A last minute booking came in. It sounded a bit vague but I am in need for gigs since the autumn started. It will be raining for the next six months and many of my students prefer to stay home so my performances will be my main income. I said yes but when I arrived at the outlying ‘scene’, I was in doubt. Did my navigation sent me in the right direction? It was raining so hard that my make up ran out immediately when I stepped out my car. Sometimes I really regret to be a bellydancer in the Netherlands.
With my suitcase full of shiny costumes, I walked through the mud till I saw something that looked like a soccer canteen. It didn’t feel right.
I was about to turn back home for the first time in my life when I heard a voice speaking with a friendly Indian accent: “You must be our bellydancer, please follow me”. Great, no turning back. The place appeared to be completely empty. “Where is everybody?” I asked. “The guy’s are playing a hockey match right now. When they are finished you will dance for them.” Fair enough. I handed over my music and headed to the dressing room, which was clean but did smell like male sweat. Never mind. I danced for two male hockey teams. The guys came from London and were originally Indian. They gave me over 600 euro tips in 15 minutes. I never expected that! The rain didn’t bother me anymore. On my way home I fantasized about the new Ted Baker winter collection.
A couple of days later I had another request, which sounded even worse than the previous one. Because the last show turned out well I felt optimistic and said yes. I had to drive two hours to Tilburg and my show had to start at ten. Exactly eight ‘o clock I finished teaching my students so I had to hurry. Again it was raining and the wind blew branches of the trees. We agreed €200 total which isn’t very much because I had over €50 of travel expenses but the applicant promised me lots of tips, under the condition we would share them equally. This is a quite common agreement so I agreed.
The party looked amazing, very big! I had to dance with a large band and I felt very excited. Unfortunately there was no dressing room so I was locked in the stockroom, which could only be opened from the outside. I waited for somebody to liberate me and bring me to the dance floor and luckily that person came fast. Men were approaching me with money from all directions. I earned over €500 of tips in 10 minutes but when I went back to my ‘dressing room’ I got followed by a very big, drunk guy who wanted to get his part of the tips right away. I was quite flabbergasted to find myself locked in a stockroom with a large drunk guy, counting the tips from my costume. The music was so loud that no one would have heard me in the case things had gone wrong. When he paid me my salary from my own tips I mentioned our agreements earlier. He started a drama and I began to feel rather uncomfortable. I got home with half of the tips only.
C’est la vie!