I have wanted to write about this for some time and now finally got to sit down and do it
I have recently come to the conclusion that real jobs are totally overrated. Given half a chance I would choose my freelance job over any so-called real job. Having said this, I have to also admit that the only downfall to being a freelancer is not being able to say no, even when a prospective show clashes with your real life.
As a freelance belly dancer I have had the privilege of going to weird and wonderful places and meeting some extra ordinary people. The risk is always there for something to go wrong; I have nearly set myself alight many a time; I have had plates accidently broken on my head and I have seriously ‘stuffed’ up some group choreographies. Apart from some accidental blunders I have agreed to do shows in the middle of nowhere, at the most inconvenient times and had to perform for the worst and the best of audiences….with a smile J.
Let me tell you a little story of a recent show done at Sun City on a Monday night *yes a Monday night*. Candida and I, after having both put in a full day’s real work left for Sun City at 5pm on the hour, dodging traffic, potholes and kudu’s. Thankfully we managed not to get lost nor did we have any close encounters with four legged animals. However, by the time we reached Sun City we were a little high from the paraffin fumes and quietly asked ourselves for the umpteenth time, “why are we putting ourselves through this?” *as we vow to never do this again*.
Picture this: If you have ever been to Sun City; you can visualise the logistical nightmare when your accommodation and dressing room is booked in the Cabanas and you are to perform on the other end of Sun City. After we met for a quick briefing session with the client we had to rush to our room *still wearing high heels* that is on the other side of the world, this involved catching the shuttle bus, failing to charm the bus driver and finally resulted in bribery to break some rules to get us back to our room. By this time the adrenalin is pumping, you start hyperventilating and you start praying that you did not leave anything important behind. We finally got to our room and got dressed in our pretties, had some emergency sewing to do and had to unplug the fridge to find the one and ONLY plug in the room, so that we can do the most important: our HAIR!!!
From experience I can confirm that almost 80% of all shows are delayed due to the event running behind schedule, however this time the event was running ahead of schedule *the cherry on top of the cake*.
The most unglamorous thing to witness: two fabulous looking belly dancers charging out of the hotel *still wearing high heels* trying very hard to look calm and in control. We arrived at the venue just on time for music, lights and action. The show went well, and with it being a Monday night, the audience appeared a little flat, but the client was happy. Once the show is over you start analysing the good, the bad and the hilarious. You share a good laugh and giggle all the way back to the room, your heart rate returns to normal and you start focusing on the next hurdle: getting up at 4am, to leave at 4:45am and to get to JHB in time to miss the bulk of the peak hour traffic and get to the office on time to start another real job day at 8.
Back to the question posed earlier; why, why do we put ourselves through this? Why do we have the inability to say no? It is quite simple really – it is what makes us tick. Every show is a unique experience and adventure and every show has its own unique story to tell. There is a certain sense of camaraderie amongst dancers that none of our friends necessarily understand. To be dancing on stage and to share that feeling and the overall experience with our fellow dancers truly is priceless.
No real job or real life can keep me from saying no, when being offered to dance.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my fellow belly dancers *past and present* for the camaraderie, the fun, the laughter, the experiences shared and for being there to make these stories legendary!