Professional Go-go Dancers vs Professional Ballet Dancers

Professional Go-go Dancers vs Professional Ballet Dancers

The ten things that define and differentiate (if you can call them differences at all) ballerinas and go-go dancers. From the stage to the everyday life, from myths to realities, here's a little information on a group of people you probably know nothing about. So take it with you, and the next time someone tells you that go-go dancing isn't an art, you go ahead and send them my way.



 noun: a person who practices the art of classical ballet. Ballet is a formalized form of dance with its origins in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Etymology: Greek ballizo, meaning to "dance" or "jump around".


1. Ballerina's clothes tend to remain on.

Although there can be the occasional contemporary piece where the dancers are naked and lending their naturalness to art, ballet performances tend to keep their dancers clothed. Now, as far as off stage goes... there is a story of a certain San Francisco Ballet dancer happily exposing her nether parts to one of my fellow working go-gos as if she was attempting to start a game of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" that promptly got her escorted out of the club.

2. Ballerinas don't make squat.

Just because they have the posture of a queen and are applauded by thousands, doesn't mean they're rolling in the dollar. Unless you're a principal dancer in one of the top dance companies in the world (i.e. American Ballet Theater, Joffrey, Kirov, etc.), then you're most likely working a second job or sharing a tiny apartment with the rest of the company. The applause may support the ego, but it doesn't support a mortgage. 


3. Comfort shoes.

They speak for themselves.

4. They know how to party and love to show you how it's done.

  A scene from Center Stage

A scene from Center Stage

5. Their costumes can be very extravagant...


...but also as simple and form fitting as possible.


6. They love the dramatics.

Most ballets are based off of heart-wrenching dramatic stories of tragic love. From Swan Lake, La Sylphide, to even the Nutcracker where Clara finds her lovely prince to be only a mirage; ballet is full of drama. 


7. They have their bitches.


8. They can be the epitome of class...

Still, one of the most iconic images of "class" in the modern world, Miss Audrey Hepburn, acquired her grace and elegance from a lifetime of ballet training. 

...when they want to be.


9. Ballerinas are known for their powerful and beautiful bodies.


10. But they are also so much more.

Ballet continues to be performed and practiced in today's world because it is timelessly inspiring. It is the most ethereal that a human body can appear; the most beautiful. The stories and performances continue to transport the audience into a world more beautiful and dreamy than the present. There is a reason that dancers continue to put these bodies through such intense and painful training; because it's the only thing that makes them feel truly alive. 



noun: dancer who is employed to entertain or hype up the crowds at nightclubs or other events where music is played.

  Some of the first go-go dancers at the famous Hollywood Whiskey a GoGo.

Some of the first go-go dancers at the famous Hollywood Whiskey a GoGo.

Etymology: French a gogo, meaing "in abundance, galore," which in turn comes from an ancient French word la gogue, meaning "joy, happiness".

1. Go-go's keep their clothes on as well.

There's a common misconception that go-go dancers are the same as strippers and remove their clothing as part of their performance. If you ever see a girl in nothing but a g-string claiming to be a go-go, giggling her nips in front of you every time you sprinkle them with ones, then sorry to burst her bubble but she's a stripper. A go-go dancer may, on occasion, wear very little clothing, but she never removes any of it while onstage. This being said, I have nothing against strippers, but it is important to both professionals to differentiate for the sake of clarification.

2. We don't make near enough to do it for the money.

Although some companies do allow their dancers to work for tips, many go-gos, myself included, do not work for tips. We are usually paid a contracted amount or based on number of sets (20-30 minute segments on stage) performed. This keeps our work professional and presents us as an instillation of inspiration - part of the atmosphere - rather than just there for the audiences sexual amusements to deem as fit as they please. Most gigs are in the city, and the city is an expensive place to live. Multiple jobs is required.

  Jenna Marble, famous go-go dancer AND comedian showing off the "use" of her education.

Jenna Marble, famous go-go dancer AND comedian showing off the "use" of her education.

3. Comfort shoes.

From an array of boots and heels comes a complimentary array of ailments.

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4. Nobody parties like go-gos party!

  At Raymond Vineyards partying with "International Wine Entrepreneur" Jean-Charles Boisset.

At Raymond Vineyards partying with "International Wine Entrepreneur" Jean-Charles Boisset.

5. Our costumes can be extravagant...


...or artistically "simplistic"...


...OR BOTH!!!!!


6. We love our theatrics as well.

You don't have to ask us twice to get dressed up and into character. For us, it's Halloween every weekend, and we just LOVE playing up our attire. Whatever the theme, we're always the best dressed and in character. 


7. Oh yes, we have our bitches too.


8. Go-gos can be classy and glamorous...

A lot of us, including myself, have crossed over from the ballet world. Just because we've chosen to pursue a different style of dance doesn't mean we've forgotten what it means to be a dancer. 


...but sometimes, not so much.


9. We are also known for our bodies.


10. But that is not ALL that we are.

It's true, some go-gos are only on the block because they've been told they have a body that can make money; but for those of us that transport you when you look up in the wake of the DJ's entrancement, we're there because we too are entranced by the music and we want you to dance with us. Sure, it's nice to get compliments from the crowd, but our favorite compliment is when the entire dance floor is moving to the music with us; then we've done our job, then all the judgment and hard work is worth it.

  Yes, those are fully covering bottoms. But look at the energy in the room!

Yes, those are fully covering bottoms. But look at the energy in the room!

Every single dancer, whether they're a go-go dancer spinning on a box or a ballerina gliding across a stage, is doing it because they love it. We do not dance for your money or to appeal to your desires; we dance because we can't imagine ever stopping. But, we love it when you too, are moved and inspired by our passions and art. So thank you.

Sorry, I've been in Mexico. (So not really sorry)

Sorry, I've been in Mexico. (So not really sorry)

Rolling on a Dream Part VI

Rolling on a Dream Part VI