ROSANA CADE: My Big Sister Taught Me This Lapdance

Until last night, I have never had a lap dance.

Outside the converted warehouse I queue with other men and women, before being led to a small, tiled room with a black metal chair. As I sit down, the curtain closes behind me. Rosana Cade, a slim, white woman with long brown hair, is standing with her back to me wearing black underwear and leopard print high heels. She begins to speak…

“My big sister’s name is Amy.

My name is Rosana.

When I was growing up she was my idol.

When she used to lap dance she wore a long brown wig and called herself Rosanna.

My big sister taught me this lap dance.”

As she turns around, and looks at me for the first time, I feel a little sleazy. I expect this is how I have been conditioned to feel.

“Keep your hands where they are, and don’t touch me” she says in a low, sensual voice, coming close enough that I can feel her breath on my cheek. The music starts, and she begins to dance. With high heeled feet firmly planted, she rolls her hips back and forth and pushes her chest toward me. I really don’t know where to look. Her eyes are on my face, her expression pouty and confident. Should I smile appreciatively, or gaze upon her attractive body as she seems to want me to. I decide upon a mix of face and body, my expression as neutral as possible. So far I have thought more about myself than anything. This woman is seriously brave. Removing her panties, she rolls backward, revealing everything. Why do I feel so detached?

From my initial booking, to the precisely timed ushering in and out of the performance space, almost my entire experience was one of a transaction taking place. I say almost, because there was one moment where I felt a spark of genuine warmth, and a real connection to this woman. Today though, I wonder if even this moment was part of the act.

In the silence that follows the end of the music, Rosana turns her back to me once again, wearing only the high heels. She combs her fingers through her hair, slowly pulling it back to reveal a bare head, completely shaven. As she turns around again, her eyes meet mine, lit by what appears to be a genuine smile. She is truly beautiful. I smile back at her, almost forgetting myself for a moment.

In the next little bit of time, after Rosana removed her high heels and stood, sincerely naked before me, I felt the warmth of human connection, and a surge of happiness. I was still looking into her eyes when an assistant came through the curtain and tapped me on the shoulder. Behind the curtain, she handed me an MP3 player and headphones, instructing me to listen whilst looking through a peep hole, back into the performance space.

As I listened to Rosana’s sister, Amy, talk casually about her experiences working as a lap dancer, I watched Rosana prepare for the next ‘customer’. She dressed swiftly, sprayed body spray into her panties and replaced the long brown wig.

As a squinting voyeur behind the curtain, the reality of Rosana’s performance slowly dawned on me. She repeated the dance with pin sharp accuracy, right down to the little looks and gestures… right down to the naked smile. Was I just another punter, or did any of it mean anything? I will never know, and this tension is the key to the power of Rosana’s performance. Intense, courageous and disarming.

This performance was part of Us inc.’s curatorial programme for MPA-B 2013.

Rosana Cade

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