Saturday, August 20, 2011

Girl Next Door: Every Girl Has a Naughty Little Secret

Kelly Yvonne’s Girl Next Door: A Pole Dance Soiree is a delicious, fun and refreshing collection of pole dance vignettes performed at the King King in Hollywood every Sunday.  And the message is this: Everyone has an inner vixen.  Now invite her out to play!  The show opens with a few “housewives” dressed in peek-a-boo tutus and corsets meeting their new neighbors.  There is one housewife in particular who has not quite discovered her inner sex kitten.  Another woman takes it upon herself to begin to school her in the art of sexiness. This is, of course, all done very playfully and tongue-in-cheek.  And to a sexed up version of Mr. Rogers’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”  It’s outstanding. 

There are fifteen performances and each one is a mini-story told through dance.  Most of them are done on the pole and the floor with the exception of an aerial hoop show above the bar, and another performance done on aerial silks.  There are two poles – one on the stage and one in the middle of the audience.  The dancers use both, as well as a small runway that juts out into the audience.  What ties the performances together is the idea that each of these women is taking a break from her daytime persona and revealing to the audience her sensual, sexy, secret side.  The program lists each of the dancers and their “day jobs” on one side.  Turn the program over and you see each of the dancers listed by the name of the song they perform to.  “Il Mio Bel Foco” had a violinist and an opera singer as music.  A pole dancer danced at the mercy of a cruel ringleader, bearing a whip, until she finally wins him over.  “On the Couch” was a man (well, a woman dressed as a man) begging for forgiveness from his woman for being late, ultimately seducing her by the end.  “Need You Tonight” was a dancer who performed for a video camera, her eyes never leaving the lens.  And “Bloodstream” was done entirely behind a sheer curtain with maybe only three pole tricks.  But it was easily one of the most intoxicating performances of the evening – with the exception of the finale of course. In the finale, each of the dancers took her turn dancing on a giant net above the stage, followed by a walk through the audience, a trick on a pole in the audience, a sexy little wall dance and finally, a walk or a crawl onto the stage for a final bow.  And they owned it.
Girl Next Door works well as a show because the simplicity of the presentation allows the unique and very different styles of the dancers to shine through without losing a sense of continuity and without taking itself too seriously. In between the different dances we watch the reserved housewife, with the help of her neighbor, discover and unleash her sexy side until, at the very end, she gets on the pole.  The show is sponsored by X-Pole, The Pole Garage, Quain Photo and Alexander’s For Hair and produced, created and directed by Kelly Yvonne.  It’s in its second season and the company has 28 members.  

Girls Next Door does an amazing job of blending pole artistry, athleticism and dance into a sexy, flirty, fun-filled show.  The secret is out.  Now go see for yourself! for tickets
Performances are the first Sunday of every month at The King King

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bridging the Gap Between Club and Studio: Evolve Performance Night

Annemarie Davies, founder of UPA and creator of Performance Night at Evolve.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Performance Night at Evolve Pole Dance Studio.  Performance Night was started by Annmarie Davies, founder of  United Pole Artists and it showcases both students and teachers with varying levels of expertise.  There three things that set Performance night at Evolve apart from other studio recitals:
1. You are encouraged to tip the dancers with faux dollars.
2. The dances are unchoreographed.
3. There is an open bar.  
I’m assuming everyone is on board with reason number three and I don’t have to go into the merits of having an open bar.  Reason number one, however, might raise a few eyebrows.  Isn’t that the exact opposite of the image we are trying to create in the pole dancing industry?  Isn’t it demeaning to the women dancing?  As it turns out, no.  The dollars are a form of appreciation, along with applause and screams and both the dancers and the audience (men and women) understand this.  Now you and your boyfriend might have different reasons for throwing the dollars.  But at the end of the day, the attitude of the audience members is deeply respectful of both the art and the sensuality of pole dancing.  Which it turns out, is exactly Annmarie’s goal in creating the venue.  “I wanted to bridge the gap between stripping and pole dancing.  I want the women to have the experience of performing for “money” but in a safe environment.  I’m bringing a little bit of Jumbo’s into the studio”, says Davies.  Jumbo’s Clown Room is a famous bikini and burlesque bar in Hollywood.  It’s known for staging performance art striptease.  Davies is a performer there.
Reason number two: You might think an unchoreographed dance translates into disaster. Not in the pole world.  The dancers were amazing to watch.  And frankly, the lack of choreography made the movement more sensual and inspired than the usual pole show.  There was plenty of floor work and the dancers also had an excellent sense of musicality.  There was a woman who danced while a man sang and played guitar on stage with her.  Another woman, who had only been dancing a month and a half, showed off tricks that made me green with envy.  There was a massage therapist who moved as though her body was made of liquid. And another student finished her performance by pulling another student out of the crowd, and including her in her last pole trick.  And finally you had two beautiful performances from the magical Mina Mortezaie and Annemarie herself.  My jaw was on the floor. I’ve decided that AnneMarie is going to be my newest pole teacher.
So next time Annemarie puts on a performance night, if you are in LA  and you have twenty dollars, head over to Evolve and see what the buzz is about.  You will NOT be disappointed.

The Lovely Mina Mortezaie