Las Vegas showgirls have always represented the colour and vibrance of Sin City and it’s no surprise people are both enamoured and curious about them at the same time. While most of the performers today weren’t even born when their parents (or grandparents) first encountered the retro-classic homage of the female grandeur, that didn’t stop them from carrying on the torch. Here are 13 interesting facts about Las Vegas showgirls that will definitely catch your attention.
1. Vegas showgirls are well-versed in ballet and other classical dance
Ever since Donn Arden & Margaret Kelley (aka Madame Bluebell) introduced Parisian-style nightclub shows to Vegas, it became clear that it was more than just the bump & grind. There weren’t just random performers wearing an outrageous-looking outfit. To achieve the graceful elegance required for this kind of spectacle, most of the girls have had to put together an amazing dance performance, with most of them displaying the skill and expertise that are required for classical ballet.
2. They make a living by performing
If you’ve ever wondered how Vegas showgirls make a living, well they basically do what they love to do. Some dancers are paid just as much as any other professional performing artists. This means they receive a solid paycheck, health insurance, and a 401k.
3. Vegas showgirls are really tall
The minimum height for a Vegas showgirl is 172cm, and that’s considered “short” for most cases. Tall dancers stand anywhere between 177cm to 188cm. Growing up, many of them will tell you that they stood taller than other dancers and that this is the first time that they’ve been surrounded by women that are just as (if not) taller than them.
4. They are incredibly fit
Wearing a rhinestone ostrich-equivalent on your head requires strength, balance, and coordination. Take note that these dancers wear showgirl costumes that weigh similarly to a kevlar vest, which means finishing a 90-minute show is basically like playing a basketball game for all four quarters.
5. They too make mistakes
Even though Las Vegas showgirls hone their craft, they aren’t immune to mistakes. Because they’re so tall, falling and tripping are a lot more common than you think. Typically the ladies are very quick to jump right up before anyone in the audience notices a bit of stumbling has occurred.
6. Wardrobe malfunctions are real
The dancers suffer from the occasional wardrobe malfunction which they gracefully and stealthily handle before exiting the stage.
7. Vegas girls go through boot camp
They may be experienced ballet performers, but there’s really nowhere else to learn a showgirl's skills and dance moves outside of Vegas. New dancers go through boot camp which lasts 3-4 weeks. This intense training ensures they can physically handle the load, not to mention memorising the thousand different dance steps and combinations.
8. They change costumes frequently
Vegas showgirls go through an average of around six to eight costume changes per show which is something that not too many people are aware of.
9. Not all showgirls go topless
Not every Vegas showgirl has breast-baring duties. Take for example Jubilee wherein 23 of the 45 female dancers go topless. Those who dare to go bare are commonly referred to as “dancing nudes,” (a combination of a female dancer and a showgirl), and performers who instead don spectacular rhinestone-studded sparkling brassieres are called female dancers or “Bluebells”.
10. What you’re staring at is real
The rigours that Vegas showgirls go through is what lends themselves to artificial enhancement (showgirls are already carrying 20-30 additional pounds in costume), so while your staring might or might not be natural, what you’re looking at is definitely real.
11. They don’t hang out often in the Strip
Back in the days of Vegas’ golden era (around the 1950s), some female dancers were expected to hang out with high rollers after a show. With showgirls, it was the exact opposite; they were placed on a pedestal, and it’s quite difficult to play arm-candy from a pedestal. These days, like most locals who make their livings on the Strip, simply don’t hang out where they work and you’re more likely to spot them on East Fremont at places like the Gold Spike and the Beauty Bar.
12. Vegas girls give backstage tours
Showgirls lead all-access, behind the scenes tours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4 pm. So if you’re looking for a backstage tour, try hitting the venue on weekdays since the weekends are always full.
13. Yes, vegas showgirls are considered artists as well
While the most outstanding art in Vegas might be Jerry Tarkanian sucking on a towel (yes, it does exist), but perhaps the most captivating is the extensive library of showgirl costume photographs and designs, some of which are currently on display as part of an archival exhibit that chronicles the Bluebell-led French entertainment invasion. Try to view some vintage showgirl art before watching the show live. You’ve most likely learned that while art exhibits are alluring, you’ll eventually come to the conclusion that the real thing is just 10x better.