“What’s “live girls” mean?” I asked Barbara as three of us paused in the door way of the Body Shop, slightly disoriented by the abrupt change from sunlight to dark. “Is there an alternative?”
Inside the atmosphere was smoke-filled bordello grunge. A central podium floated eerily above the floor and predatory shafts of light, swirling with spiraling grey smoke stalked three girls in various stages of undress, and trapped them in their hot glare. The club was dark enough to obscure the patrons at the surrounding tables, but a long wooden banquet surrounded the stage and several beer-drinking patrons enjoyed front- row close-ups of the gynecological vistas that were briefly presented as one by one the strippers squatted in the footlights. I watched about three numbers before I noticed a pattern of knee-jerk reaction exhibited by all but the hardiest of customers. Each time one of the girls flashed a “beaver shot”, the men dived into their beers for about two seconds before raising alcohol-flushed faces and emitting the prerequisite whistles and cat-calls. One might almost surmise that they were embarrassed.
“We can do a lot better than that.” I informed the two hopefuls as we walked down Sunset afterwards.
It took about three weeks to find appropriate music, arrange the numbers and design costumes. I had untold fun trying to come up with something original and new. I refused to think about the sleaziness of the venue and did my best. We arranged a languid number for the two of them to a piece by Chicago that was almost symphonic in its lyricism. The lifts and moves were no different from most adagio acts, apart from the nudity. For Barbara we set a witty little strip in a bird costume that included a long feathered tail and a tiny feathered mask similar to the one worn by the Blue Bird in the ballet Sleeping Beauty. Around her breasts we pasted numerous little feathers that she removed one by one as she danced. We had her perched on a chair that was camouflaged with leafy branches, from which she could emerge. She would periodically duck behind the branches and hide, using the prop in the classic manner of a fan dance. I wanted both numbers to reflect their freshness and youth and I thought that the results were aesthetic and innocently erotic.
The management thought they were garbage. They kept them for one short week, and then fired them for lack of “beaver shots”.
Today the two were beaming with pride and bursting to tell me the good news.
“Guess what—-we’re going to Vegas! There was a talent scout at the club that first week and he offered us a contract in Vegas. We’re going next month.” David and Barbara were off to the Big Time, and what more fairy-tale venue than a place called Aladdin in the middle of the desert! They earnestly promised me regular postcards and continued dedication to dance class.
Some time later, when I was up and about and back to teaching dance classes in the valley, a student asked me if I had not found it demeaning to have danced in music hall in Paris and choreographed (Eew!) a strip routine for a funky club in Hollywood.
"Not at all," I told the virtuous little Valley Girl,
"Every good girl wants to strip."