It’s August. Just one more month of summer and business will start picking up. This will be the last installment of the Traveling Dancer Series of articles. All in all, the best advice I can give any traveling dancer is be prepared…so lets cover the essentials.
WHAT TO BRING
The first topic is clothing. In Phoenix, many of the dancer boutiques are open until 10pm, and some are open 24 hours. One of our DancerWealth students told me that she went on a tour of clubs throughout the Midwest and never once did it occur to her that she couldn’t shop for shoes or a new outfit at 3 AM when she was in Sioux City, Iowa! If you tend to pack light, think again! Pack plenty of costumes/outfits and be sure to bring at least one gown. Having a variety of costumes will ensure you will always have something suitable to wear, especially if you are planning to hit several clubs in different cities. Also bring more than one pair of shoes, nothing will put a damper on your night quicker than having to wear flip flops with your sparkly gown. Know the g-string laws for the city you are visiting: most cities have size regulations and others actually require dancers to wear two pairs! Check the weather, even in August you may need a light jacket and jeans if you visit places up north!
Not all clubs have a house mom, so some of the creature comforts you may have at your club at home may not be available. Pack extra medicinal items such as Advil, band-aids, deodorant, tampons, cosmetics, hair products, soap, shampoo, etc. Yes, even Fargo, ND has a Walmart…but do you want to spend your profits on stuff you already have in your bathroom?
RULES OF THE ROAD
I met a dancer from Portland once who freaked out when she came to Las Vegas. In Portland, all lap dances by law had to be 12 inches away from the customer. She came to our live class and while in Las Vegas, figured she would work at one of the many clubs Sin City had to offer. I spoke with her the night after her first shift and she told me it was almost impossible for her to get used to how much high-contact the dancers in Vegas have with the customers. When you are traveling to other cities, research the laws before you arrive. Many cities now are making it mandatory for exotic dancers to have special licenses, so be prepared to spend time and money obtaining these licenses if needed. In addition to the laws, you should also find out what the club policies are and where you want to work. Two good FREE online resources are Stripperweb.com and Exoticdancernet.com
I remember last year I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma and decided to see how clubs out there operated. I was shocked to see that at exactly 2 AM, not only did all alcoholic beverages stop being served, but all existing alcohol was to be confiscated as per the laws of the area. I’ve never seen anything like how the bouncers would walk between the tables with flashlights looking for hidden beer bottles. It was amazing. Interestingly enough, as a way of motivating the customers to stay, the club brought out a huge breakfast buffet which was free to all customers. They called it their ‘Legs & Eggs Special’. So before going to any unfamiliar location, be sure to inquire what the local rules are for exotic dancers or for the clubs themselves so nothing will be of any surprise to you when you arrive and start working.
TRANSPORTATION & EXPENSES
When planning your trip, be sure to research your hotel carefully! Last summer I booked a room in Dallas very close to the strip clubs. Little did I know, that the clubs are all located in a relatively shady part of town. After checking into my room, I met up with one of my students for dinner. When I told her where I was staying, her eyes opened wide and she said “No, we are getting your stuff and you can sleep on my air mattress!” Another time I booked a room in North Jersey, which was supposed to be 20 minutes from Manhattan. Well, it was during the World Series and that “20 minutes” translated to one hour to the George Washington Bridge…and then another hour from the bridge to the club!
As you are working on your trip, be sure to save receipts for any expenses. This includes house fees, hotel room fees, cab rides, etc. If you are staying in your destination city for work and pleasure, just keep the receipts for the days you worked as you can itemize the trip in this way. These receipts will be used later for income tax deductions and will save you tons of money later on.
HOW TO SELL
One of the best selling techniques in the exotic dancing world is to not look like everyone else in your club. Being a stranger to the area, you may be more prone to being treated unfairly by the other club staff including the other dancers. After all, you are the ‘new girl’ who is perceived as the person who has come in to take the money away from the local or house dancers. However, being from another area can add a whole mysteriousness to your persona so take advantage of it! Understand that a dancer in Los Angeles with a New York accent can draw lots of positive attention. It’s different and out of the norm. In most cases, your customers may be attracted to something they normally wouldn’t encounter so be sure to use your unique qualities to your advantage. Also, be sure to have your DJ introduce you as being from a distant location. It makes you sound more important and unique when you can be introduced as being, ‘all the way from Scottsdale, please welcome…’. On the flip-side of this, you can also use this to your advantage in the rapport building process. If you encounter other Arizonans, you have a natural ice-breaker to talk about if you are from the same distant city.
Again, the best advice I can give any traveling dancer is be prepared. Use your difference as an advantage, not as a disadvantage, and you’ll be the hit of any club you work at.
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