Tasha Tells All...on Dancing at Gentlemen's Clubs!
Every Monday, adult superstar/OC girl Tasha Reign gives us her thoughts on life, sex, politics and everything in between. Today, Tasha weighs in on the porn conventions--it ain't all booth babes basking in front of fans. Enjoy!
By Tasha Reign
Last year, I was nominated as Feature Dance Newcomer of the Year at the Exotic Dance Awards--the industry's premier awards. It's not all about shimmying your cha-chas for leering guys, everyone. To truly make a career out of it, you have to sign up with a feature dance agency, a small circuit in and of itself. They represent girls, booking them to individual clubs and handling all the contracts and paperwork. Once a girl gets the gig, it's up to them to make it a recurring role--you have to not only put on good shows, but interact with the audience in a favorable manner and get along with the club's regular employees.
Seems easy, right? But you'd be surprised how many girls can't handle it. Not me.
In Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of Tasha Reign
I started traveling and performing these shows as a featured performer almost two years ago, and I haven't taken a break since, because I love it so much! About twice a month I go everywhere--the Midwest, the East Coast, the South, the West--to dance on stage, sign photos and DVD'S, and give private lap dances. I consider this a vacation--or at least the reward I get in return for making adult films. And it's a way to stay close to my roots: I was involved in hip-hop and jazz dancing while in elementary and middle school, and I started my adult career as a stripper at a club called Silver Reign in West Los Angeles (yep, my professional name is inspired from it).
I've got the routine down so I can continue to work in films during the week, but then get away on the weekends for dancing. Since I'm still in school and working making movies, I always make sure my agent makes the flights compatible with my class and shoot schedule. I'll pack my bags full of goodies: DVD's, 8x10 glossies, markers, posters and more. I also prepare for my dancing depending on where I'm going, custom-tailoring my song set and costumes to regional tastes. For instance, if I'm going to Pittsburgh, I'll be wearing the black-and-gold of the Steelers.
But I also like to put my own personal touch: My favorite routines involve cowboy, cheerleader, or military outfits; for music, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, or even Lenny Kravitz and Too Short. I'll bring cherries and whipped cream on stage and make a big mess all over myself--if I'm feeling really wild, I will bring candles and pour the hot wax all over my body. I ride people around, pull women on stage and really get in everyone's faces, literally and figuratively. Most importantly I always interact with the audience and make sure that they all know I love my job and that I'm there for their pleasure.
It wasn't always this easy. My first offer to dance outside of my home clubs was at the Gold Club Centerfolds in Sacramento. Although I had experience being a house dancer in many strip joints, I didn't realize what was involved for putting on a show--after all, the usual gig is about two shows a night at about four songs a set. Doesn't seem like much, right? But such a simple thing intimidated me. Why did the club want to fly me out there to dance for about 20 minutes a night on stage and hang out with fans? I realized that the clubs wanted to draw a crowd with my name. Unfortunately, when I started doing these shows I had not made a ton of movies, and I did not have a big name, so there was even more pressure for me to draw in crowds--the last thing a girl wants is an empty room.
I asked my agency if a girl could show me the ropes and explain how these shows and performances were supposed to look; they provided two ex-performers for me to dance with at another club, using their pole and D.J. when no one was yet in the facility. I took notes and watched them in action. The agency also recommended I have my own roadie to show me the ropes of the road. Archie has been in this niche of the adult business for over a decade and knows all the clubs, porn stars, club owners and tricks of the trade. I asked him what I should do to command everyone's attention, how I should go about doing it, what types of outfit should I wear and what music should I dance to. He watched my first shows with enthusiasm and gave me the harsh critiques I needed so that I could improve my performance and grow into the entertainer I am today.
On the day of my show, clubs usually provide me a green room to let me prepare for my shows. I always make it a point to meet the bouncers and managers--this is their turf, after all, and I'm just a grateful guest. I get into the mindset I'll need for the night. Sometimes, I'm just topless; other times, I'm fully nude. Sometimes, the audience wants to play games; other times, they just want to see you dance.
Putting on these shows is a way to keep your name out there, but it's also important to do them so that you can interact directly with the audience and fans that truly support your work. If they're willing to drive three hours just to come and watch me dance for 10 minutes with a potential signed picture from me, then that makes my whole trip worthwhile.
Follow Tasha on Twitter @tashareign!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts