Danny Kopelson, who started the event with Keith Elliot while he worked at TPAN, said the event was envisioned as a sexier version of Dance For Life and was modeled after the New York event Broadway Bares, which features the New York theater community in various stages of undress.
Kopelson said the show has been a fitting fundraiser for TPAN.
“It fits really well with TPAN,” Kopelson said. “Some HIV/AIDS organizations wouldn’t want it but TPAN is very sex positive and very frank about sex and sexual issues with regards to HIV, which is important.”
TPAN CEO Bill Farrand said that the show’s embracing of sexuality complements the organization’s mission.
“It’s very a important part of our values,” Farrand said, “that people are sexual beings and deserve to express that feely and without judgment. This event is a really good showcase for that.”
Murray Hill, a performance artist from New York, hosted the show, which featured dance numbers, wrestling burlesque pieces, audience dance-offs and more than a little comedic relief.
Hill poked fun at this year’s sports theme.
“It’s kind of ironic that this is a gay cast and they’re doing a sports theme,” Hill said. “Let’s here it for assimilation.”
Hill also teased the big spenders in the VIP section.
“You poor people way up in the back there,” Hill said. “This is the VIP section. This is what it looks like to have health insurance.”
General admission tickets started at $50.
Kopelson said that as the show has grown, dancers have wanted to be in it again and again.
“After they experience it once, they want to be in it again. They know they’re not going to embarrass themselves in some sort of porn show. It’s a fun, classy evening of burlesque.”
Casey Bishop, a dancer in the show, said that state law limits how risqué the show can get.
“We can’t go down all the way,” Bishop said. “Males cannot show frontal nudity, but we go down to what the dance community would lovingly call the ‘cock sock,’ if you will, that basically just covers the genitalia. We’re pretty bare – as bare as we can go without breaking public nudity laws.”
The audience made more noise the closer to naked the dancers would get. Kenneth Kelly said his favorite part of the night was the choreographed wrestling piece.
Kelly, who came to see his boyfriend Craig Miller, one of the dancers in the show, said he was impressed with the diversity among the performers and audience.
“It was all different kinds of people creating something,” Kelly said. “A whole room full of people from very different experiences.”