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the story of Dance Naked Creative

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 The summer of 2005, I toured my brand new solo show

GGG:Dominatrix for Dummies
to fringe festivals across Canada.  I had written an account of my brief attempt to become a professional dominatrix in New York City (despite zero experience in kink), married it to a story about discovering Gabrielle Roth and ecstatic dance, and bookended it with a seminar on Radical Self Lust (complete with audience participation). 

When I filled out the application for my first ever fringe (Toronto- notoriously challenging!), I was confronted by the question

“company name”__________. 

I felt into that question.  Yes, Eleanor O'Brien Productions would have been more accurate. It was just me, myself, and I, but I wanted to give the company a name that held the essence  of the kind of art I had to offer.

I wanted to create art that liberates people from shame, and I wanted to create art that invokes a sense of joy.

Dance Naked Productions painted that picture for me. Freedom, joy, liberation! I imagined people dancing naked on a beach in the sunset.

All bodies,

all shapes,

free from judgment,

full of life.

Sex-Positive Theater, with a Happy Ending!


I wrote it in that blank space with enormous satisfaction at having found the perfect metaphor for the kind of theater I hoped to create.  

 

Ha! ha ha ha!  

 

Turns out, many people hear Dance Naked and get a very different picture. 

I've had audience members inquire when the stripper would be coming, expectations of burlesque dancers and lap dances. 
Do we at least GET NAKED?

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The truth is, sometimes we do get
NAKED

But more often, we are telling

STORIES

Stories of joy, of pleasure, of discovery. 

 

Stories that are vulnerable, and ecstatic, and hopeful.

It’s a complicated metaphor, but one I still believe in. 

For me Dance Naked still conjures a vision of
body sovereignty,

freedom of erotic expression, 
and the need for stories that share the joy as well as the challenge of being a sexual being and living in a body. 

In 2021, I changed the name from Dance Naked Productions to Dance Naked Creative ( the censorship noose around anything sexual was beginning to tighten, and I was taken down off many social media sites). I wanted a refresh, and losing my Instagram and Youtube accounts required a new start. I felt there was so much more to the company than productions, (and as this was mid pandemic, there were precarious few of them).  I found myself inspired to create experiences; weekend workshops and creativity classes, storytelling events, coaching and directing other performers, and all that felt contained by the moniker Dance Naked Creative.

While I love sharing my own stories, my deepest satisfaction comes from creating spaces where other people feel safe tapping into their own erotic genius. 

 

And yes, I should have changed the name to something safer - like Dance Embodied or Tantra Theater - but I’m stubborn. 

 

Despite the challenges of a name like Dance Naked, I still resonate with the image of freedom and joy in the body, and I strive to make theater that feels joyful.

GGG: Dominatrix for Dummies

was my first solo show, and served as entré into the world of sex-positive theatre and the universe that is kink. I joined FetLife in 2008, originally as a place to advertise my show, and discovered a brand-new-to-me ecosystem. BDSM, LGBTQ, ENM, and a slew of other letters opened my mind to so many possibilities.

GGG was only the beginning.  In 2009, a brand new festival began in Portland called Fertile Ground, and indeed it was.  I decided to put out the call for actresses to join me in devising a show about desire, specifically women's sexual fantasies.  Originally, I'd planned to theatricalize the book My Secret Garden,  but the cast had other ideas. They wanted to create original material, and that is how the first Inviting Desire was born.

Inviting Desire: A Theatrical Aphrodisiac

was performed at a venue now called Portland Playhouse. It was still very much a converted church at that time, and one of the monologues was performed in the baptismal font. I played the emcee in that production, and we danced on the line of propriety.


There was a piece about calling your lover daddy, a piece about being raped by a Minotaur  (half in Greek!), a piece about being pleasured by your LMT.  In one piece we waxed rhapsodic about Obama and his Big Black Cock. This was a show about desire, and it was not politically correct, but it was hugely popular. We sold out every night. The theater was packed with people returning with friends, with lovers.

We established a practice that became a staple  of all Dance Naked productions. We touched the audience (with their consent). We had a hair pulling demo that the cast then offered to the crowd and invited them to practice on each other. The resulting moans and laughter convinced us that we had tapped into something primal, something only live theater can do - a physical  interaction between the performer and the audience. Future productions of Inviting Desire all contained an element of the touch principle. 

That original production shrunk down to four performers and became

Inviting Desire: Lubricate Your Libido

I bought an old RV and we took it on tour. We crossed Canada with our edgy, erotic, scrappy band of feminist theatre, doing our best to close the orgasm gap. Winnipeg may never be the same.

In 2010, I convened a brand new cast, and we devised a show based on the premise of PERMISSION.  

Inviting Desire: Pleasure, Permission, Possibility

focused on what is possible when you give yourself permission, and what happens when we give EACH OTHER permission,

(in fact each audience member got a tab of homeopathic ecstasy as they entered the theater).

 

We created a ritual - a breathing exercise where we invited the audience to breathe in while the cast breathed out (i. e. breath fucking).  They were instructed to pop that tab of ecstasy (in reality, an un-altered Altoid) and allow themselves to undo the top button, melt into their seat, hold on to their genitals, and let themselves be transported.

What unfolded was a series of scenes that explored masturbation, opening up about STIs, fantasizing about your step-uncle, fucking the nanny, and electing Dan Savage president.

 

It was quite subversive. 

 

But again, we'd struck a chord. People were hungry for that kind of theater, the kind of theater we were offering - funny, feminist, and hot af.  


In 2012, I found myself fascinated with the book Sex at Dawn and how much it helped me in my own explorations of polyamory.

The next Inviting Desire:
The Dawn of Sex

focused on the challenges and possibilities of both ethical non monogamy and monogamous pair bonding.  We explored the freedom of choice and the seduction of safety. Stories ran the gamut from slut-embracing to what it means to be ace (which was the first time many people had heard of that concept)  One of my favorite scenes was that of a female guru based on Amma the hugging guru - but our guru produced spontaneous orgasms.

This was the first show to feature a cuddle pit for the audience which was full night after night.  We looked for ways to help the audience connect, introducing games at intermission and applying  temporary tattoos. 

 

After that iteration, I stopped producing shows for a while to focus on creating workshops designed to help other people develop their own erotic material.  I developed a program called

Seducing the Muse

where participants played a variety of sexed-up theater games and NSFW writing promts to inspire the erotic imagination. The results were evenings of student performances that blew people away with the power in revealing your sexual self. 

Around this time I toured GGG:Dominatrix for Dummies to a festival in Santa Cruz, California, where I  met Misha Bonaventure (who later went on to lead the adult play party group the Bonobos), and who introduced me to a show called What is Erotic? 

The concept was fairly simple. Anyone could audition for the production. They brought with them their own idea for a piece, and the director shaped the selections into a cohesive evening of theater. The result seemed to be an electric evening of turn-on for all assembled. I asked if I could license the name and was blessed with permission.

What is Erotic?

was my first time directing male-bodied people. I had been eager to include men, though I was nervous about the prospect. I did struggle with some of them. Having grown up in the theater, I assumed people knew that the director was the one in charge (even if she happens to be female). I found not all men are comfortable with that dynamic and wanted to challenge it. Often.

 “What is Erotic?” resurrects within us both our deepest, darkest secrets and wildest pleasures as one in the same…It was Riveting. - Ambit magazine

But the show was a success, and I deeply appreciated many of the men in the cast, bearing their souls, grieving genital mutilation (all of them had been circumcised) sharing intimate details of their secret arousals. I found having both men and women sharing their stories onstage made for a rich stew of intimacy.  

Revelations.png

I used a similar format with the show

Revelations

The title came from a house party started by a friend where he invited everyone who wished to do an artful strip tease for the room. 

 

From improvised beginnings grew an annual event that included highly choreographed numbers, video contributions, and many courageous debuts.  It lasted until he had a kid, and then went on permanent hiatus.  I asked my friend if I could pick up the lapsed tradition and was given his blessing. Revelations featured some soul bearing performances where the vulnerable became synonymous with erotic

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Around 2013 I was struggling in my marriage. We'd only been married two years at that time, but our sex life had deteriorated.  We had an open marriage, though, so I sought out sex elsewhere. I was surprised by the fact that I fell in love with the man who was supposed to be my weekend lover.

My second solo show,

Lust & Marriage

grew out of that dilemma. In it I explored what it meant to love someone with your whole heart, and no longer want to have sex with them. If ours was a companionship marriage, and I only had sex with my lover, was I really polyamorous

I toured that show across Canada in 2015, with a few stops in the US (including two shows in a tent at Burning Man to a half dozen people). I later brought it to Europe, with shows in London, Brussels and Amsterdam.

Throughout this time, I continued develop a modality around helping people tell their stories, as well as devising ways to get people to talk about sex in general. I developed
 

Come Play!

A night of games that  promised both sexy stories and silliness.

 

I began hosting

Stand Up Smut

an erotic open mic, to give people a place to share their erotic genius (which continues to this day).