The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 06, 1988, Page 10&11, Image 10

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Slinky dancers strip down—almost
By Trevor McArthur
Staff Reporter
The band winds down its regular
set with a good slow metal ballad,
then thanks the audience for all its
kindnessandenthusiasm, makinga
bunch of pandering; jokes about
how well they’ve neard Lincoln
residents can party.
But now it’s time for the main
event of the evening, for which
many have assembled — the
Wednesday night Royal Grove
dance contest.
According to Royal Grove owner
Tommy Jelsma, the Grove has been
hosting some sort of dance contest
for about 30 years, with occasional
short periods of interruption.
Altnough the present incarna
tion of the dance contest largely
revolves around dancers removing
most of their clothing, Jelsma sai<£
he does not enjoy the title “amateur
strip night" because the contest is
not limited to amateurs. Profes
sional dancers also participate, he
said. And the emphasis is on danc
ing, not stripping. Real strip danc
ing, done by professionals, can be
found at the Grove every morning
and late afternoon.
But the contest does give partici
pants a chance to bare it all (almost)
in front of his or her peers.
Now back to the event, live and
in progress.
The men’s category is first. It
takes a few minutes of chiding from
the band before grey-haired Bill, a
regular customer wearing Fruit of
the Looms with a blue stripe, gets
up, serenaded with a cover of Guns
and Roses’ hit “Sweet Child O’
Contestants are easier to come
by after this. Mark strips to his jeans.
Then Royal Grove and dance con
test regular “Big Al" comes forward.
The band’s singer makes cracks
about what his nickname really
refers to. But his glasses and beer
belly give him an almost modest
appearance, until the pants come
off and the blue bikini briefs with a
red mouth and tongue appear.
The next dancer — who just
moved here from California — is
“Hollywood,” the first p in with
much real dancing ability. After him
comes Pete, who seems to be a
professional, complete with tear
away pants.
At one point during Pete's rou
tine, while fraternizing with the
front row of the audience, Jelsma is
forced to intrude. An audience
member had been reaching out for
closer contact, against state law
which says audiences cannot have
physical contact with dancers. Tip-*
ping is allowed, as long as the
money is handed and not placed in
the dancer’s costume.
Three more dancers perform
“Sweet Child O’ Mine” is played
again for one, and another grooves
to a heavy metal version of Wild
Cherry’s disco classic “Play That
Funky Music." Then it’s time for
Local boy Bill wins first place and
the top cash prize wo^cheers that
nearly bring the houWtiown. Pete
is next with a fair amount of noise
made for him, but not like the racket
in Bill’s honor.
In a post-game interview, “Big
Al," a Lincoln resident, said he has
been coming out to dance in the
contest for about five years and
began decorating his underwear
about three years ago when some
friends gave him what he described
as an elephant G-string.
“Big Al" says he likes the dance
contest asa friendly event, agreeing
with others that the sexual element
is not the most important.
• “Sometimes you do get sex after
wards, but it just depends upon the
crowd that night," Ai said.
James Wiluts, a Grove regular
who said so far he has resisted
temptations to get up and dance,
described the participants as a mix
between regular patrons and new
comers. Even daytime dancers are
coming out to mix with the evening
crowd, Willils said.
“It’s a real good time,” Willits
said. “A lot of people come out."
As soon as the men are clothed
and clear the floor it’s time for the
women. Again it takes a while to
find contestants. The lead singer of
the band goes up to the rail around
the dance floor to talk some cour
age into likely candidates.
Finally Dawn comes forward
Previously she had led the cheering
section for Bill. When she reaches
the stage she almost backs out. But
once the music begins, the modesty
corner off with her overshirt. Dawn
also helps to demonstrate the sec
ond important law of nude dancing
in Nebraska.
According to Jelsma, present law
requires any dancer to have on at
least enough garments to cover the
pubic region and buttocks, a re
quirement which Dawn’s under
garments do not appear to meet.
Any time she starts to pull down her
black trousers, Jelsma cautions her
to keep them on.
Dancers who flagrantly violate
slate statutes can be disqualified or
expelled from the establishment.
But Dawn complies with the
law, just going to the fringe of the
Then Angela is coaxed and
pulled up front. Initially she seems
even more modest and embar
rassed, but when the band starts
beating out those jungle rhythms,
she starts her routine.
It continues. Kelly is another
good dancer, Another apparent
professional, Ambrosia, goes out to
the tune or, once more, sweet
Child of Mine."
Six gals do routines. For one last
look in determining the best before
judging, they all hit the dance floor
at once.
Tonight Angela walks away with
top honors.
A little while after the excite- |
ment, the evening’s first female
dancer, Dawn Wesley, agreed to
Wesely, a Lincoln resident and 1
Grove regular, said she does not
dance very often, but this was not *
her first time. She said exposing
herself to a crowd of strangers does
not worry her.
“The on! concern is what I have
to take at work the next day,"
Wesely said. “Sometimes I’ve got
ten a little ribbing and that kind of
thing. But otherwise I figure it’s my
decision — it’s what I want to do.
I’m my own person ..."
Wesely said the dance contest
was not really a competition.
"It’s fun," she said. ... A lot of the
girls dance down at clubs and that
kind of thing, professionally. And
since this is labeled ‘amateur night,’
I feel like I’m more of an amateur
than the other girls that get out
"So I’m more or less out there just
having a good time, showing my
friends that, ‘hey, I’m free-spirited’
and stuff. And a lot of people take
that kind of like, ‘Oh God. This girl
is really easy.’ But my really good I
friends know that I’m not like that." |
Jelsma said the contest is open to 1
any patron of the bar who does not
want it to be labeled an amateur
"It has never been. I wouldn’t t
want to be in the position of saying
‘You’re an amateur, you’re not,’" ;
Jelsma said.
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