The style of go-go dancing first appeared in the 1960s and rapidly spread all over the world. We are going to visit Almaty, Kazakhstan trying to find out if it is art or a kind of striptease.
This is Camilla, a go-go dancer. She is 20. Camilla moved from Tashkent to Almaty five years ago. Father abandoned their family when she was a baby. But her mother has always been the best. Camilla has been dancing since being born. In adolescence she realized it was something she wants to do for all her life.
Her day begins at 11 a.m. from the nourishing breakfast. She knows she has to eat healthy food to stay fit.
Friday is the day when she always has a lot of work.
Camilla lives with her boyfriend, DJ in the club.
They met in the club. Camila was the first to come and talk, he just had to invite her on a date.
They say goodbye to each other, both have a lot of work to do.
He usually takes a taxi, sometimes takes mom’s car. Today he will work in three clubs. It’s quite expensive to get from one club to another by taxi at night.
Camilla cares about her body.
She comes to the gym three times a week. Her main exercise is jogging.
Camilla is going to the club to arrange a casting for the vacancy of a go-go dancer.
She tries to give moral support to each girl.
Sergey is an art director of the club. He says that appearance and body control are the main criteria for go-go dancers. These girls are the main attraction in the club.
Sveta and Marina work together, in a couple. They have been dancing for eight years, two years – in this sphere. They are both students. The girls realize they can dance go-go only till certain age, but they want to work in the sphere of dancing when their go-go careers are over.
Many people decry go-go, they believe that dancers can sell their bodies too. Some people really try, they ask the club administration for this.
Dinara is twenty three. She has recently come to Almaty from Astrakhan. She says that go-go is considered to be just a dance in Astrakhan while in Almaty she has been offered money for sex.
Azat is also a dancer. He worked in strip bars and now works in a theme bar of Almaty.
Camilla is home. She didn’t have time to cook anything so she eats noodles.
She will work in three clubs today. For each performance she has a special outfit. Her clothes are mainly made to order.
In 2008-2009 go-go was very popular in Kazakhstan, they could earn 100 dollars for fifteen minutes of work. They could get 300 dollars per night. Now they are paid 5000-10000 tenges (33-66 USD) for three performances.
Sometimes it’s quite unpleasant for Denis to see how other men molest hisgirlfriend. But he cannot fight, cannot make noise.
Today they are going to work in different clubs.
She starts at 10:30 p.m. in Staut bar. She will dance here twice to live music. Each dance is going to last fifteen minutes. Her performance costs 5 000 tenges (33 dollars).
Night clubs do not exist without dancing girls. People like watching them.
They need to have security near the stage. Drunk people often try to give money to the girls, treat them to drinks.
The first club stays behind. She has to hurry up, each late arrival is punished by a fine.
She has to change in a hurry.
Today they are celebrating opening of the new club.
They drink a bit of champagne backstage. It will help to relax and cheer up.
Camilla has been smoking for three years and is not going to give up.
Only one club remains.
In the third bar the guests do a bit more than they are allowed.
When she sees that people want to contact her she turns the situation into a dance battle and, thus, protects herself.
The colleague of Camilla used to dance in Turkey. She felt like a star there, was given flowers, people treated her like an artist. She was respected.
She was offered to go to Singapore but chose to study in Almaty.
She likes her job and even gets support from her mother.
In daytime Camilla teaches plastic strip. She doesn’t know how long she will dance in clubs but it cannot last forever anyway.
She has a dream to open her own dance school.
Doctors forbade her to dance because of the pain in her joints, but she does anyway. Because this is what she lives for.
She wants to believe that people will learn to treat go-go dancing in a different way, and go-go girls won’t be treated as striptease dancers or call-girls.
Location: Almaty, Kazakhstan