Sassy by name, Sassy by nature, I write to explode the myths which surround the lapdancing profession - standing up for the clubs, the girls and the customers. Its not always drinking champagne and playing with my tits - it can be hassle, hustling and hangovers. At heart I'm just a regular twenty-something posh cockney living in London who likes taking her clothes off...
Working as a dancer abroad in a foreign clime can be an exotic and exciting time in a stripper’s career. But did you know that there are agencies which can find you jobs in upmarket and safe clubs, help with accommodation and generally give a helping hand? Nothing is worse than getting all excited about a trip only to arrive and find that your expectations are dashed – the job sucks, the commission is sky high, and even worse, you feel trapped. This is rare, but it does happen. Plus seeking advice can be a minefield – for such a large industry, there are regrettably few sites promoting lapdancing as a career choice (browse my posts, plus I’ve gathered the best of the rest in my links page)
I love a ‘strippers go on tour’ moment – those halycon days when a lapdancer sets off into the unknown, in search of funny money and guys who find her accent cute. I remember packing my suitcase with bikini’s for the beach and bikini’s for the club, and learning how to count in a different language – 1 dance, 20 dollars, 50 euros…. You arrive slightly scared and apprehensive, but leave with lots of new friends, ridiculous stories and the cash you’ve earnt. It’s an ideal way to see the world but without spending your savings in the process – plus you meet a lot of people!
I spoke to Janet, who runs the ‘The Best Dancer’s Agency‘, to get an insiders viewpoint on working as a lapdancer abroad.
You’ve been running the ‘Best Dancer’s Agency’ from Canada for the past 18 years, a country famed for its extravagant stage shows. How have you seen the stripclub industry change over this time?
Janet; 30 + years ago Canadian strip clubs were all about the “art of the tease.” NO ONE WAS ALLOWED to TOUCH US. We performed erotic skits on stage; dancers had props, glitzy costumes and unique displays of talent & pole tricks. Club owners paying “by the show” created a competitive environment, thus the need to outdo each other. Far less dancers have that ambitious edge today. Without the pay structure & security that comes with it many dancers seem unenthused; some are jaded by the system, by club owners, and customers and/or the business overall. Frequently I see strippers using the stage as a platform to seemingly drive home a negative statement, somewhat of a protest if you will; slathered in tats, thick black eye liner, street clothing, multiple facial piercings; a wimpy kick here & there, droning away to depressing grunge music; and the fact that there are club owners willing to entertain this type of show just makes me think they are desperate and willing to put up with anything so long as they don’t have to pay for it.
In a nutshell, what does your agency do, other than simply placing the dancers in touch with the clubs?
The world is littered with thousands of bad strip clubs, therefore it is a daunting task, but I research each & every club that contacts me. I’m looking for the cleanest clubs with safe conditions, in good locations, run by decent professionals who will not steal from the girls; this is what I am looking for to pass onto my exotic dancer members. Once I feel confident in my findings, I post the club; and I might add, even so, I am not always right on the mark. I write the HTML code and do most of the web changes myself; this allows me the freedom to remove clubs who refuse to pay and/or who may cause the girls & I grief. Unfortunately it is difficult to get all the stars to align, as there are many factors at play. There are also agencies out there duplicating Best Dancers format. Many do not do any research at all; some list fake strip clubs, fake cruise line jobs, even list clubs that are currently closed or that do not exist. I see false information listed on websites all the time.
My agency is 100% legit; I hope this brings the dancers some comfort and a sense of trust.
You must have seen a lot of potential recruits over the years. What kind of dancers do you attract and hire? Do different locations request different looks or skill sets eg; languages, pole tricks etc?
Every club owner (everywhere) wants the best of the best. Who can blame them? They want the top 20% of the world’s best earners, complete with elegant attire, confidence and a positive attitude; pole tricks, sales ability, usually English speaking- they want the whole shebang. A healthy and professional appearance is at the forefront of what I personally look for FIRST, but if the lady has a bad attitude, too many tattoos or facial piercings, drug problems, countless personal problems; lacks confidence and/or doesn’t get along with others, steals and/or escorts, then that doesn’t work for me. The girl next-door type, who smiles on stage, with a stable easygoing personality, who gets along with people, in general, is just perfect.
The managers are forever telling strippers in England to smile on stage! So, dancing is a great way to see the world. Do any dancers use your agency as a stepping stone to strip their way around the globe? Sure, a lot of dancers see it that way, but more often than not there are those who see travelling as a gateway to making MORE MONEY. I like to stress that no dancer should board the plane simply for “the money.” They have to want to “travel” for the sake of GROWING from the experience. If they bring that attitude then the chances are very good that they money will follow- not the other way around. If a dancer is grouchy, hating where she’s at, dancing strictly for the money, then I like to advise they consider another line of work and/or stay where they are.
I loved being a ‘stripper on tour’, jetting off for a few months here and there. Like you, I was an early lover of working in Japan, and saw how high profile police cases tainted the nightlife industry in the early 2000s. Do you think the Tokyo industry has recovered since then?
I believe you may be referring to the murders of Lucie Blackman and Carita Ridgway; and plethora of other hostesses and dancers who were drugged and raped by a wealthy Korean misfit, Joji Obara. That was an incredible era of tragedy; it blackened the entire country of Japan, not only Tokyo where the ladies were employed. The industry has never come bucking back. Quite the opposite; shortly thereafter anti-trafficking organizations and human rights activists descended upon Japan to urge stiffer immigration and deportation policies, and stricter hiring practices of Gajin (foreigners) in Japan. It’s never been the same since, and very few, if any, foreign hostesses and dancers work there now unless they are married to a Japanese national or going to school. Even so, most of the clubs you would remember have all but closed down; only a handful are still in business today.
You’re right – I went there for Easter and the only clubs I recognised were 7th Heaven and Tantra! I loved Japan, as it has very distinct seasons and a fascinating culture. So if I wanted to work a 90 day contract somewhere with cash and culture, where would you recommend?
I know what you mean as I love Japan too. I’ve been there over 30 times now, and lived there for just over a year. The culture and seasons really tug at my heartstrings. It was a life altering experience for me; made me open my eyes to the world around me. I am forever grateful for the experiences I had in Japan. Japan is a tough act to follow though. I recommend Paris, even though I cannot say much about the Parisian’s really, (a bit of snobbery there) but the history, fashion, culture and food is amazing; there are beautiful sights to see, as well the club is fairly busy year-round. One may even consider studying French while there, as it’s such a beautiful language. They can tell you off in French and yet it sounds as if they are asking you if you mind the added whipping cream stuffed into your éclair. I would also recommend Iceland. I’ve always wanted to go there even before I booked it. The money is very good in Iceland, due to the tourism, hydroelectric and fishing industries. The clubs are hostess style though, with private dances, no stage; nice people there, and again, beautiful natural sights to see. I always wanted to visit the thermal pools. It looks so healthy and relaxing. Pittsburgh is my most popular booking- money is always good; it’s just not really much of a cultural experience really, unless you’re into sports and fat burgers, that sort of thing.
I have been known to scoff a burger after Bikram yoga …. So if I’d read this, and was filled with wanderlust, what tips would you give to a girl who wanted to apply to your agency?
Have good promo. Smile. Don’t be a grouch. Don’t send me photos of your body with your head chopped off. Know where you want to go and why- research the city and country first. If you have a lot of problems at home deal with them first, then apply. Be mindful that just because it’s a place you want to travel to it doesn’t necessarily equate to being a good place to strip. For example: a lot of places in Spain are brothels; Greece is a wonderful place to visit, not the greatest place to be a stripper- sluggish economy. South Africa used to be really good money but then the club owners got greedy, and overbearing. Bottom line is, you can’t have it all, so be accepting of what is available and why, then alter your expectations somewhat. Take a holiday to wherever it is YOU WANT to visit, after your contract is over.
Finally, you used to be a dancer yourself. If you could choose any place, at any time, to be a stripper, where would it be?
If I could turn back the clock by 25 years, LOL, Japan is where I would be. If ever it were an option I’d probably like to have gone to Morocco or Qatar as well, they seem so exotic.
I’d be stripping my way around America, with nothing but some heels and a cute accent, but that’s a fantasy for now. Thanks Janet, you’ve been an absolute superstar! I’m sure lots of dancers are willing to travel for work, especially since the global economy slowed down, but are unsure how to go about it. It’s great that there is help like yours available.
If you would like to get in touch with Janet, check out her website, or just see where a jetsetting stripper could go, visit the The Best Dancer’s Agency website here. And if you have any stories of visiting or working at stripclubs abroad, drop me a line – I’d love to hear them!