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                             “ Community is important, particularly now when we are more likely to text our friends than catch up with them in person.”

One of my closest friends, Morgan, (we bonded in High School because we were the only two people in our coastal hometown who understood that fashion did not involve just wearing board shorts), has been MIA lately. I have not seen him in over a month due to retail scheduling conflicts, but we have texted every single day. Yet I would still say I missed him. Despite how much I am attached to my iPhone, I still crave personal interaction.

Most of us crave community. As a generation we are constantly socialising through group chats, text messages and even the occasional poke on Facebook, (always made by an Aunty who has recently created an account, and has no idea what facebook etiquette requires.) Still according to research, the loneliest generation is Generation Z, followed by Generation Y.  A lot of Sky Sirens’ students fall under the umbrella of one of these generations. Despite the fact we can argue with our housemate about who did the washing up via instant messenger anytime of the day, people are craving real connections more than ever. Last night, at Nightcap, I realised why Sky Sirens has such an impact on its students. It is because Katia has created a community that celebrates all the babes that attend classes and allows for people to feel like they are a part of something.

Nightcap is an opportunity for all the babes enrolled at Sky Sirens to showcase the routines they’ve been learning throughout the term.  As an adult, we do not often get to showcase the things we’ve learnt, (unless it’s at a performance review at work, with a very serious and professional boss, and it’s always on the day you have a coffee stain on your shirt).  So I was pretty excited to see what everyone had learned and to see my class perform. I was impressed with the turnout; the Sky Sirens studio was crammed with performers and supportive friends, families and lovers.  Considering Nightcap was on a Sunday night, the turnout showed how much this night means to everyone involved. My Sunday nights are usually restricted to doing laundry, and catching up on very important television shows, like “The Real Housewives.”

 Nightcap provided me with the opportunity to meet and connect with the people I have seen on the Sky Sirens Facebook page, on Instagram, and in the studio. I had never been to a Nightcap before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I knew there was going to be alcohol provided, (and that’s usually the reason I attend weddings) so I was there. Originally I had wanted to perform at Nightcap, but I wasn’t able to this time because I RSVP’d to perform too late. I hope this serves as a reminder to everyone to RSVP as soon as possible, to avoid disappointment. There are a limited number of performance spaces for each level, so the RSVP system helps the staff organize the performance list. Missing out wasn’t as disappointing as when I was told I was not allowed to wear leopard print shoes to work, but it was still pretty upsetting. Still, it has motivated me to be on top of it for next term. I wish paying my credit card bill late gave me the same motivation.

 I came to Nightcap because I wanted to go and support my class and also, like I said, there was free booze. My friend Bella came with me, wearing a fun new shade of lipstick, to support our mutual friend Maddie. Maddie and I had completed our term of Lyra classes together. My hot tip for Nightcap is to bring a friend. It’s about a three-hour show, so it’s nice to have someone to share looks of amazement with at the moves some babes pull off, and to chat to while new routines get set up. Bella also kept getting my drink refilled for me, while I got to stay seated, and it’s always fun? to have someone around that wants to serve you.

  Bella and I arrived at quarter-to-six and there was already a reasonably long line. So I would recommend giving yourself about half an hour to get into the venue, as lots of people come to support, meaning there is a little bit of waiting around. Still, the line went pretty fast, and I always enjoy checking out what everyone is wearing because I see myself as a young Joan Rivers, (without the successful television show or iconic stand up career.) We showed our tickets and I got a stamp on my hand, in the shape of a kiss, which I thought looked really cute.  I hate those ugly club stamps that you can’t wash off for days, and don’t go with any of my outfits. I am stressed that everyone else can wash these stamps off, and I just do not know how to shower.

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Bella and I quickly located where the champagne was, and took our seats. Porcelain Alice (who I follow on Instagram along with thousands of other admirers,) is a local Burlesque artist and all-round inspirational powerhouse, and was our host for the night.  She also teaches at Sky Sirens and has the ability to hold anyone’s attention, not just because she is beautiful, (and her outfits are what all my showgirl dreams are made of) but because she is so clever and witty. Porcelain Alice encouraged everyone in the audience to clap and cheer for the performers, and also reminded us to tell any staff if we spilled a drink. This is the kind of reminder I need, because my first reaction is to run away from any problem.

“Every babe that went out and performed, whether within a group or by themselves, was amazing to watch.”

Obviously there were varying levels of skill, and some babes seemed more nervous than others, but what struck me the most was how encouraging everyone was to each other. When you turn up to your one little class every week, you don’t know what the other classes are like, their group dynamic, and if everyone gets along. What I loved seeing were the smiles that were shared, the hugs I witnessed, and the cheering. When babes did not have any routines to perform, they would come and stand out near the audience and watch everyone else, and they were always cheering the loudest for their fellow Sirens. It was nice to see everyone supporting each other, and Nightcap creates a night where everyone has the chance to do so.

Nightcap showed off all the classes that Sky Sirens provides, including Burlesque, Lyra and Pole Dancing. It was a great opportunity to get a glimpse into what the other classes are like, and the skills that are involved. I learned that doing Lyra could translate into other classes. Arm strength is also very important in Pole Dancing, so some of the moves didn’t seem so foreign to me, although still fairly terrifying. I won’t pretend I now feel like an expert in any way though. I save my pretending for when I have to act interested in my conservative, middle-aged co-workers’ political opinions.

Time went really fast, despite the fact we were sitting down for about three hours. There was one ten minute interval, but for us that mostly included my friend taking her boyfriend to the bathrooms as he was terrified to go alone, and me trying to corner any person serving food. Time went quickly because every performance was different, there were always new babes showing off what they had learned and everyone clapped as loudly for the last group as they did for the first. Partly this was thanks to Porcelain Alice, and introduced all the acts with enthusiasm and wit. I would now like her to introduce me at job interviews, as I feel it would give me the leg up I need.  Katia also performed, which was exciting because while I’ve seen glimpses of her talents on Instagram videos, but I’ve never seen her do a full performance.  A friend of mine once told me the best thing in the world is seeing someone doing what they are best at, and with Katia that is absolutely the case.  

A personal highlight for me was seeing my Lyra class do so incredibly well, particularly my friend Maddie. It was so nice to see her nail moves that she’d after class, expressing her worries that she may never be able to learn them. I felt like a proud dance mum. The only thing missing from my new persona is was that my hair did not have stripey blonde streaks in it. I could remember when my Lyra class had first been shown the routine and how impossible it had seemed. Now, everyone in the class did it effortlessly. Well, mostly effortlessly.

After everyone had performed, Nightcap was officially over and the guests, instructors and performers were thanked. It finished around nine, and although it had started at six, still nobody rushed out. People stayed to mingle, chat and celebrate. So many different babes, taking time to congratulate and compliment each other. There were a lot of people taking photos together, utilizing the beautiful flamingo wallpaper that I wish was in my bedroom.

 “The thing that I loved the most about Nightcap is that it’s not just a night for people to show off what they’ve learned during their term, it’s a chance for the Sky Sirens’ community to get together.”

I’m not sure when everyone left, but I left about half an hour after Nightcap officially ended, and the venue was still packed with people. The thing that makes Nightcap so special is that it brings different people together and gives them a space to be themselves. It’s a night for the whole Sky Sirens’ community. A community that celebrates themselves and each other. Sky Sirens’ could easily just be a studio that offers classes; instead Sky Siren’s offers a place for all people to feel safe and fabulous, myself included.

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