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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 19, 2000)
Cole picks the songs for her set. She
started dancing only a few weeks ago
because of a shortage of dancers. She
originally worked at the club as a wait
Underneath it all, money
lures the women to dance
DANCERS from page 1
“We come to work and work long hours,” says Chanh
Sanmone Sotphrachith, who dances as Chyna. “We deal
with a lot of bullshit from the guys, but we get nice guys,
The club is open four days a week from 5 p.m. to 2
a.m. On Friday and Saturday, it doesn’t close until 4 a.m.
The women who work at Mataya’s and other clubs say
that they do it, in part, because they can make more
money dancing than at any other job.
The physical challenges or the job
and the lure of the performance also
bring women to this line of work,
though not many plan to dance for
more than a few years.
Lincoln’s adult entertainment has
been in the news this year since the City
Council passed an ordinance in
February banning sexual contact in
businesses. Liquor-serving businesses
were already covered by a similar rule.
Subsequent court challenges and a
revision of the city ordinance have gar
nered extensive coverage.
For the most part that publicity has
not changed what the dancers do,
though it may have thinned the crowds.
Chyna and Cole, whose name is
Collette Gray, say that dancing is physi
cally demanding - they have had the bruises to prove it.
“The first morning (after) I worked here I couldn’t get
out of bed,” Cole said.
Their duties include stage dancing about three times
an hour, visiting with and dancing for customers at
tables, and offering private dances. On an average night,
the woman will change clothes six times.
The women seemed to have fallen into their jobs at
the 5620 Comhusker Highway club.
Chyna came in with a friend who was applying to
dance seven months ago. But the other dancers coaxed
her on stage, and she got the job soon after.
“When I first came here I was stiff as a board,” says
“I’d probably make more
money as a dancer (than
in business), but I know it
would get old. ”
Mataya’s Babydolls dancer
Chyna, who loves music and dancing.
No one could describe Chyna as stiff now. She is one
of the most acrobatic dancers at Mataya’s. At the begin
ning of most three-song sets Chyna climbs to the top of
one of the stage’s three poles and slowly spins down
It took Chyna three to four weeks to get over being
nearly naked and two to three months to learn to dance.
Cole said that her mother jokingly suggested that she
could go dance at Mataya’s to resolve her money prob
lems. Cole started as a waitress a month ago and moved
up to dancing.
“I never thought that I’d be doing this,” said Cole, a
The women left behind entry-level jobs at a HyVee
grocery store and Sonic Drive-in for dancing.
On her days off one may not guess Cole is a dancer.
She said she dresses more like a tomboy off-stage.
Away from the stage Cole said she carefully arranges
the details of her life in a borderline obsessive-compul
“I’ve always been on stage for everyone. I’m always
out there for everyone to see," Cole said.
She said she enjoys being on stage because she does
n t have to worry about what people think.
Chyna said that she always goes home to see her fam
ily in Lexington on her days off. Most of her paycheck
goes to help support them. She keeps only enough to get
Chyna’s family immigrated from Thailand, and her
mother, who doesn’t approve of her daughter’s dancing,
doesn’t speak much English.
“I’m not going to dance forever, but I will for a couple
years. Then, with whatever money I have saved I am
going to school,” she said.
She hopes to go to business school.
“I’d probably make more money as a dancer, but I
know it would get old,” Chyna said.
Perhaps the greatest drawback of the job is the
lengthy hours, which can keep the dancers from meet
ing other people.
“I just want to meet a nice guy - at least one that does
n’t come in here regularly,” Chyna said.
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