A Peek Behind the 'Tease' of Male Exotic Dancers
Backstage, preparing for their performances, male exotic dancers like those at the new Adonis L.A. primp, pump, and shave to look their best and meet the expectations of their free-spending patrons. Once they're onstage, the teasing and interest in patrons are all part of a performance mostly for financial gain, on occasion developing into a bond with their admirers.
In his show Tease, photographer Jan Rattia delves into the glamorous nighttime fantasy of a possible sexual fulfillment that is rarely satisfied. The collection of photographs explores issues of masculinity, outward expression, and defining emotions through the portraiture of male dancers.
Rattia interviewed, befriended, and photographed many dancers across the country — Atlanta, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Washington, D.C. — to expose the individual men behind these fantasies. "I wanted to give a voice to a subculture that is heavily prejudged," he says. Rattia discovered that each of the dancers has a story, which in a lot of cases is quite mundane. He was surprised to find that many are heterosexual and carry on unrelated careers, although their patrons rarely know the truth. Adopted stage names and personae help maintain anonymity as well as the charged fantasy.
Tease closes today at Philadelphia's Bridgette Mayer Gallery, but you can see more of Rattia's images on the following pages.