Lesson learned this week: Pole dancing is incredibly difficult and for those of you who don’t believe me, I dare you to try for yourself and then revisit those thoughts while your entire body is recovering in a hot bath of Epsom salts.
But seriously, as a pretty active individual with a gymnastics background, I knew that pole was something that I needed to try after seeing Jennifer Romas completely dominate the sport (yes, I will personally proclaim the athletic feat as a sport) in her Westgate show, “SEXXY.”
Not just your run-of-the-mill topless revue, this saucy showcase features the ultimate variety of female dancers suitable to fulfill just about everyone’s steamy fantasies.
Among these wild, romantic and mesmerizing acts is Romas’ pole routine where she maneuvers her way up, down, around and all about the fixture while contorting her body into positions we thought were reserved for the likes of Cirque du Soleil.
However, the deception here is that she makes pole dancing look so easy that we thought we could do it too.
But it was only after a one-on-one lesson, battle wounds of bruises, pole burns, a blister and a three-day fight against sore muscles (it still hurts to laugh), I realized that I was wrong. Pole dancing is effing hard.
Now, enjoy some of the (decent) photos that document my short-lived pole dancing career and take a look at what the show’s creator, director, producer and pole dancer (she is basically the Wonder Woman of “SEXXY”) has to say about her show, its upcoming one-year anniversary this month, the secrets of pole dancing and more.
Q & A with Jennifer Romas:
Vegas.com: Tell us a little bit about your show “SEXXY” and why it is different from other shows in Vegas.
Jennifer Romas:“SEXXY” the show is different from other shows in its category. All of my dancers are sexy in their own right and truly talented, athletic, and own the stage. Each woman is kind of her own unique character. We are not your “cookie cutter” team of performers, although in sync and connected always as a team on stage, each performer represents something different, unique and of course sexy.
Each solo is a small vignette connecting the audience to a different fantasy or dream. I tried to tap into most of the top 10 sexual “daydreams.” The word “sexy” really does capture the essence of a woman and means something different to everyone, so I offer quite a variety for our viewers. Our energy is also out of this world and the show is quite interactive, men love the show, women love the show, it is tasteful, classy, yet sexy, sensual and fun at the same time. My artists truly engage the audience; it is an hour and 15 minutes of jam-packed excitement.
VDC: How many dancers are in the cast and what acts are included in the show?
JR: I have a total of seven performers in the show nightly (five core dancers including myself, a singer and hula hoop or aerial act). I also have an extended team that has been in the show as swing and replacements as well. I am so very fortunate that one year after opening the show, I still have my original cast, I think that says a lot about the show and the group; we are truly a family.
VDC: How did you end up with this show in Vegas?
JR: “SEXXY” the Show was definitely not a planned out or a previously produced show. The words “be careful what you wish for” and “dreams do come true,” pretty much sum up the roller coaster of this past year. I had been trying to pursue other opportunities in entertainment; I was basically looking to get more on the business end of showbiz due to some major injuries and was working with Westgate on some other events and dancing in “Purple Reign” at the time. Robin Leach was kind enough to put me in contact with David Siegel and I basically kept on him. I had met and proposed many options and one day he came to see the “Purple Reign” show and said, “you really can dance.” The next day I was called to a meeting with David Siegel and Mark Waltrip…the rest is pretty much history. They asked, “Can you produce a show?”…I said, “Yes!” I had 3 weeks to make it happen.
VDC: What is a fun or interesting fact about SEXXY that most people don’t know?
JR: The bathtub routine was never rehearsed… opening night I winged it! I ran out of time so I put myself in it because there was no time left to teach or work on more choreography with the cast. I tried it with water the day before opening and I improved the routine opening night.
VDC: You make pole dancing look so easy but I know it is not! What does it take to become a skilled pole dancer?
JR: Practice, practice, practice! Pole dancing, like anything else, takes technique. I kind of laugh, because to be honest I don’t think I am that great at it, there are so many crazy talented pole dancers here in town. I watch them and say “I wish I could do that!” I will never say it’s easy but there are certain techniques that make some of the tricks and spins easier and possible.
I was a gymnast growing up so some of the things are rhythmic and gymnastic-like to me. You have to train your skin and body as well. It is brutal. The bruises and pole burns and of course the safety issue, you can seriously get hurt. I’ve actually popped my ribs out on the pole! Flexibility helps and I think being able to really “dance” the pole routine is important. I cheat a lot because my left knee can bend around the pole so sometimes it’s frustrating. It is a skill like doing silk, or lyra (aerial hoop), you have to practice. Keeping in shape and having a strong core are also very helpful. It’s a great workout to say the least… sexy and fun!
VDC: Do you have any surprises in store for the upcoming year?
JR: I have tons of surprises for the upcoming year…..I might not know them all yet, but they are coming! That’s how 2015 rolled. On a serious level though, yes. We do have some surprises. Growing bigger and better daily with new opportunities all around.
VDC: What do you like to do around town in your free time?
JR: Free time? What’s that? I honestly do not have any. I have put all I have and am into the success of the show and my brand. It’s so wonderful and [keeps me busy]. I do everything from produce, direct, choreograph, light, costume, tech, promo events, organize events, market, meetings, new meetings, the paperwork, contracts, payroll, etc..dance in the show nightly as well.
This year, I hope to start to build a team and grow within my company so I can concentrate on building and expanding the brand. But with my free time I like to support my friends, we have an amazing family of Vegas entertainers here and we are all working toward the same goals and we really do support each other and it’s so special to me. I also like to give back to the community. I feel very blessed and if I can help others in any way shape or form then I think it’s important. This community has supported me through thick and thin, so anything I can do in return, I am more than willing to help. I also love to cuddle with my puppies and spend time with my family and friends. My new year’s resolution is to enjoy the ride and all the wonderful people and things in my life.
VDC: How will you be celebrating your anniversary?
JR: I had a private one-year surprise celebration for just my cast, parents and the few people that have been with me since day one of this journey on January 4th at Sky Las Vegas penthouse, which was our official one year anniversary. A friend of mine gave me a wonderful opportunity to have a gathering and thought is was important to truly have an intimate moment with my team. We are [publicly] celebrating “SEXXY’s” one-year anniversary on January 26th with a performance and VIP party at our home at Westgate; it will be an extravagant event. The entire Westgate family is truly all amazing and I am so proud and honored to call that the home of “SEXXY.”
VDC: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
JR: Dreams do come true. Never underestimate yourself and keep fighting the fight. I am so thankful to my family and my “soul family.” I am where I am because people believed in me and I stand proud because I have an amazing group that gives me their heart and soul. Looking forward to the future. Live, laugh and love… dance is passion, passion is life!