Interview by Keith Waits
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Jenna Bain is a dancer, choreographer, and costume designer with the Va Va Vixens, having first performed with the company in 2013. She is also a Lead Fitness Trainer for 9Round Fitness. Va Va ExtraVaganza with Va Va Vixens is scheduled for June 12-13, 1920 at Art Sanctuary.
1. What is the next performance you are/were scheduled to do?
We are still planning to put on a show in June, Va Va Extravaganza. Fingers crossed life will be a bit more back to normal then. If not then we’ll be back to make a sexy entrance into the spooky season late September/early October.
2. When did you first know you wanted to be a dancer?
I have been dancing since I was a child, about 10 years old. To be honest, I only started dancing because I didn’t make the middle school dance team. I thought dance would be the next best thing. I’m sure glad I did. For burlesque, some other dance friends in high school and I went to see the movie Burlesque and I was obsessed and said I wanted to do that. It’s funny, though, because that movie is nothing like real burlesque.
3. Where did you train?
As a child, I trained in southern Indiana at a dance team studio. As an adult, I bounced around to other studios to learn ballroom, theater, hip-hop, etc. I’d say my training as an adult has been my favorite. I have so many more options.
4. Va Va Vixens is a heady mix of burlesque sexuality and other adult motifs. Do you ever find that people don’t take it seriously as dance?
It is Dance. It just is. We use our bodies to create movement and stories to music. If that isn’t Dance then I don’t know what is. Also, because we convey more adult commentary in some of our numbers, I feel it is easier for us to actually have more serious moments that can REALLY make a statement, I feel we are taken seriously. I’ve never felt looked down upon or scoffed at for what I do. Especially since many of us have a lot of training under our belts.
5. Do you do your own choreography?
We do our own choreography, yes. Solos are done by the soloist and any group routine usually has 1 or 2 people in charge of the choreography for that number. The amount of choreography that any of us needs to come up with just depends on the show.
6. Don’t you also do your own costumes?
I personally do my own costuming unless it is a group number that needs to be uniform. In the past when I had much more free time I would do much more costuming for other numbers as well. But, nowadays I can barely squeeze in time to finish my own costumes, unfortunately. I love costuming and wish I could do more.
7. What has been your most difficult role or performance?
In the Vixens, I think my most difficult role would have been in a number I choreographed when I was pretty new to the group. I had begun learning more about myself and my sexuality. I had been dating a girl and this became my inspiration for a number I had created in whatever show that was coming up. She broke up with me and sat front row during that show a day later. I had to pretend that everything was okay and portray this woman who was happily in love with another woman on stage. Yeah, that sucked.
8. Besides Louisville, what other places have you worked?
Not sure if you mean any job or just dance. Dancing, I’ve danced in Ohio, New York, and California. As for day jobs, it’s just been Louisville and South Korea.
9. If you weren’t a Vixen, what would you want to be doing?
I can’t even imagine my life without the Vixens! I’d probably be doing some job that would make me miserable. The friends and connections I have made through the Vixens have really helped me become the person I want to be and open my life up to so many new experiences.
10. Do you have a non-theatre job, and if so, are you able to do it right now?
I am currently the manager of a small gym around town. Unfortunately, all gyms are closed in the area and I have been out of work since March 15. I WISH I had a theatre job!
11. What music have you been listening to?
I have such a wide range of music I listen to. Off the top of my head, I think lately it’s been Greyhaven, Citizen, Idle Threat, and a bunch of others. My Spotify playlists change weekly depending on my mood.
12. What book is on your bedside table?
I don’t currently have a book on my nightstand. Am I doing this quarantine thing wrong?
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, where he is Managing Editor of their Artebella blog, and host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX-FM 97.1/ ARTxFM.com. But spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in LEO Weekly, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.