Tag Archives: performing

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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Hashtag my burlesque ass

I stumbled upon an angryish post on facebook, complaining about people promoting themselves from someone, who herself does the very same thing.

And I got this as my post:

“I know that as a performer I suck at social media, I don’t istagram enough defenetly don’t hashtag enough and I know I should. But it is hard to see how backwards this world is and how our values are up in our asses and how we criticize publicly behaviours we ourselves do… So if followme and selfie hashtags are the way, I rather stay a back alley circus performer, known by the actual people that know me.”

So, let’s chew this up a bit.

I don’t think promoting yourself is a bad thing.

So, please hashtag the shit out of any post, I’m happy with it, I might go and ‘like’ it if it makes some sense to me. When I get bored about hashtags or the obnoxious beauty posts from one of my best friends, I rather put a funny post about it, than an angry one.

Most of us are using our pretty performer names here and do act as our public personas, I personally have mixed crap on my facebook, but I do know fellow performers, that have a completely different profile for family members, which is also supercool.

This is a business

You need bookings, you need to be around, you need the entire facebook to know, that you’re working the coolest burlesque gigs, because this gets your next booking, so go-go-go, it’s the fame game after all.

Still, don’t throw that stone to others for doing what? The same.

Being a burlesque performer is not a charity

Same point, different way to put it, we are here to make money… Well, obviously we know there is more to it, as I always say, you need some ego-trippin’ going on to want to stand in front of others in various forms of naked. This is where we, 5+ years performers, uproar against new performers forgetting that this is not a charity and not your self-esteem boosting platform.

I won’t start complaining how (insert teary eye here) hard burlesque is. Burlesque is expensive.
Hard?
Try a couple of circus classes if you want to experience hard and tell me how hard burlesque was then…

Ispiration

I like to be inspired, how about you?

I also like to see people that want to inspire others.

So, yes I ‘like’ crossfitters, pole dancers, circus artists, personal trainers and even emerging burlesque performers, because I have been there and done that.

People see a pole video nowdays, and straight on bash the shit out of the dancer for not being as good as Oona, Marion, Marlo, Jenyne, Felix. ‘Oh, she’s not that impressive?’ ‘Not that big of a deal’ Holy crap! She had the guts to stand out on a stage and compete, one thing, I either have the gutts to do, because the level is so high, seems just unreachable. And to honour her effort, we bash her down, we the public, that might have never hold a pole in our hands.

Same goes for burlesque, it is a lovely lie, that we were just this glamorous 5 years ago, as we are now, but it is not true. 5 years ago a fan dance was quite good enough with two fans and some swarovski on your panties.
Today?
You wouldn’t even get in the newcomers with that… So we critize looking down from our high horses, but should not forget, that we used a big ladder to climb up here, and worked every step of the way.

So, we should just get back to inspiration. Get inspired, and if you do, do ‘like’ it.

Selfies and followmes?

Selfies inspire me to cut off my relation with humanity if not to commit suicide.

Oh yes, I do promote my work with it, but never ever hashtag is as such.

Watch out what you post

Yes-yes, been there done that. My life was a drama from 2009 to 2012, passive-agressive, why the world hates me posts all over the place, nobody cares about that. Behave like that and you loose bookings as well.

Also, back to the first point, feel free to promote the shit out of yourself, but then don’t bash others down for it, because if I, who never actually befriended you, keep quietly receiving your shit on my facebook wall don’t say a thing either defriend you or block you, then you dear, have no right whatsoever to do so to others.

So get down to earth sometimes ladies.

The price of an act

Pricing always gives me a hard time, I rather prefer being already offered a fixed price from  a show. Yet, nowadays, we are not that lucky, or if so, the prices offered are generally miserable.

You, one standing in the public, just see the finished product, a flawless body flying high up in the air with an incredible ease, or an amazing femme fatale burning down the roof with sexiness and attitude, or whichever else type of performance of choice you might be seeing executed close to perfection from your, once again the public’s point of view.

Then one naivly asks the question, how much do you get for this?
And then comes the conclusion, ‘wow you must be dirty rich’
Well, here I would like to reference you to some well written pieces by other dear performers, that are most definately worth a read.

Here, on the other hand.

I mainly want to write about counting out a price to offer, when asked for.

So. I put a set of questions up to answer to help us to draw the final offer.

Where do you live?

Your actual location is quite crucial. Also where you are from. In my case, I’m from an eastern european country, but live in a western one. (Let’s not get lost in the geographical truthfulness of this, I speak economically)
So for me this adds another dilemma, as what I generally get for one show is an entire monthly wage in my dear country, while in Bcn takes about 1/4 of a salary. The dilemma rises from my belief that I should not say no to an offer that could give me food for an entire month on home grounds, therefore saying no is luxury.

Actual location.

The difference between rushing down two metro stops and finshing the entire night in less then 4 hours, make-up included is pretty much priceless to having to be away two entire days, waiting at airports and bus stations, not always getting proper food (in my case, never getting it, since you airports don’t have any overpriced paleo snack points)
This means I take a low budget show in the city, but damn sure won’t travel more than 30 min for it.

Places differ in general prices, too. On one hand in places like Switzerland you can expect about the triple of your best price, on the other hand though, London is notoriously pays quite badly. (Burlesque)

Which are the general prices in your field?

Now that is a tricky one.

My field? Burlesque or circus?

Burlesque

I would put the general price of an international burlesque performer around 250-300 euros, this might include 3 different numbers performed.

Circus

Anything goes here. From fees hardly covering one’s survival. Here to be able to charge a constant high price the act has to be very high quality and one needs to be pretty skilled.
So, embarrassing, it is, to see that years of sweat, blood and pain is less appreciated than something that might be masterable in months. (Although, obviously, high quality burlesque performing requires a lot more than that, because perfection lies withis the smallest details).

What amount are you happy to work for?

I, personally, don’t mind a last minute 100-150 euro gig, from there up I’m pretty content withing the city limits. Internationally start over 300 euros. (Obviously all expenses paid)

This might depends on who you work for as well. I used to perform in a lovely jazz restaurant during my early circus times, 100 was the most they could pay, yet they offered two nights in a row, every time they hired. I love jazz music, I loved the ambient, I knew this was the maximum they could give me, so I was more than happy with it. Two times, low ceiling aerial hoop burlesque, which served me great as a practice.

Nevertheless if you deal with a huge place with high drink and entrance prices, you would not be happy not even with the double. Example. Ibiza. Offer. 3 aerial performances of silks and hoop, hoop being taken up to 6 meters without any security measure. 150 euros. One night in a week. I said no, yet, there were others, many, that have taken the offer.
Oh, and add, they, after seeing videos of me, needed to see me live, so the “casting” happened during opening hours, nice way to cover the night with free performances,right? Also you come and go, feed and live as you please, obvious, isn’t it? Mostly I loved the fact that the person offering me this even tried to blackmail me saying that I would not get any work on the island without taking this.
So, for big discos or parties I would charge over 300 euros at the least for aerials.

Also, a no skill gogo dancer gets 80-120, even in Ibiza…

Frequency?

Is it a one off gig? Is it a contract? Is it a longer contract? Are you working for or with these people many times?
I generally appreciate people that return to work with me, so if they are returning employers I am more willing to adjust my prices.

Contracts?

Over 1500 euros clean a month I’m happy. Plus the priceless security of not having stomach ache thinking about what tomorrow brings. (Oh, the dilemma of the full time performance artist with a mortgage)

1500 euros clean, what is that?

That is with full board and accomodation plus travel expenses.

1500 would mark the bottom end with few shows, to state the obvious. For a 6-7 shows a week deal 3000 euros plus would be rather suitable. (Sure, best would be 4-5000, plus a mansion in the countriside with a personal massage therapist, but…)

Generally I count out my price according to the amount of shows I have to do during a week and math out the price of a single number, ideal would be keeping it up over 150 euros per one number and never going below 75.

Well, big, famous theater, self titled superstar sums down to 25 per number, that is fucking fellow performers in the ass without any doubt. So this leads down to the next question.

Ethics?

We live in a dirty, unethical world, where one would stab his own mother in the back for 5 euros. Truth.

Meanwhile everybody wants to be rich and famous, means don’t matter.

I personallyappreciate ethics and loyalty.

Do you know the market you are offering a price?

Private or corporate gig, small or big scene. Etc.
Corporate pays very well, yet private can also do that and the contrary both. Same with smaller and bigger scenes.

Little story.

Once a Hungarian friend asked me how much would I charge for a small performance for him/friends for a small party (no technical difficulties). I said a 100 euros. His conclusion was that it was cheap, as if 4 or 5 puts its together it is quite cheap per person. So there, now tell me why places actually making money with your performance don’t want to pay this very minimal price?

I believe the venues should start with appreciating their artists before offering rip off prices and believing, that circus artists were just born that way, so no need to pay them more than a general gogo.

So, now you can all call me a cheap bitch, but I though it was best to drop the numbers in the discussion, because I personally hate googling the price of something and finding everything, but that.

There are a million more related topics that are coming to my mind related to prices, so to be continued.