The Ups & Downs
in The Life of a
Cape Town Belly Dancer.
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on July 16, 2017 at 1:50 PM||comments (0)|
This was a very, very late booking on Friday.
So glad I took it.
Such a beautiful, elegant, tasteful venue and so were my clients! Birthday boy was a real good sport and boogied away happily with me and then all his friends and family also got up to dance. Everything was just lovely.
The staff at The Taj are the epitome of polite and helpful. Anele the doorman was especially wonderful.
So funny how well I and my costume match the decor!!
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on July 2, 2017 at 5:25 PM||comments (0)|
An even more last minute gig than the previous one!! I was booked the day before by the mother of the birthday boy to dance at 7.30pm. So I just quoted her by phone and did not send a written quote with all my T's and C's including my penalty clause for them if they run late!! Damnit!
I was already on the road when she called to say they were running late so I ended up arriving 45 minutes before I was dancing. There had been a mix up with the friend that was meant to keep Birthday Boy busy while the party was being set up and they ended up at a movie. Everyone was there waiting for him and all were starving! I was meant to perform between main and dessert but they ended up agreeing I could perform while they ate the mains. It took ages for everyone to dish up, OMW!
I was lurking in a bedroom waiting and getting colder by the second and this guy kept coming into the room to use the bathroom and to smoke, so Linda and I would wait outside. All very awkward! He turned out to be the Birthday Boy!! So much for being a surprise! Although I'm sure he was surprised to find a belly dancer in his bedroom!
Finally it was time for me to dance. There was a tiny spot for me to perform in. (Outside next to the swimming pool, underneath a tiny lapa thing which was so low I kept scratching my hands on it. The pavers around the pool were very uneven and had the texture of really rough sand paper.) Due to the lack of space I could not use my wings and ended up performing to my good old faithful entrance piece which I keep trying to retire!
Birthday Boy was not interested in being a good sport and dancing even a few steps with me. He just stood there like a statue while I tried to tempt him with ever more simple dance moves, but nope. He eventually vanished and then it was the usual routine of people pointing out other people that they thought should dance, none of whom was willing.
Eventually a couple of the oldest ladies (Bless their sweet souls!) and the dad danced with me.
I had spent the best part of 7 or 8 minutes inviting and practically begging people to dance and then when the last song ended they all wanted to jump up and dance and were surprised that I was finished with my set!
I could not wait to get home. I was ravenous after not having eaten properly for 2 days, I was frozen, my feet were raw from the pavers and I was having an asthma attack from all the smoke. Did I mention that the vast majority of the guests all lit up while I was dancing?
They were nice people and it was fun dancing for them. I just thought it was a funny story with all the delays and I definitely don't want to offend anyone by writing about it. (I didn't even put all the bits in. Like how I could hear some guy in the crowd shouting that I must, "Take it off!" or how the birthday boys only attempt at interactive dance was to try to grab my hips or that the dad was eating a cake and he tried to put it on my chest - What did he think he was achieving??) Anyway, at least I evaded all the above with my usual grace and style and can still take pride in a job well done!
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on June 30, 2017 at 2:50 PM||comments (0)|
A very last minute and strange gig. The client was very conservative and did not want us to have bare midsections, so we had to wear dresses or have some sort of belly covering. They also wanted us to do 3 sets. I have 2 dresses and Kalynda and Beth have none. I was looking for anything in my cupboard that would do and found a couple of long evening dresses that I had blinged up previously but never worn. I also found full body lace stockings at a Chinese shop. Kalynda and I wore them under our regular costumes. It looks quite nice and helped to keep us warm in this icy weather. I had an old velvet saiidi dress that I had made for my daughter years ago. Beth borrowed a couple of dresses from friends and together with the saiidi dress was sorted. Kalynda wore my blinged up evening dress and a pretty floral dress that she had. Anyway we went from almost none to too many options.
There was a dreadful speaker that seemed to be blown, it was crackling constantly and we were not allowed to have volume so we could barely hear our music. No organizer there to help or take care of our music. It was all very odd...When we arrived we were shown to the ladies loos to change. I just said it wasn't suitable as we had so much equipment and all our costumes and props to lay out. We ended up having the auditorium for our changing room! That was nice. Plenty of room, soft carpets and privacy.
The floor tiles in the center were HEATED!! That was a novelty.
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on May 28, 2017 at 1:45 PM||comments (0)|
And now for something completely different to the usual baby shower!
They totally enjoyed themselves.
Mum in law was the organizer and she told me that they wanted something more fun for everyone than just playing present guessing games which are usually soooo boring and often humiliating for the mum to be.
I was extremely careful of the mum and kept her by my side the whole time warning her of potentially dangerous movements during the lesson. Don't get me wrong, belly dancing is fabulous during pregnancy but please don't start during the end of your 3rd trimester and for goodness sake don't do lots of percussive and jolting movements. Last thing I want to do is deliver a baby! If I heard the words,
" My water broke!"
I'd probably be the first one out of there!
I dressed Mum to be in blue and pink as the gender of the baby is a surprise.
My costume is another made by Yours Truly;-) Photos taken by Kalynda on the Sony Cybershot.
See more here: www.tanayabellydance.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=16076283
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on May 22, 2017 at 3:55 PM||comments (0)|
14th May 2017 - Such a fabulous hen party on Saturday! The ladies were such good fun and joined in with good spirits. The bride to bes granny was amazing! She is 86 years old and was shaking her hips with much enthusiasm as the younger ladies - maybe even more! Turns out she does Senior Aerobics. Kalynda came with to help and to take photos and ended up dancing the drum solo with me. She was wearing a beautiful long dress and looked lovely. See Gallery under Anjas hen party, House of Minc.
20th May 2017 - Kalynda and I danced together at a 30th birthday party in Lansdowne on Saturday night. I've had my pink costume for years and Kalynda recently bought one in the same style just a different colour and has been dying to flight it. I looove the dark blue! Almost got that one myself and then last minute chose a hot pink dress which I still haven't used yet! Seeing as it's winter in Cape Town now, I'm sure I will wear it soon. There are a few photos of varying quality from multiple devices. Look in the gallery under Nadias 30th birthday.
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on May 6, 2017 at 8:05 AM||comments (0)|
I know, I have not been writing about my gigs recently. Just didn't really feel like it and nothing really memorable happened.
So this post is going to be about all the gigs I didn't write about.
March 9th I danced for an 80th birthady at Ratanga - Officers Lounge ( I think it was called.) It was lovely. I was booked by the birtday girls son, all the way from Australia. Bridgeways were their usual organized selves and everything was fab. I even had the use of the backstage dressing room all to myself. Kalynda came with to help and take photos.
Then I had the healthy kiddies birthday party in Constantia - Already wrote about that one.
Next was a bridal shower in Wellington. Stunning house and beautifully decorated area. Girls were all great sports and especially the lovely bride to be. She had already been dressed a la theme so I suddenly had extra time on my hands! I wore my latest costume designed by Yours Truly. It's meant to be a mermaid style. Photos taken by Kalynda on her Samsung S6 'cos I forgot my camera:-o
After that I had 2 gigs on Saturday 10 April. First one was a bridal shower in University Estate and the second was at a 40th birthday party in Durbanville. Jaden took the photos at the bridal shower on my LG G4 mobile phone as the camera battery was flat in spite of charging for the whole day. There were too many light sources and a massive mirror so the pics were sadly very over exposed. The second gig Kalynda came with and took pics on 2 Samsung phones and the teeny bit of charge in the camera battery. Very challenging circumstances but I managed to salvage a few shots. And of course I was dancing barefoot on a sloping brick patio!!
Next gig was a last minute booking via my friend Nadia for Nomad tour group. We didn't even have to dance choreography, just sort of floated around as ambient entertainment. It was great fun though and really loved dancing with my friends Jamilah and Nadia.
Then the next day I had a lovely 60th birthday gig at Cinnamon House for Stephanie. Beautiful, tasteful venue, but it was so hot on that day, I was melting!
After previous melty gig, we went down to the beach to cool down and take some photos of my new mermaid costume made by Yours Truly!! So proud of it, but in a good way!
A few days later Natasha from HipCircle booked Jamilah and me for a gig at Lagoon Beach Hotel. There were 3 other belly dancers there. Never danced with any of them before and we had to improv to each others music while each one of us had a solo. It was a lot of fun. Hotel staff were fantastic - very polite, helpful and attentive. The audience was what I usually consider a no no. All male - eek! BUT, there were 5 of us and Natasha as our agent and Kalynda as photographer and all the female hotel staff. Plenty of girls to balance the testosterone. The men were super. Very appreciative and also very polite. (There is a way to show your appreciation without being sleazy, and I have to say that Middle Eastern folk have mastered that skill!)
Then yesterday....Polynesian party at the Protea Hotels Fire & Ice! by Marriott for a 10 year old. The birthday girl was dressed beautifully as Moana from the Disney movie. Kalynda and I taught and performed. The girls had all been guzzling sugary sweets and drinks for about an hour before we arrived and had the slightly crazed look of crack addicts in their eyes. We managed to keep them under control and taught them some hula dancing moves and a very easy chorography under the guise of a competition. I had to ban them from eating and drinking any more sugar loaded treats until the competition was over! Fortunately I had a selection of small gifts to hand out as prizes. The day before I actually hand made a Heart of Te Fiti stone as a gift for the birthday girl. She was ecstatic when I gave it to her with her certificate of achievement.
You can see all the albums here http://www.tanayabellydance.com/apps/photos/
So, I have been busy, just not busy writing!!
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on March 18, 2017 at 4:10 AM||comments (0)|
Friday 17th March I had an 8 year olds birthday party. It had been quite a long time in planning for the mother and she was finding it difficult to get RSVPs. It was important for her to have numbers as she wanted to give each girl a coin belt as a party gift. Eventually she felt that everything was confirmed and then ordered 15 coin belts from me.
Weeks before, and as soon as she said that she wanted to buy coin belts, I went out and sourced as many as I could find - they have been in short supply recently. Not a problem for me if she didn't want them, I'd just keep them in stock.
They were so sweet and their attention span wasn't as short as I had feared! I flew completely solo - no assistant or photographer with me. I did take my camera with and asked one of the older girls to take a few pictures. I think she did really well. The mum was such a good hostess, the snack table was loaded with healthy treats of mostly fruit with one naughtiness of a chocolate fountain at the end!
During the workshop a couple of the girls were complaining that they were getting a stitch, so we had to keep stopping to do stretches. The funniest part was when the Mum took out a jug of water for one girl that was thirsty and the rest of them just followed her! I was alone on the dance floor! Anyway we managed to complete the lesson and I taught them a simple choreography. After my performance they came to tell me that I was very talented and that they were very impressed that I didn't get a stitch! One of the girls came to tell me that she wants to book me for her birthday. They were all very cute.
The drive home at 5 pm was absolutely brutal! Rush hour traffic:( Next time I dance at that time in the southern suburbs will just hang out at a coffee shop until the madness is over.
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on February 25, 2017 at 1:20 PM||comments (2)|
A very difficult gig.
I did not have a good time!
I had to throw a couple of diva tantrums, the audience was making me so cross.
They hi-jacked my sound system to play their own music while I was performing, messed with my settings, wouldn't leave the volume alone, unplugged my light and were getting far too close and personal for my liking. Even the cane and shamadan didn't put them off and you know those can both cause serious injury! They were seriously getting all up in my grill!!
Especially the one guy...jeez...I could happily have strangled him. He was even stepping on my toes! That's how close he was. At one point I stopped dancing and asked who they wanted to watch, him or me?? I accidently hit him a couple of times with my cane, must get a heavier one, and had to physically push him away when dancing with my shamadan.
I was thoroughly sick of the whole thing by the time my last set was over, and couldn't wait to leave. Said my polite and always professional farewells. Then the one lady stopped me at the door and said she wanted to give me a present, It was a really nice tip - the best I've ever had! But I was still fuming and smarting the whole way home...and then, I discover I forgot my cane and veil. Flip! So annoyed. Went back today to collect and had to pretend that I had had a wonderful time the evening before and hadn't been complaining at all. lol!
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on February 13, 2017 at 3:55 AM||comments (0)|
My theme for the month of February is red and white in honour of Valentines day. Any combination we feel like. If you look closely you can see we have sewn hearts onto our costumes. Cheesy, I know, but sometimes one just needs a little extra fun!
Friday the 10th I was booked for a Belly dance and Bellywood performance at Nuraans Mehndi evening in Crawford. Kalynda came with to dance the Bellywood performances as they are group or duo dances and I really don't like performing them as a solo. It was a bit of a challenge as the area we had to dance in was a tented off portion of the garden and the space allocated to us was a carpet on grass. Very uneven spongy surface! Plus we had speakers on tripod stands on either side and we had to be careful not to trip over the legs. But, all went well and they loved us. One lady held my hand at the end and thanked me personally. So sweet.
Stephanie, who has recently rejoined the group, came with to take photos.
The hostess sent me the message below;
"Hi Tanaya, thank you so much for an absolutely beautiful evening last night. The ladies loved your performances!" Nuraan
Then we had to dash off to the next party at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town. I didn't have a clue the nationality or demographic of the client as it was a very last minute booking by a third party.
We arrived fresh(not!) from our previous gig. (All hot and bothered!) Quick change and lipstick check and off we went. The audience was fantastic! Mum and her beautiful daughter were such good sports and were dying to dance. We even did an extra song for them!
"Thank you Tanaya, they were overjoyed. They showed me a nice video of you dancing with the birthday girl. Thanks for assisting at such short notice." The Taj Hotel
Camera seemed to be struggling with all the different light sources, but you can see how much fun we were all having!
The next day, Saturday the 12th February, we all dancing at Parow Valley Primary. Quite stressfull. Kalyndas dad had to be rushed to hospital. As soon as she knew he was stable, she rushed back to get ready for our performance at Parow Valley Primary. This was also Stephanies first performance in a long time. There was a fire fighting demo happening, so we had a little impromptu photoshoot behind the fire engine. We were caught by one of the firemen and he kindly posed with us! Photos taken by Jaden and Graham.
|Posted by Tanya Cameron on January 8, 2017 at 1:00 AM||comments (0)|
I just finished dancing at a 21st birthday. Had a costume emergency! The most serious one I've ever had. The zipper that I thought was stuck/broken closed, (so I have to pull the skirt up without using the zip) chose this evening to come undone whilst I was dancing. Fortunately I noticed the expectant and rivited faces and heard someone yell, "It's coming off!" The skirt did feel a bit loose and I immediately realised what was happening and zipped up again. I fretted for the rest of my set but fortunately no further mishaps occurred. I have now stitched that sucker closed permanently!
Friend and wing lady came with to takes some photos and videos.