Monday, September 10, 2007

Stiletto Storm National Exotic Dance Competition

Ryann Rain and Fiona Phoenix have been planning this under wraps for a long time now, but the plan was finally unveiled in the Vancouver Courier on September 7, 2007. Stiletto Storm will be a non-nude exotic dance competition that will blow people's minds. I'm so happy it will be produced in Vancouver so I can be there to see it happen!!!

I've helped with some of their marketing stuff already and fully support what they're doing. Many of the contests that are awarding titles to exotic dancers right now are rigged and focus too much on appearance and not enough on skill or showmanship. The last Miss Nude Canada Pageant was won by a Russian (I think, someone not from Canada anyway) who did her shows in barefeet. It was a real slap in the face to all the Canadian performers who worked their asses off in stilettos in that competition.

Stiletto Storm is a great way to break down some barriers about the industry and provide opportunities for dancers to show their skills and talents to the world (rather than just the perverts in gyno row, lol). I don't know Fiona Phoenix personally, but I do know Ryann Rain very well. Ryann is a young, intelligent woman with a lot of ambition. What she and Fiona are doing is going to help the exotic dance industry so much. The fact that they're holding the competition in Vancouver will hopefully help to create more interest in a suffering industry here.

It's so many good things and nothing bad. It's a dancer-organized and created event. The competitors in this competition will be paid for their time, not just if they win.

I'm so excited! Finally, a way to recognize the hard work and skill that goes into being an exotic dancer. The non-nude aspect opens it up to the mainstream - escpecially women who have fallen in love with pole dancing since it became a craze. Congratulations Ryann and Fiona! The article in the Courier was amazing. Here it is:

Daring young women on flying trapeze
Exotic dancers plan Vegas-style circus show in July 2008

Sandra Thomas
Vancouver Courier

Friday, September 07, 2007

Imagine a performance similar to Cirque du Soleil, only sexier.

That's how dancer Ryann Rain describes the first annual National Exotic Dance Championship she's helping organize.

"Most people never see the types of performance these girls can do and they want to show off their skills," said Rain, who doesn't use her real name. "It's so empowering for everyone."

Rain says many exotic dancers have formal training. While she studied ballet as a child and Ukrainian dance for nine years, her business partner Fiona Phoenix, who's helping organize the national championship, participated in gymnastics for 20 years. The two recently founded Stiletto Storm Productions, and the show will be their first large project. Rain explains Stiletto Storm was formed to honour and protect the future of the "art and heart of exotic dance in Canada."

Rain promises the three-day, non-nude competition will be a burlesque-style show at the Vancouver Playhouse worthy of Las Vegas. It will include gymnastics, contortionists, tub shows and aerial circus acts.

"We'll be having a trapeze installed in the rafters," said Rain, who also took part in the third annual Exotic Dancers for Cancer fundraiser last March at the now defunct Drake Showlounge. "Some of the aerial acts are unbelievable."

Rain said she and Phoenix decided to organize a national championship after becoming disillusioned with smaller competitions they'd attended.

"They weren't very positive and not very empowering for dancers," said Rain.

She believes power must be returned to female dancers in an industry dominated by men. She noted the crowds visiting strip clubs are no longer mostly male, and the show is a result of that change in demographic.

"Since pole dancing has become so popular we've seen a huge influx of women at strip clubs," said Rain. "In Vancouver the number of females at a club is easily 15 to 30 per cent, and on a Friday night in Victoria it can be 70 per cent."

Rain feels despite the shift, most strip clubs don't cater to their ever-increasing female clientele. She believes the gap creates an opportunity for Stiletto Storm to step in. She added that while the championship show will focus on the women, men are more than welcome.

"I'm sure there'll be a lot of boyfriends and husbands tagging along," she said.

The show isn't scheduled until next July, but Rain is seeking sponsors now. She's concerned some corporate sponsors will be scared off by the stigma attached to exotic dancing. Money raised at the March fundraiser was initially going to be donated to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, but the society refused the gift. The society told event organizers some major donors deemed the source of the donation too controversial.

Rain hopes that isn't the case in finding sponsors for next year's national championship and looks for support from women's organizations, activists and business.

"This is a great opportunity for any corporate sponsors who would benefit from a large target audience of women between the age of 21 and 45," said Rain. "It's all about women."

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