The women of Fantasy create excitement, onstage and off
By Matt Kelemen
Photography by Christopher DeVargas
Styling by Nicole Chandler
Makeup by Sarah Barker and Zee Clemente
There is no other all-female dance production in Las Vegas like Fantasy. The graceful ladies taking the stage at Luxor are part of an evolution in dance moves dating back five decades, from the rock and soul concert films of the ’60s through iconic ’80s TV show Solid Gold to the Entertainment Capital of the World. Not only do they carry the flag for state-of-the-art sensual choreography—in various states of undress—but they’re as engaged in the community as the showgirls of Las Vegas’ classic era were.
On New Year’s Eve, they led the early countdown for East Coasters at Luxor’s Tacos & Tequila. If you attended National Finals Rodeo, chances are you saw some Fantasy cowgirls at a meet-and-greet inside the Hard Rock Hotel. If you donned a red suit for the annual Las Vegas Santa Run, it’s likely you witnessed the ladies help fight off the early morning chill with a pulse-quickening live performance. Fantasy’s 2013 Barely Bejeweled Calendar provided plenty of opportunities for interaction with the public at personal appearances, which the cast is used to, since they sign autographs and pose for pictures with audience members after every show.
You might have caught Ashton, Mariah, Soolin and calendar cover girl Tracey with the gang at LAX nightclub getting Barely Bejeweled into the right hands while visiting Las Vegas during the last year. Or you might have heard the powerhouse pipes of Fantasy’s dynamic diva Lorena Peril when she delivered the national anthem before the Juan Manuel Márquez/Manny Pacquiao fight last month. The prestigious offer to sing came as no surprise to Fantasy fans, who keep coming back to see how director Anita Mann has refined the show.
Headliner Peril has been tying the showroom together with her high-energy performances for years now, with no sign of slowing down. Mann says that while the feeling of fun that infuses the Fantasy brand doesn’t change, the energy of the show evolves with the singer. Peril co-wrote the opening song “Dance on Me,” which was choreographed by cast members Dar and Sonya. Her vocal stylings on “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” and “Roxanne” are some of the most unforgettable parts of the show.
Other refinements include a salsa-flavored number choreographed by Cuban-native Yesi, and new moves for the ensemble during country-themed “Blue Jeans” segment, also courtesy of Dar and Sonya. Longtime Fantasy dancer Amber also has a custom-choreographed segment interspersed between routines devised by Cris Judd, Gustavo Vargas and Mann herself.
Mann, who worked with Cher as well as Elvis and the Monkees before becoming the vision behind the hugely popular Solid Gold dancers, is arguably the most choreography-conscious show business veteran working on the Las Vegas Strip, trusting in the talent she chooses, to collaborate in the art she loves so much. It’s that vision that helped make Fantasy a solid gold success.
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