a friend’s house left for us in the next village every time he came)

The Voliére experience – enough is enough – vol. 1

This is a long and covering every single dirty detail post, so if you don’t want to read drama this is not your post.

Since it gets way too long, I decided to make it into various posts.

Here you can find the facebook page of what it was, I could not find the webpage any longer:

https://m.facebook.com/pages/Volière-Restaurant-Cabaret/759956577371556

Web was: voliere.es

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Introduction and basic conclusions

The project was the following, a dinner show at a beach resort in Spain. Sounds fairly simple, right?

The following was my personal performer horror story, the worst ever experience of my entire career.

I was approached around February at first by a girl, who back in the stripper days was my flatmate, my boss, my muse, my worst critic and basically without me ever knowing my worst enemy. I did keep my enemies the closest back then, that is for sure. I intentionally lost all contact with her over 2008 and 2009, where as a culmination she ended up threatening me for not finishing a costume she never payed me for, among other pieces of costumes she never payed me for. And another momentum in our relationship was her histeria, when I got the same fee for a performance as she did on a festival. ( because I, amongst all the performers deserved less money, she thought)
From 2012, however, we started approaching, she got me a contract (for her share of money, not for the love of the art, obviously) and from there in 2013-2014 we saw each other twice on a faux friendly term.

Conclusion: never make up with your enemies.

In 2014 February, she turned somewhat suspiciously nice, and surely for a reason. She wanted me in a project. Now I was an established artist in her eyes, which I found hard to believe.

Conclusion no. 2.: there are some people that just cannot accept you no matter what you do, what you achieve, how much you work your ass off or crave their approval, yes, it might be your mother, your father, your best friend, a coreographer, another artist, etc.

The proposal was: a beach resort dinner show for three months. 120 euros a day for 3 aerial numbers.

Breathe in and keep calm!

I straigh on told her that to begin with I would not climb on an aerial hoop for less than 150 euros, and 3 solos are just excessive, if not a joke for this money… Well, she is a good talker, between ” ay, carino”s and funky giggles, she explained, that this would be 2-3 min appearances on stage, impacting, rather than a full 5 min aerial hoop act 3 times at the highest of my skills. So I gave it a thought, that I should have not. Dinner and housing in a luxury villa.

Conclusion no. 3: never give second and least third or fourth chaces to people that fucked you over big time in the past. Bad producers and managers won’t change!! They do not!! They just hire the next idiot to exploit once you left, and believe me, there are plenty of idiots.

In two months I was in, with the sidenote, that if another contract come I wouldn’t be. In fact, I was to earn over 3000 euros at a beach resort 2 hours drive from my home with a signed contract, insured and all. At this point my fear was that she would just cancel last minute, but no way, future was once again way more trickier than this. Peace of mind was going to see the massive preparations on the location.

I am stupidly naiv and not money oriented. Sad fact. This girl had hardly any contacts with the professional circus or dance circuits (that hardly any, already turned her down, and for a reason) All I wanted, on the meanwhile, was getting my beloved, starving, or not so starving Bcn circus family a good opportunity.

So what did I do?

Stupidly enough, ended up doing her job, finding the entire crew.

Note, there is a big difference between recommending another act and handpicking a cast of 6 people. Never do the latter unless you are getting payed for.

The saddest conclusion, no. 4: do not help out your friends, if they are jobless loosers, believe me, there is a reason to it, still making them perfectly capable to stab you right in the back.

So as the start date approached the conditions were fastly changing.
We were already talking about two weeks of unpaid rehearsals with only meals and housing provided. In fact our directorissima only wanted a week of rehearsals (cuz she can fart a broadway show right on stage in a split second), but we all thought it would not be enough. She refused having them in Barcelona, where each and every body resided except for her and we could have easily had a dance studio even for free.

Somehow we were all of a sudden talking about two solos and duo for us, acrobats of 6 min length.

Oh and dances?… Five group coreographies broadway / crazy horse style. No mirrors, no autocorrect, no proper ways of rehearsals.

Either we were told that we were not to have a day off. In 3 months time.

All fragments of information tossed to us over various vague whatsapp messages. Rather messages about what color our costumes should be and how was our solos, than anything else. Girly giggly bullshit.

Conclusions no. 5-7.: whatsapp is not acceptable form of business communication. period.

Never get into shady business proposals, the minute a serious condition changes in a shady ‘oh, but I did told you, don’t you remember?’ way, just walk, and know, that nope you were not told.

Don’t let yourself be manipulated and bevare the infamous ‘but we are professionals’ tagline. It only serves to corner the weaker minded.

Our contracts and social securities were nowhere to be found, “en tramite” as of, always next week.

Conclusion no.8.: If in doubt get a signed contract or pre contract. You can write it yourself, if needed. Do it!

More to come…
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