Get yer garters, girls! Boomtown dance troupe recruiting

Erin Handy
By Erin Handy
February 9th, 2011

They count amongst their number a doctor, several teachers, and a well-known local artist. But these lovely Rossland ladies have something rather less serious in common. They’ve got legs (and swirling skirts) and know how to use ’em.

Do you?

The Boomtown Garter Girls, the Golden City’s long-lived cancan troupe, is currently recruiting for new members. No technical dance background is required, its leaders advise – just bring your energy and be willing to commit for a bit.   “And a little coordination is an asset!”   The Garter Girls were born in 1980, the brainchild of Lyndsay Fraser, a Rosslander who spent time in Dawson City dancing in ‘Diamond Tooth Gerties’ variety show. In September, they celebrated 30 incredible years. Over that time, they’ve performed in Japan, The Netherlands, and Germany and at countless local fundraisers and corporate functions.   For many years, they were a fixture at Winter Carnival and Golden City Days, and many will remember the popular Red Feather Saloon events featuring music, dancing and sold-out seating.   The Garter Girls’ show has evolved over the years. Beyond cancan, it now incorporates audience participation, skits and song, a lesson learned on the road, where show length and language barriers helped push the act in new directions.   “You need a breath between dances,” explained veteran dancer Cynthia Neil, who joined in 1998.   Neil counts the Germany tour as among the best experiences of her life. There, the troupe found that less singing and more acting helped the show be a hit, due to language issues.   “That’s the fun part. [The show] should be always changing. And everyone’s got something to contribute.”   Along with dancing, the group provides opportunities in marketing, fundraising, skit-writing, costuming and choreography.   They’re in a brief lull now, with new routines in the works and a few Girls out of commission due to pregnancy – something of an occupational hazard in the troupe, which tends to attract locals in their late twenties and thirties. It’s nothing new. When Dawna Kavanagh joined, she was 27.
“They pointed to my legs and said, ‘We need those!’” she remembered. “The top question was, ‘Do you plan on getting pregnant in the next few years?’ There have been many cancan babies born in the last years.”   Kavanaugh did, indeed, end up pregnant, but found the troupe great motivation to get out of the house and back in shape after the baby arrived. She’s made some fast friends there over the years.   “The friendship: for me, that’s been huge,” she said, a sentiment quickly seconded by Neil.   “It’s a social group, a chance to get some exercise, be creative and to perform. . . . And the group thing, it’s magical.”   The troupe currently consists of 8-10 regular members; the ideal number is about 15. But get there quick – they’ve currently got good new costumes for 12.   To join, or just check the Girls out, show up at the studio above the Eagles hall on Columbia at 7:40 PM Wednesday nights – enter from the back lane – or contact Cynthia Neil.

Categories: Arts and Culture

Other News Stories