I had my monthly show at Parker Jewish Adult Day Care today. Forty five minutes. They have me dance for forty five minutes. I now know why football players throw up after long, hard practices.
As I hunched over the toilet at the Day Care center dry heaving, I laughed to myself. I thought of this post, by Lucy on Bhuz, and how appropriate it was especially at that moment. So, with Lucy's permission, I am posting her extremely on-point monologue here for you to read. Enjoy.
Not glam: An inch of black crust on your feet from dancing in dirty restaurants. Detangling your sweaty, hairsprayed hair when you get home. Ass sweat. Crotch sweat. Belly button sweat. Sweat in places you didn’t even know you COULD sweat. The hard, rough calluses you get on the balls of your feet. Deflecting patrons who want to tip you in inappropriate places. Trying to keep your spirits up when you’re dancing for people who aren’t even paying attention to you, or worse, giving you dirty looks. Arguing with a club owner over money. Trying to dance with your eyelids stuck together thanks to an overzealous application of eyelash glue. Standing in a filthy kitchen, waiting to dance, and trying to keep the hem of your $800 costume off the floor. Changing in a cockroach-ridden storage closet. Trying to dab the sweat dripping down off the tip of your nose without the patrons noticing. Attempting to pee while still in costume without letting any part of your designer duds touch the toilet seat. Restaurant owners who think you can do a show, no problem, in the 6″ between tables and without any open space at all. Taking your wig off in the car and throwing it in the back seat, and then realizing that the people in the next car over are watching you. The smell of your head after you’ve sweated in a wig for three shows. Getting your veil back after a show and realizing that someone accidentally dipped it in hummus. Waking up the morning after a show with weird dance-related injuries - a rhinestone-shaped bruise on your knee, pinch marks from your bangles, scratches on your underarms from where you brushed against a jutting prong on your costume bra. Keeping your stage face on while a drunk asshole shouts, “Hey, loooookammmmme - I’m a bellydancer TOO!” and starts pelvic-thrusting his way across the floor (although you get your revenge when you swat him harder than is really necessary during your “playful” cane song). Waking up the next morning and realizing that you forgot to unpack your costume bag after the show last night, opening it up and being hit with the smell of damp sweat, shisha and cigarette smoke. Running into the back room after a show and having to bend over, heaving, to get enough air into your lungs.
Glam, or just plain fun: Making a little girl’s face light up. Getting a little Persian grandmother up to dance and having her family stuff your costume with twenties in appreciation. Buying out CVS’s entire stock of false eyelashes. New costumes. New music. Hitting the beat JUST right and doing something amazing that you’d never done before, never dreamed of doing before. Dancing to your favorite song at an Arabic nightclub and hearing the crowd sing the lyrics for you. Navigating your way across a stage that is so covered in dollar bills that you are afraid of slipping. Seeing yourself make money, REAL money, not a paycheck - dollar bill after dollar bill, until afterward, you cannot even close your wallet for all the money. Having someone want to show their appreciation for you so much that they write you a check as a tip. Dancing for people who appreciate all the work and research and sweat time you’ve put into becoming a great dancer. Being on stage, being beautiful, creating art with your body and your spirit, becoming music embodied, watching your skin shimmer and shimmy under the lights.
Lucy's website is http://www.lucy-dances.com/ and her blog is www.sparklepirate.wordpress.com