BY ASHLEIGH GREEN
Experienced dancers are working in Perth strip clubs as they run out of viable employment options, say dance professionals.
CC Dance Company owner Celia Chung said there was a shortage of work for dancers in Perth, and many who wanted to go professional didn’t have the money to pursue careers overseas.
“Young dancers have to get part-time work to save up for the plane ticket to America or the UK,” Ms Chung said.
She said a lack of well-paid work turned dancers towards stripping.
“Perth doesn’t have a very rich local dance culture so girls are putting their skills to use in strip clubs,” she said.
Ms Chung said a lack of local professional dance work drove talented performers into the seedy world of adult entertainment.
In Perth, strip clubs are some of the best paying venues, and are continually hiring due to a high staff turn around.
The Doll House Gentleman’s Club website claims the club is ‘always looking for more beautiful girls and lovely ladies’, offering dancers perks including free choreography training, accommodation and up to $2000 per week.
Perth stripper Brooke* said money was tight and exotic dancing paid better than any of her previous jobs.
“I normally get close to $900 on Fridays and Saturdays,” Brooke said.
“There’s no work around so I’m using my skills as a dancer to make money.
“It’s tough but it’s a living.”
Professional dancer Amanda Vicarey condemned exotic dancing as degrading to her profession.
She said dancers were role models who should not compromise their dignity for money.
“It doesn’t set a very good example for younger dancers, and stripping isn’t what our training is designed to be used for,” Ms Vicarey said.
Ms Chung compared the lack of support for aspiring dancers to government help for those entering the medical profession, which can include tuition fees and rent assistance.
“The government doesn’t see dancing as studying per se, so dancers aren’t entitled to the same benefits or study grants as university students,” Ms Chung said.
“Those who aspire to be nurses can get part-time work in hospitals where they can put their skills to use, but there aren’t a lot of places that require a dancer’s skills.”
Ms Vicarey said exotic dancing was appalling and in bad taste, but that strippers justified it as being part of the job.
*Real name withheld.
Published in the Western Independent October 2010