Keeping Exotic Dance Alive with The Heavenly Spies
Reviewing Mata Hari– the newest Heavenly Spies show currently at Can Can- isn’t easy when no less than twenty kinetic performances are rolled out with barely a pause in between. Five primary dancers plus chanteuse Caela Bailey once again prove that when it comes to the realm of exotic dance-burlesque fusion, they’ve found- and mastered- a niche all their own.
The first of three brisk acts leaned heavily on exotics and belly dance, not so much on the espionage of the show’s namesake. Keeping with primarily belly dance felt a little restrictive at first, considering that the Spies’ strength is their range within a framework- combining heavy dance music with intensely physical routines stylistically all over the map. The girls can do the cancan or the caterpillar without missing a beat. You won’t find mock-surprise burlesque faces at a Heavenly Spies show, it’s genuine showgirl smiles at all times. They look like they’re having a ball, and they’re funny: Kimberly Galore jump-roped in a scarf she’d been wrapped in seconds before, beaming her 1000-watt smile throughout Stereo Total’s ridiculous track “I Am Naked”.
As always, the costumes changes were constant and glitzy- sequined harem pants, flouncy bloomers, full-body feather headdresses, and expanding multi-colored cone bras came and went song after song. I’m constantly amazed at how many pieces the ladies put together for a single performance. See for yourself:
Mata Hari runs through December 31. Advance tickets highly recommended; table seating is a must. Check out the sidebar at right for reservation info through Can Can Kitchen & Cabaret. *Special thanks to The Heavenly Spies and Chris Blakely for photo permissions).*