Sunday, August 28, 2011

What's in My Gig-Bag.......

One of the fun and interesting questions I get from fans and friends alike.  What DO I pack in my gig-bag?

Well, to start off with (for those who don't know me) I am a pack-rat. I am THE person to go to for anything and everything, because I am always ready for what ever life might throw at me. I do not know when this particular predilection came about, but it is who I am. Perhaps it evolved in my teen years as I watched MacGyver face daunting and dangerous tasks with calm and finesse (while still looking hot and sexy) armed only with a bit of twine, a few paperclips and batteries?! Whatever the case may be, I used to pack everything I might possibly need for any eventuality.  Thank goodness I have learned to tone it down and become more organized in both my thinking and packing processes :) Or I would be carrying around WAY to much stuff. (LOL....though if you ask my students, friends and family I am sure they will say I STILL carry around way to much stuff.) I am well known to pack some odd bit of something "Just in case!".

So, back to my gig-bag.  Here is a list of what I pack for an average gig, perhaps there are dancers out there who will find my list helpful, and perhaps there are some out there that will have bits of wisdom and advise to share with me......

1) Costumes (duh...yeah)
Here's the clincher though, if I am hired to perform in only one costume I pack two, if I am supposed to wear two different costumes, I pack three....and so on....because, you never know when you might have an accident (a torn skirt or spilled wine) and sometimes, they love you so much, they ask you to stay for another set!

2) Zils/Sagat (2 or 3 different sized pairs) which size I use is dependant on the venue, band and sound system and even what type of audience. I try to get all this info before I go to a gig, but sometimes the client just doesn't have all the info I need.

3) Cane, Sword, Veils (to match the costumes), Isis Wings (I have a separate bag to carry the large odd shaped props)

4) Anti-Static spray. SO important! I rarely use it, but when you need it, you REALLY need it. You can find it in the aisle with all the laundry supplies at your local grocery and it doesn't cost much, but is a real life saver.

5) Hair spray and curling Iron. Also not always used, but I have gotten rained on at outdoor gigs and was able to recover my flagging hair with a bit of a curl and spritz between sets, it is So important to always look your best!

6) Make up case with everything I used to do my makeup to begin with, plus, Q-tips, cotton swabs, facial tissues and makeup remover.

7) Toothbrush and toothpaste...nothing worse than being offered a bit of Spanicopita between sets then running back out to dance with Spinach betwixt the teeth.....arg!

8) Tape: good strong, sticky tape! I usually have both the double sided tape used by models to keep clothes from slipping and exposing something you don't want exposed (this can be purchased at places like Joanne Fabrics or Hitchcocks) and I also carry Duct Tape, yes, Duct works great to mend a torn seam, or prevent the girls from slipping out of the top of a rather low bra and so many other 'you never know what might need taping' moments. A friend once said to me, "What does 'the force' and duct tape have in common? They both have a Dark Side and a Light Side and they hold the Universe together". Words to believe in, if you ask me.

9) Safety Pins, Safety Pins, Safety many sizes.

10) Dance Slippers (low healed or no healed) and High Healed Dance Shoes. (keep my options open, depending on the flooring)

11) Business Cards! Other misc Propaganda.

12) Extra Music, not just extra copies of that which I plan to dance to, but extra music in case I get to dance more.

13) A change of street clothes.

14) Gum and or Mints. Often shared with fellow dancers, but always enjoyed by me at every gig.

15) A few Energy Bars and a Bottle of water. I once had a troupe member ready to pass out from low blood sugar levels, after sharing a mint and some water, I gave her my Protein Bar and she was up and ready to dance again a few minutes later. We all at one time or another accidentally skip a meal, especially if we are rushing around getting ready to go perform, or rushing from one gig to the next.

16) A cover up/ Galabia

17) A hand fan for cooling off after dancing. I have a beautiful Japanese fan painted with Dragons that I always keep in my bag., that's my BASIC list, sometimes there is more sometimes there is less, but that is what I usually pack. Most of these items are just kept in my bag, as I have one bag dedicated to gigging and performances, so I am not packing like MAD every weekend trying to collect the things I need. I also have a check list I go over to make sure I have missed nothing.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Beginning......The Formative Years-Love and Marriage

My childhood was rich and vibrant. I feel like such an incredibly lucky person to have grown up in the family I have. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't perfect, I have not by any means lived a charmed life.  My family has a lot of skeletons in our closet, some forcefully shoved in there by yours truly, but those life experiences make life richer too. What is that old saying? 'What doesn't kill, you makes you stronger.'? Not that I have actually had things happen that threatened my life, just altered my perspectives, tremendously.

Obviously, to protect those I love, I cannot actually let the skeletons out, but I can tell you how I have learned and grown from my experiences.

So to start with, lets talk about my parents. My mother and Father met well over 50 years ago. As the story goes, it was the wee hours of the morning, mom had just finished up at her job as a cocktail waitress at one of the posh nightclubs in downtown Chicago and was walking down the street in search of a cab. My dad, being a young and randy lad of 21 had just finished up a night of hustling the unwary out of their money at the local pool hall. Dad was also wandering along the quiet early morning streets in search of a cab. My mom swears when they both waved down a lone cab at the same time, that she thought he was out to mug her, but dad had other thoughts entirely....'what in the world was this beautiful young woman doing out on the streets at this hour?'. So in thickly accented, broken English my German Gentleman of a dad, offered up the lone cab to my mom and opened the door for her, planning to continue walking till he found another (highly unlikely at 3 AM).  My mom, upon approaching the cab, got her first good look at the gentlemanly young man and thought him so young and sweet, she decided to share the cab. So began a whirlwind courtship that lasted only a few months before they married and have since spent 50 years in wedded 'bliss' (though the courtship has truly never ended).

So what did I learn from my parents? My mom is no shrinking violet and my dad is a hard headed and 'olde world' manly man. Their 50 yrs of marriage has been full of clashes and thrills not really very 'blissful', as my mom says they have a truly passionate relationship....they fight passionately and they make up passionately...(.lol...TMI right?) I thought so too as a kid, but as I grew older I longed for that same type of relationship.

I learned that a good marriage is about compromise, passion, love, friendship and equality (even if you have to fight for it). Nothing is perfect and if you expect perfection, you will only be let down and give up. Though my parents lives together have been far from perfect, they truly do love each other and they fight for what they love. How can I do any less?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The beginning......Lil' Miss Twinkle Toes

By the time I could walk I was dancing. I think it really is something inherent in all of us as children, that sadly many lose as they 'grow up'.  As children we are all so uninhibited, we don't even know to worry about what others will think of us. I think perhaps I was extra uninhibited ( is that an oxymoron?). All I know is, I would dance anywhere and everywhere, oh and lets not forget the singing and acting and all around frolicking. I was the apple of my mothers and fathers eyes, I could do no wrong and was loved by all. The youngest of 8 kids with a 7 year gap between me and my closest KNOW that is a recipe for disaster! Amazingly enough, I think I turned out all right.

So anyway, I was a dancer. As soon as I was old enough to enroll, it was off to Ballet classes, following in my big sisters foot step.  I can't say for sure when that first fateful dance step in class was taken, I imagine it was somewhere around the age of three or four years old. A lot has happened since then. I have to say though, I am so glad my parents did take that step to enroll me in those classes and kept up with it for so many years.  The discipline, the friendships, and all the amazing experiences I have had along the way have helped to shape who I am today.