Twenty Minutes to Take-Off

Twenty to take-off

Photo by Ann Marie Hayek
Leslie Wells uses feathers as props in her
burlesque show as Sophia Sanders watches and learns.

Pasties, six-inch platform heels, body paint, G-strings, tassels, feather boas. Dance Instruction, Costuming and Props. Cosmetic surgery. Show Format and Music. Pole Techniques.

This is not a lesson plan for the weak-hearted — or the bashful. The curriculum set forth by The Pure Talent Agency’s School of Dance in Clearwater is designed to make the most of a career in exotic dancing, which is generally a profitable but short-lived one. But the art of exotic dancing requires more than just the right music. I experienced this first hand when I sat in on the last day of class during the week of March 6.

Before the class started at a nearby dance school (whose name I was asked not to disclose), I met each of the girls and their feature instructor at The Pure Talent Agency off State Highway 60.

Ann Marie Hayek, the owner of The Pure Talent Agency, greets me in the hallway. I interviewed Hayek several weeks before, and she was as welcoming then as she is now. Hayek, wearing khakis and a white, three-quarter sleeved top with a sequined cursive “A” on the right shoulder, reminds me of a PTA mom with her dimpled smile and warm demeanor. This woman pitches the exotic dancer stereotype right out the window.

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