Friday, September 25, 2009

No Pressure

I love my Wednesday night tap class.  The teacher is a hardass (kind of) but he really wants us to get our money's worth and be good dancers.  I dig that.  I want to be a good dancer.  I'm very inspired by Gene Kelly so I want to tap well.  My teacher corrected my technique Wednesday night on a new step because it is all about technique, and I was happy to get personal instruction so I can make improvements.

In most dance classes, there are "across the floor" exercises.  This is where there was trouble in ballet class all those months ago.  Students line up and drill a move while traveling across the floor with new groups of students coming in after an eight count or a sixteen count to allow room for everyone to move without having a collision.  If it was strippy class, I would have no problem being in the front of the line since I know my stripping very well and wouldn't worry about others picking up bad habits from watching me.  However, I am willing to take any spot in the line going across the floor.  This Wednesday the instructor picked me to lead one of the lines.  I know my eight counts like the back of my hand so I know when to come in.  I also pay attention in class and stop tapping when he speaks.  He said, "You've had tap before, right?"  I reluctantly said, "Some."  The girl who was already in the front of the line wanted to be there and I know people get sensitive about being moved out of spaces.  I crept to the front of the line as the gal who was there defended her position.  I wonder if she thought he was suggesting that she wasn't a good dancer by moving her back in the line.  Who knows.  Anyway, I was all ready to lead the line and then we got into the defense stuff.  So enter me, feeling bad because I was asked by the teacher to lead because I was displacing someone who was very passionate about being in that spot in the line.  I was uncomfortable.

Then another student defended my position as the line leader.  She proclaimed. "She's really good!"  It was very kind of her, but I don't feel that I'm really good at tap yet.  I've had maybe nine months of tap, most of it over ten years ago.  I'm really good at burlesque because I had many of the component skills down years ago.  Now I wasn't just displacing someone, I was also labeled as really good so it became more than just being the first one to dance across the floor in that line.  Now it felt like I had to prove something and defend my position as well as live up to the expectations of the proclaimer and now the rest of the class.  Ugh!  I was just there to dance!

Even though I felt miserable for a little while because so much was pasted onto this little "lead the line" thing, I did an okay job with the task and was able to get back into just drilling the moves.  I don't know how upset the other student actually was, but the resistance I observed when I tried to assume my assigned position made me feel like I'd somehow done something wrong.  Fortunately everyone was fine at the end of class.  Ugh.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And in This Corner ...

I've sent out a lot of resumes over the summer.  A lot.  I typically troll craigslist for work because it seems to be the best place to hunt for a job.  I've tried job search engines and had no luck.  I've applied directly on recruiting websites and gotten nowhere.  It's a tough time to find work.  I've been on five job interviews and had one over the phone.  Two of those were at temp agencies that both hired me but haven't had the steady stream of work to keep me occupied all summer.  The third was at the place where I work one day a week.  (He got over 200 resumes within an hour of posting for the job and he called me.)  The fourth was the place where the assistant who was leaving when I interviewed decided to stay so the job was no longer vacant.  The fifth interview was today.

I'm very qualified to do office work and bookkeeping.  I know computers and easily learn programs.  I don't apply for jobs that "require hard work and multi-tasking" with a ton of job tasks that pay what local hamburger places do.  I expect to be paid something close to the value of service I deliver, and I do work hard.  I popped over to this interview (from craigslist) today right after I finished my morning of work with the guy I talked about above.  I wore a red v-neck blouse and khakis because I knew it wasn't a law office or Fortune 500 company, and I know business casual is the norm in Los Angeles.  When I entered the office, there were three Latinas dressed in black filling out job applications.  I sat down and filled out my application as the first three gals interviewed together.  I was called over to interview with a fourth Latina dressed in black.  As I interviewed, three more Latinas in black came in to fill out applications.  I was told they were interviewing thirty people today and would do working interviews with five.  I felt like I was in an episode of "Sesame Street" and I was the one thing not like the others.  Who knows if I'll be called in.

So I'm still hunting for work.  It's a tough time out there and my bills aren't getting smaller.  Anyone know of some part-time work out there?

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Let's Make a Deal

I'm cool with bartering as long as things work out for both parties.  I don't go for those trades where I put in way more than I get back, especially when the other party indicates that I got a deal.  I don't mind swapping two of what I have for one of what someone else has as long as the value is fair.  It seems like I've been shafted an awful lot.

This week I had a complete opposite experience.  I helped a wonderful performer and now friend with a huge costume and prop project in exchange for feather fans.  I put in lots of time and effort to get my parts of the projects done well and on-time.  I knew when I met this person that it would be fair (not just me hoping it would be fair but knowing deep down it wouldn't).  She's patient, sweet, kind and great to work with.  While I worked hard, I do have a product of incredible value coming to me for all of my work.  Andrew even helped for several hours today.

This project restored my faith in bartering with people, so thanks to my newfound friend for the opportunity and experience.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Orleans


Sorry I'm sharing this with you almost a week after I got home.  I've had a busy week with work every day and most nights.  I'm very hopeful that trend continues.

I've gotten into a habit of taking less photographs when I go places.  I like having photo memories and pictures to share with you, dear readers, but it becomes cumbersome taking a camera everywhere and I don't want to experience everything through the lens.  You're going to get a few things from the highlights reel.

Dancing at House of Blues was amazing.  This is a photo of the entryway to the green room where I waited for hours to go on.  (I was #25 in a lineup of 27 or 29 acts.)  We were provided with beverages and snacks to ease our wait.  It was a wonderful backstage experience.  We even had praline and cheesecake ice cream at our disposal.  I loved dancing there.

As I waited for the show to start, I decided to add my name to the bathroom wall.  It's just above my finger.  I wish I had a giant Marksalot instead of a borrowed Sharpie so I could really make my mark.  You can see my name amongst a ton of other performers who asserted their importance with pens, pencils and markers.  There was graffiti on the ceiling above the toilet as well.  It was kind of like signing a yearbook.

I had a wonderful time performing at House of Blues.  I hope I'm asked back next year.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

How It Went

As I write, I'm sitting in the New Orleans airport reflecting on my trip. I did take photos, but I can't retrive and post them until I get home. I did have an incredible time. Dancing at House of Blues was magical and I'm so glad I got to share it with Andrew, even if it was via speakerphone. There were some snags during my trip but the good outweighed the bad. I'll post more after I get home and recover a little.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Transit

I'm at the Las Vegas airport on my way to New Orleans. I'm very excited. I barely survived the past week of working, web design, rehearsal, voice recording, set building, writing and a show. I'm exhausted but eager to hit the Big Easy for the first time.

I started a new blog just for Snapper news at www.snapperburlesque.blogspot.com. I'll still post about my shows and my life here, but that's the place for the business stuff.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tap-a Tap-a Tap-a

I started my first tap class in nearly ten years today. My wonderful $60 shoes still fit after all these years so I took it as a sign I should get back into a class and learn from a great teacher. I've had so much luck at the community college with ballet that I was very optimistic.

I've taken tap from two teachers. The first was a gym teacher in college who taught "theatre dance." I hated the teacher and hated her teaching style slightly less. It didn't help that I could only afford $12 tap shoes. The second was a cranky old lady who taught through the community service branch of the St. Louis community college system. There were maybe five people in the first class, and just me and Andrew made it to the end of the semester. She ran us through a number of routines but never taught us how to do one really well. She didn't spend enough time drilling us on the basics. At the end of the semester she told us we could continue at a higher rate. I seem to recall saying we'd think about it because it seemed mean to tell her that she sucked as a teacher.

I am soooooo excited about this tap class. The instructor works at a way more expensive school just down the street teaching the same thing. He's a hardass but a great teacher. He explained how to buy good tap shoes. He broke down each step and mixed theory with practical. It was amazing. I learned more in one class with him than in eight to ten months with the other two teachers. It was incredible!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Burning Down Los Angeles


Armageddon over the Rose Bowl


This is the view of the fire zone.  I pulled this photo down from the L.A. Times website. Actually it's not the entire fire zone.  I live at least ten miles from the fires.  I haven't Mapquested it recently.  Our home is in no danger, but the air has been terrible the past few days.  I had a nasty weekend-long allergy attack from the funky air.  We don't have air conditioning so we rely on window fans to cool our house.  With the nasty air and ash, our house was something of an oven over the past week.  City temps were in the high 90s.
But for the family out there, I know you worry.  We're fine, drinking lots of water and avoiding heavy exercise.  I think I sneeze at least twenty times a day so you know I'm chasing the toxins out.