Tabitha and I had the opportunity to be partners in crime this past month. Nearly every weekend in October, we partnered up to do private party gigs (in addition to our regular nights at El Morocco and El Mansour). After all was said and done, I felt like I shimmied my butt off!
The first weekend was Tabitha’s gig, but I got to tag along to get the lay of the land. It was a big birthday party full of boisterous Russians in the heart of San Francisco! Tabitha looked absolutely stunning, the energy from the music was contagious, and the birthday boy was thrilled to dance with such a charming dancer. The crowd was really caught up in the excitement, snapping pictures at every opportunity, and they “oooed” and “ahhhed” at all the right times. The kids kept following Tabitha around, and they didn’t want to miss a second of the show. Success!
The second weekend, Tabitha and I teamed up to be the entertainment of a surprise 50th birthday party in Montclair. The event planner, birthday boy’s wife, was set to keep us a secret until the very moment we entered the room, and judging from the looks on all the guests’ faces, she succeeded! We had 45 minutes of non-stop dancing, pulling out all the props (veil, zills, fan, sword, and double veil). We also debuted a brand-new choreography that we worked on together. Both the hostess and birthday boy were such good sports, getting up to dance with us with little to no coaxing. The guests were also very enthusiastic and lovely! The restaurant’s staff members were so gracious; the compliments flowed all night ... along with the sweat down my face from all the dancing! Success!
The next day, I had to get geared up again to do my regular night at El Morocco, while Tabitha and the other Divas (Iman, Majah, and Le’Ana) had another gig in Burlingame. Giving out so much energy two nights in a row was .... exhausting. Thankfully, only two customers were at the restaurant to witness a somewhat flawed performance (my halter top decided that it wasn’t going to stay hooked for the duration of my set). Nevertheless, they were very gracious and generous with their tips. A special thank you to those two kind souls!!!
The third weekend, Tabitha and I teamed up again to be the surprise entertainment of a 40th birthday party in Sunol. The party was at a large event center, bursting at the seams with friends, family, and kids!! Per the client’s request, we were only performing two choreographed routines, and the rest of the time, our task was to get the guests up to dance. We were only supposed to stay for 30 minutes, but the “get up and dance with us” part was so successful that we ended up staying for over an hour!! People eagerly jumped up to join the dance circles, taking turns to show us their best shoulder shimmies or hip drops. The husbands were showing off their moves, the wives were very amused by their enthusiasm, and the kids couldn’t take their eyes of the sparkly costumes! Both of us kept getting pulled into picture after picture; I hoped and prayed that the sweat wasn’t making me look like a dribbly mess. When we finally escaped, Tabitha and I ran into the bathroom and literally peeled off our costumes (eww). Success!
- Gigging can be somewhat lonely (and potentially dangerous). With all the driving to unknown locations and waiting in random backrooms/bathrooms, I’m glad I didn’t have to go alone.
- No matter the ethnicity or age group, people love belly dancers.
- You have to air out your costumes as soon as possible, otherwise they’ll still be damp from sweat the next day. Grossie.
- Grabbing a drink after a gig in full hair and make-up will bring you attention .... in the form of free drinks. :)
- Grabbing a drink after a gig in full hair and make-up will also make you look like a woman of the night. :(
- Belly dancers have to be cool, confident, and full of life – there is no room for fear or uncertainty.
- With the right enthusiasm (and delusion), it is possible to choreograph a routine from scratch, and get it gig-ready, in two weeks time.
- From Tabitha: If you’re a barefoot dancer, make sure you have cheap shoes specially designated to wear to and from gigs. You never know what you’re going to trek home …
Taryn and Tina = TNT = dynamite! And I felt dynamite after performing with Tabitha – she’s an amazing dancer, a great teacher, and a wonderful friend!