Ahh…summer, the time when we can’t distinguish a watermelon that was left in the trunk for three weeks from our gig bag that was only left in the car only 2 days ago.
Yup, it’s stank-time in bellydance land!
If you’re like me, at the end of a long night of gigs your household can’t tell if it’s just you gently rapping at the door or a starving zombie who just spent four hours in a sauna. So please don’t hold it against me if I leave my gig bag to rot in the car.
Yes, I’ll be the first to tell you that gross stuff happens in your gig bag The (need I say copious) sweat you deposited on your costume starts to eat away at the fabric. Stains settle in for the long haul and jewelery gets tarnished. Not only is that costume too delicate to just ignore for a week then throw in the washing machine (without losing half your bling) but if you don’t get sweat and stains out before they set, the fabric will never let go of them – synthetic fabrics especially. And depending on how the fabrics were dyed, leaving them damp/ wet and piled up together can cause a transfer of some dyes in places you don’t want them.
Well, what else can we destroy after a long night running the bellydance marathon? How about your muscles? Do your muscles feel pleasantly worked-over, or are they just plain dead from exhaustion from the class you taught in the afternoon, then the tourist-y atmosphere gig you did at Generic-Moroccan-Name-Restaurant, then the wedding, then the 45 minute nightclub set you did to live music in a room so filled with shisa smoke you might as well have been at the international tire-burning festival? Well, if it’s the former or the later, just ignore those pesky muscles! They can sort it out amongst themselves while you sleep – just don’t be surprised if you wake up feeling like your lower back is tacked to your neck. If you don’t wear shoes and you also don’t wash your feet at the end of the night I can’t talk to you anymore. Have fun plucking out those glass beads embedded in your skin.
I’m not going to pretend that you can somehow be a superwoman and keep all this stuff clean and your body perfectly maintained. The best way to have a relaxed body and pristine dance gear is to NEVER DANCE.
But, I would be remiss in just being a jackass, so my best advice is a post-gig-day ritual. Try your utmost not to schedule work or social obligations within three hours of the time you would like to wake-up. In the morning, do a short movement session and then unpack and air out your costumes. Really grody costumes should get a cold water dip. Costumes should be folded; heavy beading will stretch the fabric. Place sheets of tissue paper (the kind you use in gift bags) between layers to keep rhinestone prongs from getting grabby with the fabric. Get a scrub brush and majorly scrub your feet. Gently remove the unspeakable layer of filth from the bottom of your shoes with a soft cloth and gentle soap. When it dries, give it a brush with a shoe brush if needed to restore the nap.
Follow those directions and you’ll feel better, dance better, and look better! (and clearly not be me.)
And when you’re ready to practice again, feel free to use This Link to download my Perfect Practice Belly Dance Music Album for FREE!