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