Strip-magazine caught up with Dinah Might a Canadian living in London who has had an extensive career both as a top Feature artist in North America and as a Burlesque performer also in Europe.
Eye colour: green
Nationality: Canadian living in London, England
Tyke: How long have you been dancing?
I started working in strip clubs as a ‘Feature Entertainer’ in Vancouver, Canada 20 years ago. Yes, you read that right! I am a veteran of this business and I call myself a ‘Stripper for Life’. I adore the art of striptease and the lifestyle that goes along with it. I believe I have found my calling in life, but it took me a long time to come to this realization. First, I had to retire from the business for many years before I came back.
Tyke: Can you explain what a Feature Entertainer is?
A ‘Feature’ is the headliner of the week in a strip club. Her name and her elaborate stage shows draw more customers into the club and therefore she commands a high show price (paid by the club). She may be a porn star, men’s magazine model, a major striptease contest winner and/or a girl who puts on a big show (like myself). In North America a Feature will usually work one club from Monday to Saturday and then travel on Sunday to the next city on her tour. Features are not as common anymore in Canada and America, but we still do exist and I’ve been touring Canada for the past 2 summers. The main reason some clubs don’t book features as often is because lap-dancing has taken over.
Tyke: How would you describe your style of show?
I mix theatre, comedy and steamy striptease all in one. I like to throw a lot of unexpected twists and turns into my shows so the audience never knows what to expect next. In the movie ‘Gypsy’, there is a famous line, ‘you gotta have a gimmick’ and I certainly have that in all my shows. I am also a drama-trained actress and have acted professionally so I use these skills on stage to take my audience on a journey. I also always want to turn my audience on – after all they are watching a lady take off her clothes! My most requested shows are my Cat Burglar, French Maid, Pussy Extravaganza, Burlesque and Peacock.
Tyke: What is your favourite show to perform?
My Cat burglar Show is by far my favourite to perform. It earned me 2nd runner-up at the Miss Nude Canada Contest this year. I won’t give away all the details because I want you to come see it in person. In a nutshell, it is a theatrical tale of a cat burglar who gets busted. I am wearing a skin tight bright pink cat suit and carrying a swarovski encrusted money bag as I burgle, but then I trip the burglar alarm! To get out of this situation I dramatically strip out of my cat suit, but police sirens ring and I get busted! Through clever costume changes that advance the story, the cat burglar then becomes the prisoner, who then escapes out of jail to become the cat burglar again! As the cat burglar I perform a steamy boa routine with a pink fluffy boa to the pink panther theme tune. The crowd always goes crazy for this show. Hope you can see it one day in person.
Tyke: What do you think of the European striptease industry at present?
I would like to see Features in more strip clubs here. Many Europeans don’t even know what a ‘Feature’ is because most of the strip clubs in Europe are lap-dancing clubs rather than show clubs. Lap-dancers earn their money by selling one-to-one dances to the customers and they go on stage usually for a quick set in simple outfits. In these clubs the stage is more or less sideshow or background entertainment rather than being the main attraction. I’m not saying one form of stripping is better than the other; I just feel Europe is missing out on the full strip club experience.
In Europe, I’ve performed at large events/exhibitions, burlesque supper clubs/festivals/theatres, fetish clubs/balls, posh private functions and even at a gay wedding! Yet, I still have not Featured in a strip club in Europe. Most of my European gigs are in the Burlesque scene and I travel home to Canada to Feature there. Currently, I’m working with a European agent who plans to let the clubs know how Features can draw more customers in.
Tyke: How do your shows differ when you Feature in a Strip Club or perform at a Burlesque Event?
The main obvious difference is that I get completely nude in a strip club (rather than down to pasties and a g-string). Also, my shows are longer in time, I include a floorshow and I use the pole in strip clubs. Those 3 additional elements make my show a whole lot steamier. Other than those differences my show is close to being the same in both worlds.
Tyke: How would you describe your style of pole dancing?
My pole dancing style can be described as sexy, sensual and horny. I like to focus on arousing my audience when I pole
dance. I do not do any pole acrobatics (i.e. I do not climb, hand upside down or do any strength moves etc), but I certainly do use the pole. The trend in pole dancing seems to be all about the impressive strength moves or circus tricks these days. Those performers are highly skilled and strong and I do enjoy watching them perform, but with my style I’m simply trying to keep the ‘stripper’ part of pole dancing alive.
Tyke: What is the part of stripping you enjoy most?
I have to pick just one? I can’t do that! First I love the nightlife, the neon signs and stripper poles! I like that my job’s ‘uniform’ requires me to put on the highest heels and false eyelashes. Swarovski crystals and ostrich feathers on my costumes simply turn me on. Dressing up is fun. A great audience who is into my show can have me buzzing for days. I love meeting my fans after my show and signing their posters or their breasts, chests and other body parts. I love the multi-step long process of creating shows. I love it all.
Tyke: What are the best compliments you have ever received?
I’ve had people tell me they have never seen shows like mine in strip clubs and that I’ve changed their entire perception of strippers. They also thank me for making them laugh with the comedy elements I use in my shows. In England I had a Burlesque Promoter tell me I was the only girl in the scene who combined comedy and sexy together successfully. I even had one girl stand and scream hysterically for my entire 18-minute show – that reminded me of Beatle mania. How lucky am I! All of those compliments are why I do what I do. I love my job and I love performing for my fans.
Tyke: What advice would you give to a new girl starting out now?
Find your own style of performing. Do something different. It’s Ok to have influences, but don’t think to yourself, ‘I have to do ‘this’ ‘that’ way in order to be successful’.
Tyke: How did you come to first start stripping?
During my start in the business (in the early 1990’s) Vancouver was the Mecca of striptease. This was an era in strip clubs when the shows on stage were amazing. Lap-dancing/table dancing was not allowed in Western and Central Canada so the focus was only on the stage and all of the girls knew how to entertain a packed club. All the girls (not just the Feature) would do 18-minute shows and about 4 shows per day (Monday – Saturday) and then each performer would work at a different club the following week. Every girl was paid a different price-per-show by the club and booked into a club by her agency. The lower paid girls would go on at slower times, with the higher paid and the Feature going on at the peak times. All of the girls were always after a raise, but it took a lot to rise up through the ranks.
I had spent a lot of time at the top clubs in Vancouver (The Cecil and Drake) watching strippers and I was in awe of their beauty, stage presence and sparkly costumes. I knew I wanted to be part of this industry. I dreamed of earning a high show price and dancing in expensive fancy costumes. I was also drawn to the rock and roll lifestyle.
It took me many months before reached my goal. First, I started at the very bottom – at the worst clubs where they either sent naïve unpolished rookies to gain stage experience or the washed up dancers (who were not good enough for the main clubs anymore). At the nastiest club in Vancouver (The Cobalt) the cockroaches in the dressing room and the crack addicts down the hall made for a colourful week, but believe it or not, all of those addicts were actually really nice and never gave us any trouble. The cockroaches were another story. I would shake all of my costumes nightly to make sure I didn’t bring any new friends home. ‘Character building’ is what they call certain life experiences and I had my share of that during this time period.
My show price at that time was very low, so I decided to go on the road where the show prices were slightly higher so I could save to buy the things I needed to reach Feature status. I quickly saved my money and bought flat sequined costumes (the top standard then) and paid for a boob job (boobs – the bigger the better – were another way to get a raise). That was in 1993.
As a Feature I defined a unique style for my shows by incorporating comedy into my theme shows and always including sexy/steamy/horny elements. I travelled all over Western and Central Canada and also internationally to Japan, Macau, Iceland and Mexico. That is how it all started for me and I look fondly back at my experiences during the 1990’s. I then retired for many years as the stigma of my job by society was starting to chip away at me.
A lot has changed in Vancouver. Back when I started there were about 30 strip clubs in the Vancouver area and most had Features weekly, but now there are about 4 left and only 1 of those sometimes has Features. I live in London now, but I still go back to visit this beautiful city.
Tyke: Has anybody been a major influence on your career?
Striptease is far more accepted now by society than it was in the 90’s, thanks partly to the Burlesque revival taken mainstream by Dita Von Tease. I admire her for being a trailblazer. She started her career as a Feature in strip clubs in 1993 in America and rather than conforming to what the typical stripper looked like she cultivated her unique identity which now has her as an A-lister in Hollywood. No one from the 90’s strip club scene could ever have seen a future for striptease outside of the clubs and into the mainstream. Dita is an example of someone who was living in the moment and trying her best at her chosen profession. Then one thing led to another and now she is a superstar.
I obviously have a completely different style than her, but that is what she advises – to cultivate a unique identity rather than copying others. Smart lady. She has not only influenced my career by taking strip shows mainstream, but every other girl who performs in strip clubs or in the Burlesque scene. I may never have come out of retirement if it wasn’t for her influence on the industry.
As far as being influenced by a style of performer, I don’t have any because my goal is to always have my own unique style. Although, I do admire many girls who have one-of-a-kind shows and perform with true commitment to their craft. I love watching other strippers as much as I love performing. My favourite strip show in the entire world is the Crazy Horse in Paris.
Tyke: How long do you intend to continue?
Dinah Might: Well I’m a “Stripper for Life” (SFL) so you figure it out. 😉
Tyke: Where can we see you work?
Add me on Twitter and Facebook for announcements.
Tyke: How could we book you?
firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll direct you to the appropriate agent depending on which country the booking is in.
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