It was my first time at Cassleman’s Bar & Venue, in downtown Denver. I was there to see Exhibit M, a show billed as “fantasies served up in word, song and dance.” Entering Cassleman’s was a bit like stepping back into a decade from the early 1900’s. That feeling lasted throughout the evening. Directed and choreographed by Jacob Mora, and produced by Two Sisters Productions, Exhibit M is incredibly reminiscent of prohibition era speakeasy entertainment, or at least my imagination of it.
One of my favorite aspects of the evening, because it was really a whole evening and not just a performance, were the two MC’s. Theo Wilson and Emily Saunar were the guides, story tellers, and singers of the evening. Sensual, mature, grounded, and full of soul, these two made the perfect lyrical guides to the stories of temptation, desire, and satisfaction that unfolded in front of us. Their talents as accomplished singers and performers shone throughout the show.
There were four primary male and four primary female dancers, and a few more that joined in here and there throughout the night. The show represented a pleasant variation of body types from both sexes, as well as personal and dance styles. Although almost everything was choreographed, each dancer was free to interpret the steps their own way, revealing their own characters and their own sensuality. The dominant atmosphere was definitely heterosexual, but there was a clear sexual openness and something for almost everyone.
The evening’s journey took us through both ensemble and paired, or couple dancing. Each dance either celebrated the joy and vitality of sensuality, sexuality, desire, and passion, or told an actual story of desire between two people, dancing the dance we all know so well. One story was actually a triangle at first, and included a dance off between two of the male dancers, one doing capoeira and one breaking. But don’t worry, it had a happy ending…
The dancing was hot, close, sexy, and hard; hip thrusts, chest pumping, booty shaking moves, with just enough sequins and just enough covered to stay on this side of the sensual / sleazy line. The men were shirtless, and the women wore sequined short shorts or leggings with shiny silver bra tops. Although all the dancers had skill, flexibility, and presence, the highlights were not technique, form, or any kind of mastery. What made the dancing so engaging and entertaining was the passion, energy, feeling, and expression. It’s a kind of dancing that’s infused with the bodies and sweat of real life.
Overall, the show exudes heat, passion, physical desires, and drives. It …. Wait, wait, wait. It’s called Exhibit M, right? Okay, so I should take my cue from the show itself and stick to ‘M’ words. The show has Mistresses, Men, Mademoiselles, and Madams; Magic, Magnificence, Muscles, and Music; Mischief, Moaning, and Merely the Mention of a Ménage a trois. If I had to name the main kind of dancing in the show, I would have to say it’s Jazz. There’s definitely some burlesque and cabaret thrown in there though. In fact, that’s a really good way to describe the evening: a modern burlesque cabaret.
Even though you just missed the July shows, Exhibit M is currently running one day a month, with two performances on that day. The upcoming dates are August 8 and September 12, with a 7:30pm and 10:00pm start each night, at Cassleman’s. Looking for a fun, adult, sexy, and classy evening out? This is it! (Caution: there is a wee bit of audience participation!)
Soma Feldmar: Soma Feldmar received her MFA from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School, and is now working on her PhD in English from SUNY Buffalo, with a focus on poetics. Other, her first book of poetry, was published in 2009 from Capilano University Editions (CUE Books). Soma’s work has also appeared in various online and print journals. Her doctoral dissertation is on poet Robin Blaser and how his work brings the poetic and the ethical together, remaining open to the other and the unknown. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Soma recently relocated to Denver, CO, after five and half years in Buffalo, NY. Overjoyed to be back in Colorado, she has started her own business, Seamoon Editing Services and joined the writing team of Presenting Denver. As a former ballet, jazz, and modern dance student, Soma looks forward to more opportunities to combine her love of dance and her love of writing.