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TanayaBellyDance

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Entertainment, 
Cape Town, South Africa

Blog

The Ups & Downs

in The Life of a

Cape Town Belly Dancer.

 

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Luau Party

Posted by Tanya Cameron on November 19, 2016 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

This was something a little different. A couple of months ago I was asked to dance hula for a Luau Party for a corporate year end function. Kalynda and I practised like crazy and managed to get 4 routines worked out. Sadly no pictures taken at the actual gig with the Wildly appreciative audience. One of the guys was even offering his car keys to Kalynda!


Instead we went to the beach and Graham Quat took a few pics there for us while we were being battered by gale force winds!

See more images at http://www.tanayabellydance.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=16037363

Kaap Agri Awards Dinner 2016

Posted by Tanya Cameron on November 11, 2016 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

On Wed, 9th November, we had been booked to dance for the Kaap Agri awards Dinner in Riebeecks Kasteel. Kalynda and Jamilah were booked to dance with me.

It was a really long drive to get there plus roadworks happening. We all did hair and make up before leaving our respective homes. Kalynda wore green and her beautiful new green skirt that I had made for her. Very proud of it!! Jamilah wore a blue/red costume that I had brought back from a trip to Egypt and I decided to wear white.

Love our hair - blonde, brown, black!

My client had reserved a cottage for us to use to change in. We put all our stuff in and then went to check the venue. It was just lovely. Delsma Farm had hung lovely swags on the walls and Persian carpets thickly laid on the floor. I went to speak to the DJ and gave him my flash drive. we did a sound check and all was good. (I was really organized this time. I had a flash drive, cd, mp3 player, mobile phone and an iPod with our music loaded!)

My client wanted me to try get her boss up to dance, but he was way too shy. His wife was there too, she also wasn't keen. I asked both of them to dance with me, but no luck. Apparently he ,the boss, had been all brave and was talking tough before, but as soon as we were there he got shy!

Here we are waiting "backstage"

We did about 5 songs and then it was time to drive home. 

Bachelorette in West Beach

Posted by Tanya Cameron on November 11, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Last weekend I had another hen party in West Beach. What a pleasure, just a 5 minute drive from my house. Kalynda, bless her, offered to be wing woman and photographer again. We are so used to driving for miles to our gigs that it is now hard wired into our genes to leave at least 30 minutes before. Well we arrived with ages to spare.

I had a slight head ache and was feeling a bit wobbly from low sugar I guess. We decided to drive back to a small shopping centre to buy some aspirin and a juice. 

When we got back to the venue we were bang on time. So we off loaded and walked in. The M.O.H. greeted us and took us to a bed room to change. I had to remain hidden as I was a surprise. The bride to be was running a little late.

Side note: The day before I had bought 2 fancy dress costumes for my bride to bes' to dress up in. See pics below. My poor pro costumes are suffering terribly from having various sized ladies wearing them, plus they don't realise how expensive the real costumes are and are a bit rough with them and I am constantly fixing and washing them. It takes it's toll. So, the one is a sort of Cleopatra style outfit and the other is kind of a Princess Jasmine effort. I actually blinged them up a bit more as well. I think they are quite cute. They are small to medium sized and then I also have a costume for the larger ladies to use. Doesn't really bother me if this one gets worn out as it will never fit me, it's way too big for me and especially in the bra area!

Cleopatra style

Princess Jasmine

The Cleo costume could have fitted my hen, but she preferred to wear the turquoise belly dance costume.

She was a real sweety and the most amiable person ever. We had such a lot of fun and she was laughing the whole time.

Here she is with her MOH

Here we are all together

Tafelberg School Carnival 2016

Posted by Tanya Cameron on November 2, 2016 at 5:30 AM Comments comments (0)

My son is a learner at Tafelberg School. He only started there about 3 months ago after having been on the waiting list for years and already we have seen a huge improvement in his grades as well as his well being. He has fitted in so well and everyone made him feel so welcome. The only problems he's having now are girl problems!

The school has an annual fundraising carnival and as I'm not the 'stand behind a stall and sell person' I figured that maybe they'd like to have some entertainment. I sent them a mail suggesting that my students and I could come give a demo. They were keen and said that we could dance on the stage and that there was a sound system.

We practised every week for the month beforehand and decided to wear blue costumes.

Posing before our performance!

We were doing the same four songs that we did at the Chinese school. We plugged my flash drive into the laptop wich was connected to the halls speakers but no sound was coming through. The organizer went off to find someone to help. Finally I heard sound. I dashed back onto stage and couldn't hear a thing!The music system was not good. Maybe sufficient for speeches and announcements etc but definitely not for dancers. We did not have stage monitors and could barely hear our music. Lots of muffed steps especially in the beginning and I suspect mostly by me! We were assured that the audience could hear it perfectly...I don't know how true that is.There is a lot of background noise in the video. It was a very stressful experience for my dancers and I think they did brilliantly in spite of everything.

My husband was taking photos, we decided on a different setting as we were 4 dancers in dim light. after lots of trial and errors we decided to use the default setting that the camera has for easy shots with flash.

Sad to say, my husband is a terrible photographer. His timing is off and most of the time he just captured half a dancer. He also cuts off hands and feet and for the picture above he zoomed in to the max which caused the two outside figures heads to elongate in a surreal way!

I explained to him that he must not zoom in, just take photos of the whole scene and as many as possible. I will edit and crop afterwards.

I did manage to salvage a couple. You can see them here http://www.tanayabellydance.com/apps/photos/album

Bachelorette in Kraaifontein

Posted by Tanya Cameron on November 2, 2016 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I was booked by a lady in the UK to teach and dance at a bachelorette in Kraaifontein.

As mentioned before one bachelorette is much like another. I have a program, it takes an hour altogether, it works for me and I'm not going to change it. However...this time I forgot my bag of coin belts!! That has never happened before. I have been doing so many corporate and birthday, wedding etc gigs which I don't take my coin belts to that it just completely slipped my mind. Only noticed when we got there and it was too far to drive back. I was mortified! I went out to set up my music system and noticed that all the chairs had white covers with purple or black organza sashes tied around them. I suggested that each lady borrow and wear a sash around her hips.

I went back inside to help my Bride to be get dressed. I was wearing my brand new, (made by me) white costume.

Kalynda came with to be wing woman and to take photos and this time I used the 'portrait with flash in dim light' setting. I could tell Kalynda was getting a bit frustrated as the camera takes a few seconds more to process the images and she is used to rapid firing her cell phone camera.

The pictures came out great. Much less in quantity but image quality was much better so I was happy.

I forgot to wear my dance shoes and realised that the skirt is a bit long, I kept stepping on the hem. Will roll up the waistband next time.

They were all lovely and my client was so sweet, she added a bit extra for a tip!


WCED and Elsies River High School

Posted by Tanya Cameron on November 2, 2016 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Elsies River High School had contacted me for a quote for International Teachers Day. WCED chose them to host the event. They decided on an Arabic theme and asked me to quote for a few girls to dance for an hour.

I quoted for 3 dancers and my Sphinx package. They immediately said it was too much and when I asked what their budget was to try and figure out a package to suit, they said they didn't know. Thank you for my time, have a good day.

I left it.

Two days before the function they contacted me desperately asking what one dancer would cost for half an hour and was I still available?

I quoted for Me for my Abu Simbel package. They immediately said that it was perfect and could they book me? I said "Yes."

Then I had to find out what sort of sound system they had. It was an 800W bluetooth speaker. Okay...bit worried. Been having issues with other peoples sound systems lately.

On the day I packed 2 costumes, my sword, veil, cane and a flash drive for in case. All my songs were on my cellphone to connect to the speaker.

The function was in the hall. I was originally meant to be dancing at the entrance as a sort of meet and greet. As it was a lunch time gig and most teachers were coming from other schools guests were not arriving in a steady stream, in fact, most were running late. They asked if I could rather dance on the stage and if I could wait til the last minute before starting to give more people a chance to arrive and do all my dances in one go. (Internal shrug and sigh, external 'yes of course!) I was taken backstage to the loos to change, my client stood guard outside whilst I did so. I handed over my cell phone to a student, showed her my playlist, password etc and said to make the sound as loud as possible. My camera was handed over to my client and she promised to take some pics for me.

I waited in the wings with the school band that was going on after me. Finally I was given my cue. I started with sword and from the very first step wished I was dancing barefoot!! The wooden stage floor was sooooo slippery. I had to dance very carefully, which I hate! Anyway, I danced for a solid 30 minutes. The last dance was interactive, not one person was brave enough to dance with me!! Too worried about what WCED would think maybe?


Dancing with sword on head and veil around neck in preparation for next song!

I was thoroughly impressed with the speaker! Wow! I want one. It wasn't quite loud enough at the back of the hall, but on and in front of the stage was fine.

Love how they decorated the stage. Didn't even notice until later when looking at my photos. Sadly photos came out blurry. I used the anti motion blur setting which deactivates the flash (I did not know this at the time)

All in all a nice quick easy gig.

Cape Town Lodge Hotel Wedding Reception

Posted by Tanya Cameron on October 30, 2016 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)

8th October 2016

Kalynda and I were booked to dance at a wedding reception.

As usual I told them my sound requirements and was assured that the hotel would supply the neccessary and that I must bring a flash drive.

The brides complimentary colours were purple and I decided to wear my Pharoanics butterfly costume and would lend Kalynda my light purple costume. She wasn't too pleased about it as it's not the shiniest costume around, something about it just leaves you thinking it needs more 'something'!

Having plenty of time before the big day I had a good look at it. (Deva also didn't really like it and I never felt that happy with it either.)

Purple bellydance costume

I added some shiny silver braid along the top edge of the bra and belt, added a pretty crystal to the bra centre piece and included a very dark blue under skirt. These small changes made a huge difference!

Finally it was the day and fabulously coiffed and sumptously upholstered we made our way to the gig with all our cases and props and a photographer in tow.

Blinged up purple costume!

We arrived a little early and tried to park in the hotel parking. R60!! No, way too much. The parking attendant suggested we park outside in the bus stop as there were security cameras and the car would be safer than in the street. We had to go around the block to get into the parking and by the time we arrived back someone else had taken up all the space by parking very inconsiderately and they refused to move. The hotel doorman asked them nicely to move and still no joy. Finally the car started to move a bit forward, enough so we could fit in and the driver got out. It was the most drunken owl eyed woman. She swayed and stumbled her way towards us and tapped on my window, obviously wanting to talk. She thought we were someone else. She then wobbled her way up the road to what we took to be a friend and then while we unpacked the car she rolled down towards the corner shop. On our way into reception she passed us again and suggested that we buy flowers. (R60 for parking was getting more attractive by the minute,) She managed to get her car started and drove off!!

Problems did not end there. We went upstairs to the function room and were shown into an empty boardroom to finish changing. They would call us when they were ready. After about half an hour of posing for photographs we decided to check what was taking so long. Turns out that the hotel was not informed that we'd be performing or that we would need a sound system to plug our flash drive into! Turned out the sound system was a sort of karaoke machine thing that only took cds. They were busy trying to copy my playlist onto someones cellphone so they could play it via wifi through the hotel PA. Eish! We were about to go down to the car to see what cd's were in there from previous gigs that we could maybe use when the 'someone' said he'd managed to upload it. We lit up our shamadans and made our way to the dance floor. On the way the candles were blown out by the air con and Gronja had to light us up again. All very exciting and it added somewhat to the drama! The music started and we began to dance. I kept saying that they must turn up the volume because we couldn't hear it. It was just dreadful. I called all the guests to rather come closer to the dance floor so they could watch and hear better. In spite of the lousy sound they were a lovely audience. They were with us, watching and cheering every step of the way. Made a huge difference to our performance.

When we finished our set we had to pose for photos. We posed with everyone, the bride and groom, mothers of the couple, daughter of the bride, someones baby, the minister and many more. 

Spice Island pre-wedding party

Posted by Tanya Cameron on October 14, 2016 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I was contacted a couple of months ago to dance at a henna party and at the wedding the following day. Two dancers reqiured for each gig.

If the client says hen party or bachelorette or bridal shower or kitchen tea that normally means that they want a workshop/lesson with a short performance by yours truly. If they say Henna party that sometimes means the same and sometimes means that they just want entertainment while they are being painted. I always have to delicately find out what they are expecting from me and then quote accordingly.

A one hour workshop plus ten minute performance is a lot less strenous than a one hour solo performance which is exhausting!

After asking a few questions I found out that the henna party was going to be mixed gender and they just wanted entertainment between meal courses for both events. I sent the quotes and a few days later got a response that they would like to book me for the Henna party on the Friday but wanted Bollywood for the wedding the next day.

Weeks went by and then finally the client came to Cape Town to meet with the venue (Spice Island at Ratanga) and me and other contractors.

We discussed what would happen, music, costuming etc. 

  • Jamilah and I to escort bridal couple into venue with shamadan. At 5.10pm.
  • Me to stay and do 2 songs solo. Jamilah to take my shamadan and extinguish candles.
  • Starters served.
  • Jamilah to dance 2 Bollywood songs solo.
  • Mains served.
  • Me to do two more solo belly dances and an interactive.
  • End for us
Two weeks before the event client decided she did not want Bollywood anymore and Jamilah must perform bellydance as well. Not a problem, she's a pro.
Had another meeting with client at venue three days before. Lent her my yashmak to wear for her entrance. (Had the most awful traffic issues getting there, what was normally a 15 minute drive turned into a 1 hour and 10 minute crawl.)
Finally it was the day. I took my wing woman Kalynda to help and take photos and Jamilah brought her daughter Ciska to do the same.
We were so worried about traffic making us late that I cancelled my hair appointment and Jamilah arrived at the venue at 3.30pm and just waited in the car. Kalynda raced home from work to feed doggy and pick me up and then we dashed off to the venue arriving about 4.45pm.
Had a brief altercation with the security that wanted us to park at the back near the loading bay. We argued and eventually he let us in.
Finally we were in Ratanga and hurrying to Spice Island which was completely dead! only staff and clients mother was there. We gave music files and instructions to the DJ and went to our changing room to get ready. 5.10pm came and went, no bridal couple. Half past I went out to find out what was happening. Traffic was holding them up and most of the other guests as well. Went back to wait some more. Finally they arrived. I don't even know what time it was. It was getting dark, and windy! There are two approaches to the venue and I and the groom were using one and then Jamilah and bride would use the other. Lit candles on shamadan, disaster, they kept getting blown out by the wind. Kalynda was relighting them ever few minutes. Finally we made our entrance into the venue and again all our candles were blown out. Kalynda fired us up again and then we did our first dance. I felt a breeze from above and saw that there was a big fan over the dance floor. After our duet I carefully took off what I though was a shamadan ablaze with candles but only one was still lit.


I finshed my solos and then it was Jamilahs turn...

She danced beautifully, but unfortunately everyone was more interested in their food, except for the one table that had mostly guys at it!
After her set she had to leave as she had a very full program the next day.
I went back to change into my next costume and then we waited until I was called to dance.
I did my 2 solos to not a lot of attention. I think the place I was told to dance wasn't really the best location and everyone was busy with party favours, henna and alot had gone outside to smoke.

My last song was interactive and I went out to the shisha area and a lot of people danced around me, actually all guys!
It was a nice gig, but there were somethings that could have been done differently - like switching the fan off for starters!!

Chinese Spring Fete

Posted by Tanya Cameron on October 10, 2016 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Last weekend 2nd October I had offered to do a dance demo at the Chinese Spring Fete. For 3 months before hand I drilled my students and we had 4 dances to perform. I had decided to wear red costumes, and all of us except my youngest student already have red. I quickly made her a little red number and she looked so cute in it!

And here we are all together, photos by my friend Gronja Lennox.


Bollywood dancing, Oh Help!!

Posted by Tanya Cameron on September 26, 2016 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I was contated last minute by a colleague for Bollywood dancing for an Indian tour group!  Three gigs on 3 different dates for 3 different groups. So ostensibly no one would see our performances more than once. Their client wanted to have 4 or 5 dancers to improvise to 4 songs of their, the clients, choice.

I said impossible. I only have:

 

  • 2 dancers,
  • 2 songs that can loosely be described as Bollywood style,
  • no costumes and...
  • I really don't want to do it let alone any improvising to unfamiliar music to a discerning Indian audience.
  • Why don't they hire real Bollywood dancers? Like my friend Ahneesh and his group?
  •  

They get back to me, what would I charge if it was belly dancing? I send a quote for my duo plus my friend Jamilahs duo. (Jamilah actually does do Bollywood, also only 2 songs, but at least has costumes!) Lots of nit-picking later and they say each duo to do 2 songs with own choreo plus all four to improvise to one song. They send us 4 songs to choose from. All this negotiating still going on on the actual day of first gig!! Finally we get paid and first gig now confirmed.

 As we are about to leave they change the start time by an hour. Grrr! Evidently the waiting time clause in my contract gave them pause for thought and they decided to make us wait somewhere else and not the venue! How does that make sense? Waiting is waiting no matter where it is. Honestly!!

We arrive at the venue and work out the order of our sets.

 

  • Kalynda and I wear belly dance costumes for our first song,
  • Jamilah and Monica in full bollywood gear for their first song,
  • Break
  • Jamilah and Monica in full bollywood gear for their second song while Kalynda and I go back to change into jeans but with belly dance bedlah and white shirt,
  • We do our second song while Jamilah and Monica change into Jeans combo,
  • Then we all dance 5th song together.
Blurry backstage photo before first dance.

(Didn't quite work out like that!) 

They loved our slightly naughty dance to Mere Naseeb Mein Tu and we were surrounded by people when we did the improvised interactive dancing to Marshallah.

Everyone told us how much they liked it and one lady took Jamilah by the hand and thanked her for her beautiful dancing.

When we were done we packed up and left. The next gig was three days later. No word from organizer. I contacted them and theye said the client wanted something different. And that was it, we heard no more about any successive gigs and did not receive any feedback or any of the promised photographs. Thank goodness we got paid for the first gig.

 


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