Wondering why your co-worker had 8-inch lucite platforms peeking out of her gym bag when she left the office the other night? Don’t tell corporate, but she’s probably a part-time pole dancer.
That was the case for the 16 women of Girl Next Door, a theatrical show featuring women with everyday jobs who wanted to exhibit their underground hobby: pole-dancing. The monthly event was held last Sunday night at the King King Hollywood. Schoolteacher, ad executive, grad student, and casting director were among the (day) job titles held by the night’s performers.
I didn’t know what to expect as I entered the crowded, black box theater. I could have guessed there would be all of the portable poles and glowing red lights, but not that the audience would be overwhelmingly female—family and friends, mostly.
“All of the routines have to have a story, but some girls dance sexier than others,” explained Joy Brandel, who came, along with a friend, to watch her daughter Tamara perform. Off of the pole, Tamara is the casting director for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Each performer took to the small T-shaped stage with a distinct personality and self-choreographed solo routine to songs like Dirty Diana and Kung Fu Fighting. For most the pole was a gymnastics bar turned upright, for few it was a steel phallic symbol.
The stigma of pole-dancing waned as I watched the dancers’ fluid movements and impressive upper body strength. The lack of male onlookers helped as well. There were no clothes or dollars flying around, just a bunch of women in bathing suits, showing off new pole tricks for, and with, their friends. Afterall, nowadays ‘vertical dance’ classes are a popular feature at L.A. gyms, a sexy alternative to weightlifting (or maybe divorce).
Tamara Brandel performed to the Beatles’ classic Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. “I’m such a proud mom,” said Joy, watching her 40-year-old daughter caterpillar crawl down the pole upstage. “I don’t really like the stripper things,” said Tamara after the show, “I’m not that kind of girl.”
Honestly, it seemed like most of the performers weren’t. Catch the next Girl Next Door show on June 5.