Last Chapter of My First Night with GogoPro
From the stage to the streets, the dancing never stops.
“Ready, darling?” he whispered. I could hear the muffled bass and feel it pulsing through my bones.
The last thing I saw was his bright smile before he turned off the light and opened the door to the stage.
It's easy to get lost in the lights. There's hundreds of them. As I walked behind Matthew to the front of the stage, I was briefly blinded by a stream of light before it made its way across the crowd. I saw the entire space filled with people; all of them here to simply "let go". Whether it's inhibitions, stress of the grind, or their mind; people come to dance in order to let go of whatever's holding them back. It's why they're here; it's why I'm here. I'm not on this stage with lights illuminating every part of my decorated body because this is the best way for me to make money; I'm here because it's where I'm happy.
At the front of the stage is two square 4ft by 4ft platforms that jut out into the crowd. They're at the same level as the stage so that when Matthew and Kitty step onto them it sets them up above the crowd. Matthew points me to my spot behind him on a platform a foot higher than the stage. From here, I can take note from the other dancers as to the groups style so that we look like a dance company rather than every bunch of girls who thinks that every stage at every club is meant for them to dance on. But the four of us are... well, “professionals”. We don't just dance to the music; we dance to the room. Our bodies speak for the vibes throughout the room. We receive and exceed expectations of vibes. We move together because we feel how to.
I don't even have to be looking at the other three but I know that they've slowed there movement to a sensual intake moment in the journey, rather than the previously blood pumping expanse of movement. Go to a any good nightclub and watch the dancers on stage; they compute every movement through their bodies, before even recognizing the reaction. We're you're flight attendants on your journey to the stars.
My heart was racing faster as this whole image took place in my forefront. There was a part I had to play, and when it comes to dancing you can't fake feeling alive; especially on the stage. As I moved, pieces of my body were illuminated from the array of lights constantly circling their way around the room. A blue fleck of illumination would flick off a swirling arm and attach itself to my sultry hip for only a portion of a moment before it went twirling down my leg. Between the transcending crowd and my fellow dancers dissecting my style, there were enough eyes on me that I could focus on nothing else but the dance. You know that moment when the music takes you so far that it shuts off all communication except that which your heart translates to your body to move? That's where we have to be all the time, whether or not the music is good – of course the music was fabulous anyways. But it shows when there's no feeling.
Who brings the party to life? The pretty girl looking bored on her phone in the corner of the room? Or the girl who can't stop smiling because she can't imagine being anywhere else in the world right now?
Yes, I get lost in the movement of the music, but at the same time I'm more present than I have ever been to anything.
In one of my spins – which I mastered surprisingly quickly in those ankle breaking suckers – I caught a small gesture from Kitty out of the corner of my eye. To anyone else, it looks like a slight sensual slide of fingers across the throat; but I had been told before showtime that it was code for end of set. In a cross section of eye contact, we all made our way low to the ground in simultaneous fashion and together, exited the stage. Matthew and I ran into the DJ headliner - Tchami - as we headed up the stairs.
"You guys are gonna dance when I'm playing, right?" he asked us.
"Hell yes we are, baby!" Matthew said with all the excitement that had left me speechless in the presence of this techno genius.
"Good," he said continuing past us down the stairs, "you guys killed it."
Backstage was met with a conviction of exhaustion and sweat. My hair piece had slipped a little down the side of my head, and my costume was sliding over my now very sweaty skin, but I had otherwise held up surprisingly well. I took my place in the seat next to Matthew. I turned to the girls expecting an ear-full of either criticism or praise, but instead was met with nothing. As they seemed to have clearly forgotten I was there, I looked toward Matthew to make sure I hadn't dissolved into an invisible ball of sweat.
“It means you did well,” he said with a reassuring smile. “You know,” he added, picking up a set-time list and fanning me to help me keep my face from melting, “a lot of girls come through here because they're trying to prove something to the world. They're not dancing for anyone but themselves. Those kinds of bitches don't last long. Those of us who dance for the world? We dance together and we dance because we love it. It's not about being looked at as sexy or whatever; it's about looking at what's inside one another. That's art.”
I smiled a bashful grin disguised under a flush of exercised heart-rate.
“It reminds me of being a child back on the island.”
“No!” he chuckled, “We never had no 'air-conditioning'" said with the most attitude you've ever heard, "so my grandmother used to fan me with her lace fan and sing me to sleep during the hot summer nights in Jamaica. Family is the only way one can survive.”
Two more costume changes and two more sets later, I said goodbye till next week to my new family and headed once more down the stairs with heavy eyelashes and a shit-eating grin on my face. Dragging my suitcase behind me so it slammed obnoxiously onto every step, I headed out a side door and to the street where Marco was waiting for me amongst the stream of cabs. The streets were full of excitement as drunk girls stumbled into their Ubers and bros helped each other walk while they accidentally burned one another with straggling cigarette embers.
“You were on stage,” one particularly drunk girl slurred in my face still made up with very elaborate make up.
I smiled not knowing what to make of her matter-of-fact statement.
She grinned back. And instead of inflicting some unnecessary judgment or lash of jealousy as so many of us are often brought into socially inflicted self-comparison; she said:
“That was awesome.”
From there she turned and stumbled diagonally on down the street, leaving me the happiest most humanity loving person in all of San Francisco.
Soon, I would see these streets as a haven of a fantastical dream world that I can hardly do justice with words, but for now, only beams of light beamed into my eyes as they sparkled against the millions of minuscule plastic pieces strained across my cheeks.