Nose to the Rhinestone Challenge: Day 18 – 30

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 18 ‪#‎nosetotherhinestone‬ absolutely shattered most of the day but did follow up leads for Europe, marketed the fundraiser and ran my class. I also did a tiny bit of rehearsal and had a 25 minute mini yoga session try and relax. Didn’t achieve what I set out to today, but at least I did something,

Day 19 ‪#‎nosetotherhinestone‬ It was a 18 hour day-job day yesterday. But I still ran my two classes, and did rehearsal of all my signature acts, the troupe act, and worked through the choreography I have to date for my new act. Didn’t get to add to it, but I did refine the moves I have a little more. Wasn’t quite a whole hour, but under the circumstances I’ll cut myself a break ‪#‎21hourday‬ ‪#‎3hourssleep‬ ‪#‎Imbackatworkalready‬ ‪#‎erggghhhh‬

Day 20 ‪#‎nosetotherhinestone‬ I’ve worked for 28 of the last 35 hours so I am taking this as my teaching day so I did get to spend an hour burlesquing at least. I am finding as a result of this challenge that I am using teaching to analyse my basic movement more and correct lazy habits that have crawled in, so it’s definitely necessary to my development, but still want to spend more time working on acts. But after the last 35 hours I think I can be forgiven for focussing on the basics first as that’s about all my brain capacity can handle. Bring on my bed!!!

Day 21 #nosetotherhinestone. Today I am consciously deciding to not do anything. Apparently Thursday is my day for failing apart, so I thought I’d spend a day not thinking about burlesque to avoid the doubt that comes with that pattern. So I hung with my Mum, (who wanted to talk to me about some burlesque), and looked through some of my grandmothers possessions, (which ended up me thinking about her sister who used to go to burlesque shows in the 50’s and 60’s). Then I had to promote the fundraiser night (which let’s face it, will be lucky to raise a couple of night’s accommodation so is probably going to result in me flying to nowhere), and came up with a new move for my burlesque fitness class. Then I thought more about an act I want to create based on a classic movie (on top of the 5 I already have in development). So basically my day of not thinking about burlesque is a fail. I still haven’t really done anything, but it seems I can’t stop thinking about this thing which makes me so happy and so frikken miserable so much of the time. And it seems I haven’t avoided my Thursday of fail, as I’ve failed at consciously failing, and still had the doubt. So all-in-all I still achieved nothing and still am feeling guilty and kicking myself. Balls. Big fucken balls. And not the fun kind. The good news…. tomorrow is Friday and I like dancing on Fridays. Fuck Thursdays. #wine

Day 22 ‪#‎nosetotherhinestone‬ and I think I’ve found out how I should work out my choreography… Don’t dance to the music I want to perform too! Just did over an hour and a half of freestyling to my angry girls playlist (Pretty Reckless, Devilskin, Mz Ann Thropik, Evanescence and No Doubt in case you were wondering) and came up with some movements which I then worked into my new routine. This created about a minute and a half of choreography so now I am two thirds through my routine. It still needs the timing refined but am happy with the foundation and that it is achieving the type of chairdance I wanted… Sexy, intense and less about the chair and more about the sensuality. At one point I doubted myself and I looked over to my Perle poster and I instantly grew sass, confidence and presence. So tips for tonight 1. Choreograph to another song and 2. Always ask “what would Perle do”.

Day 22 (EDITORS NOTE: this was actually day 23… apparently the challenge affected my ability to count) ‪#‎nosetotherhinestone‬ was all about fundraising for Munich… Of which I earned a grand total of 10% of what I actually need. So who knows if that’s going to happen. I can fund a national festival… But can’t fund my own arse. Oh well, everyone’s gotta have priorities right? However…. I did get to sit on some amazing motorcycles and watch my favourite burlesque movie while hanging out with some amazing people. I did maybe 10 minutes of actual rehearsal to try and fix in my mind the choreography from yesterday but honestly I didn’t remember too well and I am rather knackered from a long day doing burlesque funding activities. But still, I did stuff. And it was for me so I am counting it. Now for another me activity… Sleep!

(EDITORS NOTE: Post from 4 days later) So I should be up to day 26 ‪#‎noseotherhinestone‬ but I’ve been physically unable to do a thing and mentally completely incapable as a result of both physical illness and some serious doubts creeping in after shitty fundraising efforts and a rather harsh talking to by my son- these are issues that are still not resolved but am feeling better to deal with them.

I have managed to gain a few more Europe bookings in that time and cleared up a massive amount of accounting which was necessary, but don’t count it as personal development. So tomorrow I will restart the count from day 23, hopefully with fresh perspective… Back to the grindstone!

Day 23 ‪#‎nosetothehinestone‬ re-boot. Spent an hour and a half in the studio today practicing my current routines for Europe and working on the choreography I had for the new act to fit better into the timings. I felt a bit disheartened after a while as it wasn’t working, then I watched my darling Perle on youtube, and found new verve for the routine and made it work. I wish she was around to kick my arse into gear more than just watching her from afar. That being said it was a good reminder for me when I feel down about my dancing to ask myself ‪#‎whatwouldperledo‬?

Am back to the studio tomorrow so will see how much more the time brings. I would like to finish the choreography for this challenge and get feedback from you all. So 7 days to go let’s see if I can make this happen.

Day 24 ‪#‎nosetotherhinestone‬ spent about an hour-hour half rehearsing old and new acts- refining choreography for the old one and just practicing what I’ve got for the new one. I’m seeing improvement in the timings and movement every time I do it and the attitude and emotion is starting to creep in on the act which is great. I still need to finish the last third choreography, but I’ve started with some massive knee drops so it’s safe to say my things ache! I also did about 40 mins or so of rhinestoning to get my costume for my old act back up to scratch ready for Europe. A good burlesque day. May the sparkle ever be in my favour.

Day 25 ‪#‎noseotherhinestone‬ lots of old green boa act rehearsal, a tiny bit of new act stuff but I had no mojo to add on to it today, and then lots of rehearsing and revamping the routine for my “Down and dirty with your boa” workshop ahead of teaching it in Munich… I didn’t feel it was down and dirty enough. It is now!

Day 26 ‪#‎nosetotherhinestone‬ my shimmy class was so small tonight I decided to jump on the opportunity and use the few ladies who came to test my rebuilt “down as dirty with your boa” workshop. They loved it and I’ve got the choreography fundamentals sorted but am struggling to find the right music to put it into. I spent some time looking through my catalogue but nothing works yet. I’m sure I’ll find something tomorrow. Not personal development related but worth mentioning for the good feels, my beginners class graduated tonight and the feedback was amazing! It really makes me feel validated that I chose to teach and continue too, especially when I think how much time it takes away from my family. The rewards are amazing seeing women develop into feisty confident newbie strippers!

Day 27 ‪#‎nosetotherhinestone‬ I didn’t really do much today. Got my nails done for Europe, was going to do a photo shoot but it was too late after everything else. I guess I can use this as my teaching day as I did my last class for this term in Kapiti. Feeling rather deflated in general after a near loss of costume experience this morning and wish I had more mojo to actually dance. But oh well… I gave myself the chance to have one freebie a week and I guess tonight was it.

Day 28 #nosetotherhinestone. I’ve been working on my workshop choreography and found a song…. Surprisingly none of the classic burlesque stuff- these Europeans are going to get their dirty on with No Doubt! But the thing I love about this choreography is it easily translates to Black and Tan Fantasy too so I’ve got my angles covered. The top of my foot is bleeding and my knees are not far off it either but I am so happy I used the last few days to make this a much better workshop. And if I add another 40 secs to it I might just steal it as a routine haha!

On another note I can’t believe I’ve only got 2 days left. I’ve still got a routine to finish so Saturday I will be pushing my final effort… But if I’m being honest I am going to continue this challenge beyond 30 days… I need this if I’m going to be great, so sorry but I will be continuing to spam this page with my daily ramblings!!!

Day 29 #nosetotherhinestone although I wasn’t really feeling it today I made myself rehearse. I went over each act no more than 3 times in a row and avoided my new one I’ve been developing because I knew it would defeat me today. I did, however, test out a way to remove my skirt after a repeating hiccup the last few times I’ve done that routine. I smashed out the choreography again for the boa workshop refining it just a little more. By the time I was done I had spent over an hour in the studio. Who knew!

Tonight I also cleaned out my burlesque grooming backpack- the one that carries all my make-up, hair, skin and nail care. It’s been getting a little messy and thought I better make sure I knew what was in it before I head to Europe. I even sorted through what I needed take with me. Tell me, is 7 pairs of shoes plus 2 pairs for acts, and 5 evening gowns too much?

DAY 30 #nosetotherhinestone OMG I can’t believe I’m here. I am so nervous to show you guys this. This is the first act I have properly choreographed in two years, since my Miss Burlesque NZ winning act. Yes there is my confession… I have been truly resting on my laurels for that long. I am thankful for having some rather solid acts to fall back on, but I can’t do that forever if I am to move to the next level, nor can I let the fear of failure or the expectations as my role as producer and teacher, or the fear of the expectations as the performer I have been, hold me back anymore. I am scared that my acts will not live up to the expectation, that they will be boring, uninteresting or worse, mediocre. I don’t want to be that. I have struggled with this act thinking that it is all those things, and then I watched it tonight. It’s unpolished, there’s some work on the choreography still to do and I still have to finish it, but it made me feel something. It made me feel proud of how far I come, and feel hopeful for how I far I could go. If it is mediocre, I am okay with that. Because this is just the beginning.

Bazuka Joe Thank you for this journey. It has been so hard and yet wonderfully rewarding. I can’t wait to see you, and I may cry a little. You have made an incredible impact on me as a performer as a result of this. It is truly and greatly, appreciated. I hope this is okay 🙂