Expressions of a Las Vegas Dancer

April 21st, 2017 | Posted by Kathy Levyn

It began with an audition in Los Angeles at Roland Dupree Studios. I was recommended by my jazz teacher, who knew the choreographer for a Barry Ashton show. So I guess I had somewhat of an advantage, which is not usually the norm. We rehearsed in Los Angeles, and then my parents took me to Vegas to find a place to live. Being in my first apartment was fun. Living the Las Vegas life was quite different, because we did 2 shows a day, six days a week, lived more at night, and slept a lot of the day away.

Our show,’ Vive Paris Vive,’ played first at the original Aladdin Hotel, and then at The Flamingo Hotel. I still have the statue for best review of 1975. Wearing those skimpy costumes was difficult at first for me, since I am basically modest, yet had to get over that quickly. For those that do not know, the showgirls were topless, and we were covered. It was a small show, so I was one of six dancers. I still remember that while we were dancing, many were looking at the topless showgirls behind us in the bordello number. Gee, weren’t we dancing good enough?

A difficult thing to deal with was all the showbiz hoopla. For instance, the stage manager did not like me so he switched me to the back row and put another gal he liked in my spot in front. One of the dressers called for me and pronounced my name wrong. When I corrected her, she told me that the stage manager said it was so. I also danced in the ‘Lido Show’ at the Stardust Hotel for about 1 1/2 years. In between shows we would sometimes play board games. Got into a disagreement with one gal about the rules of Aggravation. She told me if I said one more word she would hit me. I did, and she hit me and I hit back. Aggravation had a special meaning that night. As soon as the management heard about it, they held a meeting with us and the showgirls, saying if anything like that happened again, we would be fired. As time went on, we could cut the tension with a knife, and then one day she offered me some makeup for a photo shoot I was doing, and even invited me to her wedding. Wow those crazy Vegas days, glad they are behind me.

When the Lido show was closing, I auditioned for the next show. Did not get it, yet I got in a Vegas show going to Manila, Philippines. Another interesting time in a strange country with roaches 2 inches long. On the last night of the show, I sprained my ankle and swelled up a lot. Crazy me kept dancing and paid the price later. Back to Las Vegas and auditioned for a show going to Japan. Stored all my belongings at a friends house, and gave up my apt. because no one would sub-let it. A total cultural shock big time, especially the so called toilets which were a hole in the ground. Luckily we had western ones in our apt. The audience was either sitting with their backs to us, or trying to climb up on the stage. Did learn some Japanese language, which I still remember, and got to sight-see somewhat, which was nice.

When that job finished, I went back to Los Angeles, never to dance again in Las Vegas. Through it all, I am glad to have had those 4 years of experience to remember and share.

Written by Kathy Levyn

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