Fantasy: Taking the right steps
The cast members of Fantasy are more dancers who are topless than topless dancers. Superlative skills are as essential as sultriness for the production, as evidenced nightly at the Luxor by the flawlessly executed moves of the Fantasy showgirls. They are a sisterhood that includes powerhouse vocalist/emcee Lorena Peril (and a brother in comedian Sean E. Cooper), but one that for a dancer to join requires an extensive training history and a distinct onstage charisma. It’s a coveted career position for a performing dancer in contemporary Las Vegas, one that’s hard to leave for long—if at all.
Soolin DeMaria has been with Fantasy for nearly eight of its 18 years of existence. She danced at a handful of burlesque shows, including working with Peril at Sin City Bad Girls before joining Fantasy. “This is the only show that I’ve been in this long,” says DeMaria. The San Francisco native says the dancers get together every summer for rehearsals, during which they change two or three numbers. “If you didn’t change the show up every year as dancers you’d be going out of your mind after seven years doing the exact same moves every night, but we do get to change numbers every year and that is a great perk for (working at) Fantasy, and for the customers.”
Like most of her coworkers, DeMaria works five or six nights per week and rotates through different roles in each number depending on which set of dancers is onstage. Some numbers are evergreen and will be familiar to returning audience members who recall the sensuous bedroom set or the dramatic dance moves that accompany Peril belting out the lyrics to “Roxanne.” The show added a new opening number and finale last year, choreographed by Mandy Moore (La La Land, Dancing With the Stars), with the former set to “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor and the latter led by Peril’s rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”
Steps for other newer numbers were designed by longtime show producer Anita Mann, who worked with choreographer Jennifer Gagliano on the steps that accompany “Lady Marmalade,” and with company manager Mariah Rivera on Rivera’s steamy solo turn, “You’re My Fantasy.”
Change helps minimize turnover and keeps the cast happy, which shows in the smiles that make complex or strenuous dance moves seem effortless. “Fantasy’s been like a family to me, and I know that all of the girls feel the same way,” says DeMaria. Outside of a performing sabbatical in New York City, she’s had little motivation to stray far from the show. “We are pretty close-knit, and it’s a hard show to leave. There’s no reason to. We switch it up—you don’t get bored.”
There’s one piece of advice DeMaria has for dancers who would aspire to be Fantasy showgirls, besides taking lots and lots of classes. “If your goal is specifically Vegas, definitely take heels class,” she says. “Because you’ll work those heels in Vegas.”
Luxor, 10:30 p.m. daily, $39-$59 plus tax and fee, 18+. 702.262.4400