During February I took up the “Nose to the Rhinestone” challenge developed by Bazuka Joe, which required me to work for at least 60-minutes a day on my art. I decided to commit this to my personal development as a performer, as so often this falls to the wayside of my Burlesque Teaching and Producing responsibilities. I tired to be brutally honest with myself and not censor how my progress was going. This is the written account of each days progress.
Day 1 of my 30-day “nose to the rhinestone”: Today I am collaborating with The Ballet School Dropouts, getting my mime on for Byte Design, and hopefully starting to muck with some choreography for two new routines. Choreography is not easy for me at the best of times, and I’m out of practice, so I’m a bit worried. But the more you do it, the more it comes easy, so as long as I can get over the hump of today, and keep on keeping on, it can only get better. Will let ya know how I get on.
FYI as I teach 3 nights a week, I will not count 2 of those nights. Even though they help my movement, I want to dedicate more time to my own personal development. Wish me luck!
Day 2 #nosetotherhinestone 20 mins of rehearsal from yesterday’s routine. Had little problem yesterday contributing to the choreography but when it comes to myself I am creatively empty as I found when I attempted to start choreography a new routine. It quickly resulted in frustration, anger and despair so I decided to watch some dance videos for inspiration…. Leading to further despair and a feeling of incapability. I’ve still got 20 mins left to do today, so am thinking I’ll leave it until later in the day.
FYI- I am not looking for bolstering or otherwise on this stuff PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT with encouragement etc. Simply like this post if you want! I am recording it here as part of my commitment to myself and this challenge and as a daily diary so I can collate my experience at the end into a blog. Capeche?
Day three #nosetotherhinestone is a bit of a no go. I got to rehearse a little this morning in the shower (coz practicing in tiny spaces is just as important as in larger spaces) and for a little while tonight after we finally got home from the hospital thanks to two broken front teeth on the boy-child. So far my report card reads “great potential, must try harder”.
Day four #nosetotherhinestone was filled with t-Rex hands, jett-skis, and bra flinging. Rather awesome evening with about 2 hours rehearsal between self and troupe, 30 mins planning and that’s on top of my Monday night teaching as well. Still couldn’t start on my solo stuff, (am still pulling a blank on that), but I feel good for doing something at least. Am hoping once my studio mirrors arrive tomorrow my solo-mojo will return. Bring. It On.
Day five #nosetotherhinestone Today is my teaching day as I have two hour classes back to back but I still snuck in 20mins of rehearsal for the new troupe routine and running through my signature boa routine. Classes were good for refining basic movements though and so felt like a good contribution to my development. Tomorrow I start solo. Even if it hurts. I will do this.
Day six #nosetotherhinestone and I found the start of my solo mojo!!!!! I had to teach a class tonight so tried to focus on pushing through the fatigue (third day in a row on top of dayjob) to make the moves still look sharp (this was a challenge to stay enthusiastic tonight).
But as I am not counting my teaching day today I came home and stumbled on an amazing video of a male ballet dancer and was inspired. Within 15mins I had a page of movements (yes I am a writer of moves) and spent another 20 mins testing them (some are going take a bit more strength to do) and then another 15 minutes being further inspired and writing another half page of moves!
I decided to rehearse in the shower (as I do) and discovered that I become a rather sexy dancer when naked and wet so came up with more moves. As I had my potential playlist on, I also settled on my next song to work on with.
I am now itching to get to the studio tomorrow and put it together and start working on the choreography.
I guess it’s not just car-ography that works for me (the process of creating awesome choreography while driving), shower-ography is also my thing. Yay!
Day 7 #nosetotherhinestone didn’t happen. Am physically and mentally exhausted today, and although I know I will feel better if I did something and that I’m feeling guilty for not doing anything, and that this is all a vicious cycle that I can just dissolve by doing something, I’m finding ma petite chienne noire much easier to hang with then taking a step forward to choreograph, rehearse or even research. I hate that the great intentions I had yesterday, have turned into disappointment today. It feels like a trend with me lately. I have hope tomorrow will be better so am not completely lost. Just a blip. One that I will hopefully make up for with more gusto later… or I’m just doing that good intention thing again. We will see.
Day 8 #nosetotherhinestone. Was amped and then I lost it, so I took off my pants and drank wine. This resulted in a lot of leg and hip stretching, back bending and lots of one handed reach arounds…. Alright reach throughs. As my hips are tight a lot of the time it was good for loosen up and the reach throughs are necessary to strengthen my core and balance for a move I want to do on a chair so although it wasn’t how I intended to spend my challenge time today, was much needed.
Day 9 #nosetotherhinestone – I had a 2-hour hens party today but before they arrived I got in about 20 mins of solo choreography started. Afterwards we had an hour of troupe rehearsal and costume/name planning session. Then after coming home I’ve spent another 30 mins free flowing the solo choreography. Am pretty happy with the start as it equates to about a minute of actual solo time worked out. And it makes me feel sexy. It could be the bubbles talking but I reckon this act is going to be HAWT!!! Now am going to do 20mins or so of stretching these tight hips. Pretty happy with today’s effort after the last two days of minimal-mojo. I also announced Bazuka Joe as a #nzbf15 headliner today. NZ burlyq land is pretty frikken excited. I’m just hoping he doesn’t want his kettle back. It’s mine now.
Day 10 #nosetotherhinestone I’ve spent about 20 mins rehearsing the group routine which we are performing this coming weekend. Am really pleased with how quickly this act has come together and how polished it’s starting to look. With how much we are rehearsing it’s a nice reminder that solidly developed acts can happen in a short period of time. I also spent about 15 mins cutting and fading the track for this act.
I worked on the choreography I came up with for my solo chair act. I added a little bit more to it, but am finding my dining room chairs are not stable enough for what I want to do and will need to develop some more strength. Am going to start planning the costume tonight and watch a few more contemporary and jazz dance clips for some more inspiration for this and another solo I want to start as part of the challenge. I already have the costume designed and music sorted for the second act but the concept for choreography is still eluding me at the moment.
I realised today that I never covered my goal, so here it is. My aim is to have two solo acts choreographed on top of the troupe act as part of this challenge. I want them polished and costumed by April. This year I wanted to develop three solo acts one of which I’ve been developing for over a year but never really got stuck into. This chair act isn’t one of them it’s just something that had struck me so end result for 2015 is four solo acts…. I haven’t developed a solid act in almost two years so am liking the push this challenge is giving me to get my creative shit together. I think I’ve been resting on my laurels a bit on the strength of my signature acts so it really is time to up my game if I’m going to reach my goals this year and next. I realise I never covered my goal, so my aim is to have two solo acts choreographed on top of the troupe act as part if this challenge. I want them polished and costumed by April. This year I wanted to develop three solo acts one of which I’ve been developing for over a year but never really got stuck into. This chair act isn’t one of them it’s just some thing that had struck me so end result for 2015 is four solo acts…. I haven’t developed a solid act in almost two years so am liking the push this challenge is giving me to get my creative shit together. I think I’ve been resting on my laurels a bit on the strength of my signature acts so it really is time to up my game if I’m going to reach my goals this year and next.
Day 11 #nosetotherhinestone and what a day! My mirrors finally arrived in the studio and after they had to take them away and cut them in half so they could fit in the door, they are well and truly in! So it meant a good 30 mins of solid solo rehearsal, and free styling before students started to arrive. Then after my class I took the 1.5 hour yoga class which was great for opening those hips again. Then another 30 minutes of troupe rehearsal with 10 mins finalising costuming.
Although I’m still not spending as much time in the solo stuff, I’m really pleased that I am spending more than the minimum time doing stuff to help my development. I feel great, am surprised at my energy levels and the creative flow is slowing increasing. 1/3 way in and I’m loving where this is going. Quite a contrast to last week!
Day 12: #nosetotherhinestone technically today was my “teaching counts” day but despite doing two classes, I still managed to do almost an hour and half of solo rehearsal including old acts revitalizing, signature act practice, new act rehearsal and adding a bit more choreography too, and I got to play with my silk fans creating some unusual movements with it to add to an act I’ve been developing forever. Am really quite happy with my efforts at the moment as each day I feel myself stepping up a bit more. I only wish I could spend all day doing this stuff. The more I do it the more motivated I’m feeling. Shame my thighs won’t stay motivated! Haha
Day 13 #nosetotherhinestone and I had to do the thing I just don’t love at all…. Sewing. Hand sewing in fact. What. The. Fuck. But I’ve got two layers of fringe done and four more to go. It should be done in time for the troupe routine debut though. On top of class tonight, I did some shower rehearsal. And bonus today…. I got a beautiful gift of Bazuka Joe’s naked butt on some lip balm. Happy day for that reason alone!
Day 14 #nosetotherhinestone after 3 days of 2-4 hours a night of this plus 8-12 hours a day dayjob I am exhausted and emotional. I have a heap of sewing to do to finish for this weekend and I really don’t want to, not to mention I am out of thread. I am feeling deflated and upset that I haven’t booked any Europe gigs (not one outside of the festival) and my fundraising efforts are not getting the attention I need to give them, and are probably going to go to waste as no one wants to help because it feels like I’m always fundraising. This time it is publicly though. That being said I want to rant about so much, but instead I hold my tongue so I don’t come across as a dick or worse, unprofessional. I am not doing anything today. I’ve had enough today. I can’t give anyone anything and am struggling to give myself anything either. It’s just a bad burlesque day today so am being brutally honest within this forum. I hate that so much good has been negating by today’s feelings of inadequate mediocre shitiness. Will I ever be good enough?
(Rhetorical question by the way and no reassurance required please… I need to face myself honestly if I am to make this challenge true for me)
Day 15 #nosetotherhinestone I managed to do over an hour of sewing and it was bearable as I had a machine and thread. The first dress took me 35mins, the 2nd 25mins and the last one only 10minutes! I then repaired my headpiece for my fan act and am now on the road to perform and teach in Hamilton tomorrow. Along the way I will also be doing more hand sewing as this fringe needs to be on for tomorrow! Will try not to go nuts and make my driver run off the road. Day 16 #nosetotherhinestone I finished off the fringing in time for today’s show and also taught a class so between teaching, performing, costuming and freeing the nipple with a double pastie pop, I got this shit covered. Now I’m eating amazing Japanese with my hubby for a date talking burlesque producing stuff…. Specifically the kidnapping of Bazuka Joe. Awesome burlesque day.
Day 17 #nosetoterhinestone today was another show day with a second performance at the tattoo expo… This time no pastie fails but I did worry for my c-string at one point. I don’t do much else as we drive home as well, but I did get to provide some constructive feedback to a newbie performer, read the NZ publication pasties and politics which had some interesting thoughts, and I got to do some modelling with a very sexy impala. More of a laid back burlesque day, but still did stuff so am happy and ready for the week ahead.
I can’t believe I’m over halfway through my challenge already! I don’t feel like I’ve achieved half the things I want too, but considering I’ve got one and half routines developed and seem to be gaining momentum I won’t be too hard on myself. Tomorrow’s mission is to follow up some more leads for Europe and get another 30 secs of choreography done. Full steam ahead!!!