Jess is my best girl.
She completely gets that I am a fly off the handle type of person. She understands when I need to have a freak out and lets me do it. She’s not the friend who gives me reasons that I need to act rational and find a calm way to resolve things without resorting to bad language. She understands that I will blow up and call you a stupid pig fucking whore and once that’s done, then we can resolve things in a calm manner. Maybe. If you’re lucky.
I met Jess through mutual belly dance friends. She was dancing with a group of friends I had met when I belly danced at Isis’. Lisha and Jenn were in my class at one point, and so was Trudi. And I think Lori may have been too. Things happen as they do and we all left the studio for one reason or another. Lisha, Lori, Jenn, Jess, and Trudi were dancing together as “Visions in Dance” and there had been a time when they had thought Trudi may be moving to Florida and they had been booked for a show and needed some one to fill in for her and they invited me. I was very happy because I’d seen what they were doing and I was looking to get into some new stuff. What they were doing was more like modern dance than belly dance, and more into the musicality of dance than a set of 8 counts. Since I don’t count when I dance as a solo performer, this stuff was really up my alley. Plus, it was very physically challenging for me and I was just happy as a clam. Turned out Trudi ended up not moving to Florida and she danced with them in that show after all but I did get to perform that choreography with them at Kismet.
Kismet is a great thing. It was conceived by Jess (look at that) and her Mom to give belly dancers in the DFW area a place to dance. The belly dance community in DFW is crazy. It’s hard for a new dancer to find a place to dance. You’re not going to get a restaurant gig until somebody dies or a restaurant owner’s wife throws a coffee cup at a dancer and she quits. (Yes, that bit about the coffee cup really did happen…Not to me though) The only stage shows are put on by the troupes when they have a guest instructor/performer and then not everyone who wants to gets to perform because those spots are usually given to the shining stars in the troupe or if you do get to perform, you’re regulated to the group choreography you’ve been doing in every single show you’ve been in for the last 4 years. And then there’s all the troupe rules, and I’m just not even going to talk about that. Kismet is different. You get 6 minutes. You can dance to pretty much whatever you want. You can wear pretty much whatever you want. And you can dance. Honestly, the only rules at Kismet are “be nice” and you have to be “family friendly”. They provide a stage and an audience and professional sound, the whole nine yards. It is just so much fun. It is where I developed my own style and got the confidence to be a solo performer.
Due to other circumstances and the like, Jess had to leave Visions and eventually I left too. It was during the time when I was having issues with chronic back pain and I was driving to Carrollton once a week and sometimes more, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was really sad to leave because I had finally found a group of friends to dance with that I had needed for many years. The girls are still some of my very best friends.
Jess moved on and started trying to break into the fledgling burlesque scene in Dallas which was worse than trying to get into the belly dance scene. She had auditioned for a local troupe and was told she was too old, too fat and she couldn’t dance. So Jess, being the innovator she is, said to herself “well fuck this and fuck you; I’ll put on my own show”. She did just what she said she was going to do. And that, my lords and ladies, is the short version of how “Bewitching Burlesque” was born. (I’ll give you the long version another time). If it had not been for Jess, myself and A LOT of other burlesque performers and producers in DFW would not be where we are today because we would have never been given the opportunity to perform anywhere else.
Recently Jess and HerManJim, moved to Austin to give it a go down there. I miss her terribly but, at least she’s just in Austin and not in Arizona or Colorado like they had talked about. Now that would have been a tragedy of Greek proportions.
Before they went, I had them over for Jess’ favorite fried chicken dinner with all of the trimmings. I made pineapple upside down cake for dessert. Come to find out, that is Jim’s favorite dessert.
Here you go…
I hope you make one of these, let me know if you do and tell me what you did to make it your own.
Next post will be about one of my favorites, meatloaf.