New fetish dance troupe Feterati Girls is the brainchild of Emma Alexa, a London fetish model and dancer known both in her own right and as the chief collaborator in Richard Knightly’s fetish photography projects.
The troupe, which makes its international debut in London on October 9 at the relaunch of Festival of Sins, is the realisation of an idea Emma had toyed with for a couple of years before finally finding the time in her busy life to do something about it.
It all came about, explains Emma, because of something that to her, as a professional dancer, was very obviously lacking from the world of fetish club performance: proper choreographed dance routines.
“Having always been connected to the world of nightclubs through dancing, I found it really odd going to fetish clubs and seeing very few professionally organised dance performances or even podium dancers. It was this that led me to think of recreating in fetish clubs what I’d done in vanilla clubs.
“Putting a performance group together felt like a natural progression from the dancing I was doing in the vanilla world. I’m also lucky that I had friends in the fetish scene who have professional dance training.
“They were the first girls I asked if they’d like to be involved — and when they heard of my plans they were very excited!”
For a lot of older British pervs, the phrase “fetish dance troupe” inevitably conjours up memories of Hot Gossip, the group created by the legendary Arlene Phillips that found major fame through erotic/pervy routines on Kenny Everett’s TV shows in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
So I felt obliged to ask if Hot Gossip, though obviously before Emma’s time, had been any kind of a reference point for the Feterati Girls concept.
“I guess you could liken us to Hot Gossip,” she replies, “although I didn’t know of them before starting Feterati Girls. I guess they were very modern for their time, which is what I want Feterati Girls to be: a modern image of fetish and fetish performance.
“My reference points for creating Feterati Girls were from the vanilla world, such as Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. I always tell people that my vision for the troupe is something like a fetish version of the Pussycat Dolls.
“Kink and fetish fashion has become very popular in the mainstream world over the last four or five years. What I want to demonstrate with the Feterati Girls’ performance style is that fetish can be fun, full of energy, glamorous and vibrant.
“I want to play on the growing popularity of kink in the vanilla world and reveal that we deviants don’t always inhabit a dark world full of odd people — as many TV shows would have you believe.
‘I want to play on the growing popularity of kink in the vanilla world and reveal that deviants don’t always inhabit a dark world full of odd people’
“I want us to be able to perform in vanilla settings and not scare the life out of people, but intrigue them… OK, maybe scare them just a little bit!”
An important element of the Feterati Girls concept is that the line-up is intended to be fluid so that, as Emma puts it, “as new talent is discovered, they can join us on our adventures”. She also explains that they will be much more than just dancers.
“While dancing is the core of who we are, I also wanted the girls to be ‘party starters’ — people who could go to a club and liven things up a little.
Performing doesn’t always mean ‘being on stage’ — it can mean creating a play scene in the dungeon or livening up the dance floor — so we always look out for girls who can bring a variety of talents to the group.”
Another key idea is that the girls themselves will always be “accessible”, never aloof. “We want to make people feel a part of our escapades and add to their social experiences,” Emma says.
“Hence all of the girls are bright, friendly and down-to-earth when you meet them for real — no matter what their photos may portray!”
The line-up for the girls’ Festival of Sins debut is Vanth, Ruby True, Emma and new girl Scarlet. Original member Kimberlicious, who was also set to perform, had to pull out of the rehearsals for personal reasons.
“But she will still be there to support us on the night,” Emma assures us, “and is still very much part of the troupe.” Scarlet, who’ll be dancing in her place, is, adds Emma, a “wonderful addition to the team — a petite girly with a big but sweet personality”.
Two more girls are waiting in the wings, though Ms Alexa won’t let slip who they are quite yet. And of course we mustn’t forget Diva, her Chihuahua and FG mascot.
“I don’t know of any other dance troupe that has a mascot,” she says. “She gets in the way quite a bit, but we love her!”
In a couple of months’ time the first Feterati Girls “international contingent” is due to launch under the direction of a Miami-based performer called Alex.
“She has an extensive background in the club world and performing and she is absolutely gorgeous!” says Emma. “Alex will be recruiting a selection of girls who ‘make the grade’… a job I know she’ll enjoy all too well!”
A brand new overseas contingent has also just been added in the form of Tina Timebalm, who’ll be recruiting a corps of Canadian Feterati Girls.
A new overseas contingent has just been added in the form of Tina Timebalm, who’ll be recruiting a corps of Canadian Feterati Girls
Both international divisions will be formally announced soon with pages and pix on the FG website.
So what can we expect from the Feterati Girls’ musical style? Are we talking strictly club-type dance beats, or might we see a wider range of genres that could offer more opportunities for creative expression?
“We will certainly use a mix of music genres that enable us to perform various dance styles,” Emma explains. “We already have ideas for shows and music that we’re itching to use and in future we’ll modify our performance to match the type of event and audience.
“Generally speaking though, our music will be fairly mainstream, and anything with a good beat or tune that the crowd will enjoy bouncing along to while they watch the show.”
And what about costumes? There’s a well-established affinity for latex within the troupe, so are we going to see some well-known designers’ creations stress-tested during FG shows?
“We’re doing a mix —working with some designers but also designing and making our own latex outfits,” is Emma’s reply. “One designer we love and will be working closely with is Lacing Lilith — the designs are all so unique.
“But other Feterati Girls favourites include Bondinage, HMSlatex, Hedony Design and Breathless. To be honest, we love them all and would love to be able to add to that list.
“But for now these are designers we feel bring something that fits well with our style — either sophistication or a sense of fun, or both.”
I remark to Emma that if she can put a really talented, professional dance troupe together from the fetish scene, there should be a much broader potential audience for it outside fetish, and I’m guessing that’s her eventual aim.
“You’re right,” she says. “My intention for Feterati Girls isn’t just to perform in fetish clubs. I most definitely want us to cross the border into the mainstream world. I absolutely see us performing at corporate events, or on television.
“Eventually I’d like us to host a Feterati club night of our own. We have plans to host events… but I won’t spill all the beans yet.”
As for the girls’ FoS debut on October 9, we can look forward to high energy, modern dance. “And,” warns Emma, “one of the girls could be in trouble on the night!” What could she mean?
Other appearances lined-up before Christmas include one at Club Rub, a couple at vanilla clubs that have asked FG to perform at their fetish-themed events, and a hosting- and-modelling gig at the opening of Switch Photography Studios.
Also in the pipeline is a performance at a large overseas event, details of which will be announced on the FG website as soon as they’re confirmed.
And one thing we can be sure of. As Kenny Everett’s famous TV character Cupid Stunt would have observed: it’s all in the best possible taste!
One thing we can be sure of. As Kenny Everett’s famous TV character Cupid Stunt would have observed: it’s all in the best possible taste!