Why is that Girl with Tits Getting Gigs & I’m Not?

Posted on February 16, 2014 by

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Fire Dancing Gigs

Photo: Fototaker Tony
Artist: GlitterGirl

If you’ve been asking yourself, “Why is that girl with tits getting a gig and I’m not?” then this article is for you.

I have to confess, I’m unbelievably sick and tired of (especially newer male) artists breaking into performing blaming their inability to book gigs on the fact that they don’t have tits. The general sense I get is that guys think that because women have boobs, everything is just handed to them and worse, handed to them for nothing. It doesn’t seem that way from where I sit because I know women who are performers for a living, even part time, and I see how they can be treated.

As much as a woman may get gigs for their looks, they also get a lot of skeeves who assume all kinds of unpleasant things about them. It’s not all roses being objectified. From my vantage point of 12 years as a pro, hot artists — men and women alike — are simply working with what they have, to which I say, good for them! If you’re hot, why not use it? I dare say Zihni, my dance partner, being a hot man has helped us  book more than one gig. Why? Because hotness sells, regardless of gender.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, kids… the honest truth is I could market any of my beginner performers and more easily book them for gigs than a pro like me. Wonder how that’s possible? Because the consumer market is filled with one thing that hurts the pro artist: ignorance.

The good news about consumer ignorance is, this means more amateurs can get more gigs and professionals have an opportunity to set themselves apart through education. The bad news is, professionals need to take time to set themselves apart from amateurs through education. It may seem like a loosing situation for professionals, and it can sometimes feel that way.

You have to sit there and do the math though. A beginner artist takes 10 gigs at $50. Maybe they are only 5 minutes each — 1 burn. If, as a professional, I’ll only take a gig with a minimum of $500, I only had to work 1 night to make what the other artist had to work 10 times as many nights to earn. This is a huge factor. It is not always how often you get gigs; it is how much you get paid per gig and your overall money earned for the amount of time spent.

Make no mistake about it: perhaps the biggest reason to have the Fire Dancing Expo is so that truly skilled artists can be appreciated for the awesomeness they bring to the stage by showing the progression of skills from beginners at the “OMG!! I’m performing for the first time” level all the way up to and including professional “world class” artists in a 2 hour period. This is educational for the audience and raises the standard for the market place.

Still, it’s a dog eat dog world out there. You may be friends with other artists, and that doesn’t mean they aren’t competing for the same gig opportunities you are. So here’s a no bullshit guide on how to help you win more gigs while whining less about the hot girl in the corner that isn’t you.

  • Reality: Booking gigs has almost nothing to do with your performance skill past the ability to get through a show and look relatively professional. In our field, I’d contend that standard is not even defined except maybe the bare minimum: don’t set the place on fire. (I would say “don’t put anyone in danger” but inherently, since fire is being spun, that’s out the window.)
  • Booking gigs is about virtual presence in the world. Your ability to book gigs is about running your business as a business including having some key tools: web presence which includes a web site (ideally with some good SEO optimization*), at least one decent video in this day and age and if you have a few stunning photos, you don’t need the best video.
  • Booking gigs is about looking like a performer. Wouldn’t you rather look at someone who had captivating clothing dazzle you with their tricks rather than boring clothing, all other things being equal? If so, you’re like most people booking a gig. Look like you have costuming and you’re really setting yourself apart from the rest. This is not a small thing.
  • Booking a gig is not just about getting people to contact you but knowing how to close the deal. You have to be a sales person. This skill is generally not one I would assign to artists. and that’s the problem. It’s often the case that the more of an artist someone is, the less likely they are to be a business person as these are often skills that are seen as opposing.

* SEO Optimization is “search engine optimization” and is the magic that helps your site get better rankings when people are searching for fire dancers. If you have no clue, I strongly recommend Stomping the Search Engine as a great self study starting point. A fabulous resource I used to turn my SEO from not even in the top 100 to number one for some terms.

**Videos: There’s a difference between a promo reel and a demo reel. A promo is a quick video, faster paced, more tantalizing. This video should elicit interest and be no more than 90 second, though 30-45 seconds may be even more effective. In contrast, a demo reel is an actual demonstration of your skill and should be at least one short performance, demonstrating you can hold a set together for at least 2.5 minutes. While multiple angles looks cool, to a pro, a pro set that doesn’t need editing may look better.

Stay tuned for more on the topic and check the other articles in the Performers section of this website.

Subscribe to our newsletter for mailbox delivery of this and other articles written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you seek professional guidance associated with creating a safe performance, obtaining a permit in San Francisco or other personalized coaching, contact GlitterGirl directly for a free consultation (GlitterGirl <that pretty little at symbol> TempleOfPoi <daaaaaaaught> com).

Posted in: Performance