My First Night as a Goddess for Hire: Part I
The first installment of the tale about the night I began my adventures with GogoPro. As a professional dancer in the heart of the San Francisco club scene, here is a look behind the curtain of a world you have never seen before...
Marco took me to a gallery opening in Downtown San Francisco a couple hours before I had to be on stage.
“It's right down the street, one of my friend's shows. His work is something else; you're gonna love it. We'll just pop in, say hi, and then head to Ruby.”
He threw his hazards on and stopped the car in front of a trendy little Nob Hill loft gallery. On the walls hung colors and situations that I didn't pretend to understand but decided I liked them all the same. The friend and a man in an emerald green were quickly introduced to me.
“You're a model, aren’t you?” the man in the emerald suit asked me. “I've definitely worked with you,” he insisted, his smile carving out a contrast against the mossy pressed collar.
“She's a professional go-go dancer. She inspires people to move, not buy.”
Marco said the words and I let them fill my face up with moralistic prideful grin. It was exactly why I chose this job.
I had danced previously for a club back in Orange County, but this was going to be the first time in over 5 years that I was going to be dancing with a "dance company". I'm not using quotes here in an ironic sense as they commonly trend to function in my generations appropriation of the English language; they're there to define the camaraderie and professionalism that I have experienced with these exceptional collaborations of showmanship.
This was my first night dancing with GogoPro and I was about to perform at the famous Ruby Skye, a club where Prince – RIP – among many others had frequented only a few years before. We grabbed some drinks and cut out of the gallery shortly after we had arrived. In a whirl of street lights and honking cars, my driver and life connoisseur for the evening dodged taxis and tourists blaring deep house through the windows as we made our way across the crowded city streets to the main event.
When I saw the entrance of the nightclub, my heart was full with the anticipation of dancing on stage again. The early few attendees already set up in line, leaning against the wall of the building with a straggling cigarette on their lips and a rhythm already in their feet as they shuffle to stay warm in the cold San Francisco night.
Performing in a nightclub is entirely different than in a theater. Instead of performing for intently gawking seated 9 to 5ers who demand to be entertained, you're dancing for an audience of young free-minded occasional substance abusers who are begging to be set free. You are there to inspire. You might argue that to perform for the former audience one requires a special form of style and technique in order to be considered “art”, but our audience allows us to be more innovative and controversially intoxicating than any professional ballet company could ever be allowed to do – although don't get me wrong, there is a lot of open-minded creativity that is beginning to take hold of the ballet world. I come from a heavy ballet background, so my observations are just that and are nothing negative towards their exceptionally beautiful medium of expression.
“Have you ever been to this club?” Marco asked me.
“I'll walk you backstage then, but I can't stay long: work.”
Work? Illegal crops.
He parked in a tow spot and held my door open as I stepped out giggling.
“Nothing,” I lied. This man had more money than anyone I knew and yet he hadn't officially “worked” since 1992.
Marco knew the nightclub scene in San Francisco better than anyone around. Our first weekend together was a blur. From exclusive boat parties in the bay to backstage with Djs whom I had listened to through my car stereo, if something interesting was going on in the city, this guy knew about it and knew everyone involved. But these are stories for another time.
Outside of the infamous Ruby Skye, Marco carried my glitter-exploding costume bag in front of him past the entrance and through a dark little door beside the stage while I trailed on his hand just behind. I was pulled up three flights of the most rickety, narrow, certain-death-if-a-fire-breaks-out staircase I had ever seen in my life. Winding up and up, I came to the realization that I was either going to dance in front of hundreds of people tonight or I was going to die backstage trying to escape the crumbling wispy walls falling to the beat of the booming bass. No matter what, tonight was going to be an adventure.