1.26.2007

For the Chronicles challenge on Sunday Scribblings (can everyone congratulate me on trying to do something creative and not writing on the Methos chronicles from Highlander: The Series) I've been struggling with how to tell this story for quite some time. I think the chronicle idea might be just the fit. I was extremely ranty about this story for some time, perhaps the chronicle thing will help curb my anger.

I wish it to be known that:
1. I am not a pro restaurant dancer in the city of snow. I just am chronicling their story.
2. I generally do not enjoy posting angry posts, but felt the need to let this out. I hope my retained humour about this situation is visible throughout this post.

Warning: This chronicle may contain a smidgeon of authorial interpretation/comment.

There was once a city in the snow. Long ago, a fiesty and strong-willed woman named Anemone wanted to bring some warmth to the chilled populace and decided to start belly dancing at local eateries to provide entertainment and colour for the clientele. She and her brand of sensual dancing (it was exotic and it was dancing, but it was not exotic dancing)were much loved and the eateries at which she danced rose in popularity. But all was not roses for the fair Anemone.

As she was the first to make shimmy in the icy city, there were many rules and regulations that she had to stamp out with the owners of these establishments, such as payment for the dance, and the treatment of her physical person. Being both fiesty and strong-willed, she managed to wrangle a fair price and regulations about dancing. The owners all acknowledged her rules and played fair most of the time, and everything was mostly peaceful. There was only one owner, who this author shall call C, who owned a chain of restaurants we'll call the C-spot, who ever snarled and quibbled about prices and occasionally threw a disrespectful word the dancer's way. But he was of Mediterranean blood and people expected some eccentricity from him, and being the kind of woman she was, Anemone never had too much trouble taking him down.

Many years later, Anemone left off dancing in the restaurants because she was quite tired and because she wanted to allow newer dancers, such as Shahenda, Aldiya, and Tatiana to enter the business. These other dancers grouped together to form a strong alliance, they encouraged and protected eachother as Anemone had taught them. They are a force to be reckoned with and are comparable in quality with dancers across the world. Whenever C tried to dispute prices, the dancers would stick together and not undercut eachother. There were newer belly shakers who did not yet know the rules and who tried to underprice, but they were not as good and they did not have the quality of beautiful costuming that the other dancers did. As he could not get a professional dancer for less than the standard rate, C always had to bow down and pay the official price. And so, the popularity of the dance grew and the audience, dancers, and restaurant owners lived in harmony with one another.

Then came this past New Year's Eve. This is the one evening a year where the prices for the dancers changes, they charge double as it is a big night and they all have many places to perform at. Just providing petrol for the transportation on that evening could cost a dancer a pretty penny. C, as always, put up a fight about the extra cost and, as always, the performers stuck together and refused to let him bully them. Or so the perfomers thought. A dancer named Viraj, who everyone had supported as he had had a bit of difficult climb being a male belly dancer, had decided to tell C that he would dance at the regular rate and not charge double.

Here I must explain the story of Viraj, as apparently chronicles have to be in chronological order and I'm not sure how the hell to do that in this type of story wherein in so many characters'lives are intertwined. Viraj started dancing and had a gift for it, and so the dancers tried to get him a place in the performance world. He was, truth be told, a little lazy and did not make much of an effort to learn about the culture from whence his shimmy came. But he was a good performer. The real problems came when he started to promote himself, as a more false advertiser could not be found in the land. He claimed to be Canada's only male belly dancer, clearly false and especially egregious given the proximity of a male dancer far more proficient than he, the fabulous Nath Keo. He claimed to have danced with Cirque du Soleil, which if you will pardon the author's french, is total horseshit. He also claimed on some of his promotional material that he was taught by Shakira's intructor's instructor. As no one is at all sure who this unnamed instructor could be, this author cannot verify whether this last statement is false or not, but if you'll allow some authorial comment, I feel that the statement is, at best, iffy.

Returning back to the night of the New Year, Viraj undercut all the other dancers and even offered C his student dancers at a reduced rate for the evening. This was the first time this sort of thing had happened amongst the professional dancers in the city. When one of the grand ladies of the art called C to ask what was happening, C replied, and I quote: "Oh come on, I could get a blowjob for less than that." At which point, the grand lady cut the lines of communication between them (she hung up on him). All the professional dancers, aside from Viraj, are refusing to dance at the C-Spot.

Having obtained C's approval, Viraj is the booking agent for dancers at those two restaurants. Viraj is using his students (who this author can only assume do not know any better) and charging a reduced rate to C and he is taking a cut of the dancers' pay (which is customary of a booking agent), as well as taking a cut of the dancers' tips (not so customary).

Having heard this completely impartial chronicle, no one in the city in the snow ever took belly dance lessons with Viraj again, nor did they eat at the C-Spot. They discovered the lamb was better at Koutouki (and other restaurants) and that the dancers at these other, non C-owned, restaurants gave off a warmth and grace that could not be competed with.

12 Comments:

Blogger blackdaisies said...

oh wow ~ i had no idea though we also usually prefer koutouki's anyway ...

2:05 PM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Wow, totally interesting and unexpected subject, and a well-told chronicle. If I lived in the city of snow, I would certainly snub Viraj and spread the word. Good for you for doing it.

11:47 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Fascinating story. And what a great technique for dealing with an issue that's been eating at you. I don't really like posting rants on my page, but I have plenty of stuff I'd like to rant about; the next time I have something I need to get off my chest, I might try that approach and make it into a story. Good on the other dancers for sticking together.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

Brilliant.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Mardougrrl said...

See, I like the fact that the anger came through, but the format of the chronicle kept it interesting and engaging.

And now I am totally curious about this type of dancing!

9:31 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Well I never thought about the rules and regulations involving belly dancing in an icy city or anywhere else. Thanks for sharing this story!

5:54 AM  
Blogger Waspgoddess said...

Brilliant way of making a rant totally engaging from the very first sentence.

6:24 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Angry or otherwise, I find it has a valid point. I like what I read.

gautami
rooted

7:04 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

"Some people are just jerks!"
--Phil Malanchuk, who is not famous (though he should be)
BTW, remember when I posted a not-naming-names rant about a certain actress? Well, it turns out that that rant resulted in the same actress not getting at east one role she was counting on. Blogs is powerful shit, man.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous GeL(Emerald Eyes) said...

Good way to vent anger and creatively, too! I'm here as a first-timer for Sun Scribblings.
Well-told.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Well done! I love good stories like this. I think it's a good thing to get all of the emotions out...rant away :))))

7:33 AM  
Blogger tania said...

thanks for all the support fellow bloggers. it felt really good to do something cheeky and slightly creative (cuz cheeky and slightly creative sorta describes me as person).
it's the first time i've done something creative on this blog for a long long while, it's nice to know some folks enjoyed it :)

7:42 AM  

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