by Kelly Chia, Features Editor
Intrigue and excitement.
Those were the two emotions that dominated my mind as I first entered the doors of Celebrities Nightclub to see Absinthe, Luminesque’s heels performance show. Heels performances are characterized by the fact that each dancer wears heels the entire performance. Dressed in black and green, the performers took their routines through R&B and tango music. But the dancers’ talent wasn’t what made me come back to the venue.
It was their diversity: there were so many performers of different sizes and ethnicities. What really impressed me were the older performers, including many mothers. Each person on that stage was able to embrace their sexuality. Not to mention that these were not pros but instead students part of a heels dance class.
Over and over, the host reminded the audience to keep their hands to themselves, truly teaching me what it meant to be in a healthy, sex-positive environment. Having never been to a nightclub before, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I left the show feeling empowered and sexy.
Flash forward and I was back at Celebrities for the second time, and I wanted to see if these feelings would come back. It was a Christmas-themed show named Scrooged, a heels performance that was split into five different eras, with the overarching theme inspired by A Christmas Carol.
The show follows the main character Ebi, who loses inspiration for her dance show. In an attempt to revitalize her passion, the “ghosts of music’s past” whisks her, and the audience, through cabaret, disco, rock and roll, hip hop, and modern pop. It was a bit cheesy, but it was really wholesome and fun.
Then there was the execution of the show. The venue itself isn’t that large, but the performers took advantage of both the floor and stage to create a dynamic performance. I remember my jaw hanging dumbly as I stared at the dancers on the stage holding the ponytails of the dancers on the stage floor to create a sort of wave effect to Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.”
Donning garter highs, light-up body harnesses, and glittery bodysuits, these performers deserved the cheers and awe from everyone in the room. They were sexy, and the choreography moved so fluidly that you could hardly tell the difference between the beginner classes and the advanced dancers. This is not to dispute the talent of the dancers, but to highlight how thought-out the choreography was. Everyone hit their cues, and everything looked really clean. My friend and I would later discuss how some of the moves were probably done by advanced dancers amongst the beginners, but in the moment, it really was hard to tell among Luminesque’s talent.
This was probably what made both of us want to join Luminesque for its next show. Actually, the overwhelming feeling of both shows was not its promiscuity, but the warmth that seemed to overflow from its large community. At the end of both Absinthe and Scrooged, Luminesque’s company owner, Vanessa Young, would join the dancers as they did their bows. She would ask how many performers had joined Luminesque for the first time that term. Both times, I saw almost all of them raise their hands, and I was inspired by the amount of people who were trying something new.
I had wanted to try heels dance for awhile, but going to Absinthe and Scrooged only affirmed my desire to join this community. The one thing I miss about musical theatre in high school (hold for cringe) is the community I would form with my fellow performers. Watching these performances made it evident that this group was very tight-knit; the dancers all looked like they were having a lot of fun, and they were so much fun to watch.
I came into my first show having never been in a nightclub before, holding on to my jacket as a security blanket. I am proud to say that the next time I will be at Celebrities Nightclub, it will be as a Luminesque performer.
So, in a few months, I hope you’ll catch me at Luminesque’s next show, Haute Couture! It takes place at Celebrities Nightclub on March 19, 20, 21, and 26, 27, 28.