The Strippers Who Think They're Artists

By John Figlesthaler

There's a gentleman’s entertainment venue on the outskirts of Albany called Nite Moves that has been in the media lately. Their newfound attention can be attributed to the unappreciative New York State Tax Tribunal, which feels that Nite Moves does not host dancing of fine artistic merit and therefore owes substantial sums of back taxes that proprietors of for-profit businesses not involved with the arts traditionally pay. The lawyer for Nite Moves, W. Andrew McCullough, is fighting tooth and nail under the premise that the club should be exempt from these taxes as it hosts "dramatic or musical arts performances".

The language that the prosecution is using in their attempt to squeeze the club for these taxes is that the dancing does not qualify as “choreographed performance”, like those assholes who hit rubbish bins for an hour and a half in Covent Garden. While the case is currently in limbo in the State Supreme Court, I made a critical effort to assess the level of professional performance for myself. (Unfortunately, taking photos in a dark room while buxom performers gyrate seductively in front of you is not an easy task. Please forgive the quality of the images.)


 
On the outside, Nite Moves is as inconspicuous as a speakeasy, but, upon entering, the décor is draped in deep crimson reds, creating a warm and welcoming ambience. The seating is comfortably plush and the space is accented by twinkling lamps and highlighted by precisely placed spotlights. It's as if Alexander McQueen and John Waters collaborated to create the corporeal feel of the stage for the talented dancers. Nite Moves is truly the setting for one of the most naturally beautiful and powerfully minimalist art forms known to man.
 
First to take the stage was Kylee, a darkly-spirited seductress with the agile figure of an Olympic gymnast. Slowly easing into her routine with a deliberate floor show, while displaying the utmost control over every inch of her taught body, her dedicated training became immediately apparent. Perhaps the most powerful element of Kylee’s performance was the strong sensual air that she exuded, omitting true self-pleasure as her limbs and core danced a wicked tango together. The ability to convey this sincere gratification through the vehicle of the human body alone taps into the most primal and basic instincts of expression, instincts that Nite Moves expertly puts on display night after night.


 
The second act featured Crystal, a naturally bestowed performer clearly in tune with the stage and her carefully chosen accompanying music. Serenaded by “Take Me to the River”, Crystal moved in perfect rhythm with David Byrne, as if the score were penned for her personal ballet. Levitating her show both figuratively and literally by taking to the pole, she remained poised like a priceless brass weather vane spinning slowly in a cool late summer breeze. With five years of bathing in the professional spotlight, Crystal portrayed a purely physical control of her craft while maintaining an innocence that enticed and captivated the crowd.

On an interlude from the main stage, Crystal displayed a moving and creative impromptu number on a velvet chair that evoked a feline nimbleness. The measured sideshow provided an interval from the area of focus and played out as an intriguing addition instead of a distraction. At this point, it must be noted that the entertainment at Nite Moves is not merely visceral, but interactive as well. This provides for an artistic celebration of all five senses, something that even the most discerning connoisseur would be hard pressed to find at the Bolshoi Theatre.


Photo courtesy of Destiny.
 
For the grand finale, adorned in minimal, pastel lace and floral body art that accented her assertive figure, Destiny took command of the spotlight. As lean and graceful as a pink flamingo, there was a palpable connection between her organic movements, the stage and the seductive electronic soundtrack to which she danced. Initially coaxing the audience with the range of her stage prowess and impressive flexibility, this young performer has mastered a level of balance and elegance that reaches far beyond her years.

What elevated Destiny’s presence to soaring heights was the astounding, fine-tuned acrobatic display that she exhibited. Becoming one with the pole as she confidently shed the constraints of gravity, the level of control that this temptress possesses is clearly a careful unity of natural talent and dedicated study. From holding breathtaking poses in midair for notable lengths of time to spiraling swiftly with maximum vigour, the breadth of Destiny’s prowess epitomises the high degree of artful staging at Nite Moves.



Upon investigation and close observation of the degree of artistic expression at Nite Moves, it is abundantly clear to me that what these practiced ladies do is nothing short of a difficult artform that can take years to master. For the Tax Tribunal to say that the performances of the dancers are void of choreography is preposterous. In reality, the lack of an official choreographer to direct the dancing takes this form of physical art to a heightened level of spontaneous reaction and recital that is unique and demands the utmost respect.

Each performer is in complete control, and that is a rare asset that should be savoured. From the years of precise study and dedication that have gone into these balanced routines, to the acrobatic and intoxicating outcomes, these entertainers are no doubt artists in the most primal, and naked sense.

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