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Culture » Arts & Entertainment

Flesh Dance

The DABC says the Jazz Dancers aren’t “exotic”'but tell that to the guys leering at them.



Good news for Jazz fans: When the Nu Skin Jazz Dancers take the floor at the Delta Center for the home opener on Nov. 1, they will conceivably be able to perform their various gyrations within 3 feet of Jazz fans, and nobody can call it a lap dance.

The squad will be able to put the “skin” in Nu Skin again this season thanks to a late-September ruling by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. In its infinite wisdom, the DABC declared that the ladies of the DC floor are not to be placed in the same legal class as exotic dancers. That means Jazz Dancers can get within arm’s length of paying customers when sitting at the edge of the court waiting to perform or throwing free junk into the crowd'something strippers just aren’t allowed to do in Utah. Even better news for Jazz fans: They can still buy beer at games. This privilege might have been hampered if the DABC had ruled the other way, since the Beehive State gets touchy about liquor and nearly naked women being in too-close proximity.

The Jazz squad got some help at its hearing before state regulators from the Utah Hospitality Association, according to a Sept. 30 article in The Salt Lake Tribune. The article quoted association secretary Arne Mehr as stating that Jazz Dancers “do not offer lap dances, nor do they shimmy up and down a brass pole.” But take the brass pole out of the equation and it’s hard to see much difference between what’s going on at the Delta Center and what’s going on a few blocks further south on John Stockton Boulevard at Trails Gentlemen’s Club. In both cases, people are watching sports (either on a TV screen or live and in person), drinking beer and leering at women'in skimpy outfits in one case, and in almost nonexistent outfits in the other.

It’s easy to see why state regulators and others might get confused. Thanks to the pioneering work of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in the 1970s and the Laker Girls in the 1980s, dancers for professional sports teams have often straddled (no pun intended) the boundary line between what is termed “acceptable” entertainment and what gets called “soft-core porn.” Before the advent of the Internet'when real men who went out in public to buy their porn walked the earth'the joke was that the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue was for men too timid to buy porn. Today, it seems that watching dance squads at professional sporting events is for men too scared to be seen walking into a topless bar.

Men will never let on to what it is they are really noticing when the Jazz Dancers perform. If a wife or girlfriend is at the game, they will comment on the athleticism of the gals and praise their dancing abilities. They will say how great it is that they get the crowd worked up to cheer'despite the fact that the only thing the crowd is really doing is looking at them, and looking very intently in some cases. Incidentally, the Jazz also employ a team of male and female cheerleaders'the Dairy Farmers of Utah Stunt Team'that does things like throwing people in the air and getting the crowd to yell. In other words, they do actual cheerleader stuff.

So Jazz guys (or girls, as the case may be), sit back, sip your beer and enjoy the bumping and grinding that legally can take place less than 3 feet away from you this season. Just remember that your extra dollar bills should be spent on another fully legal beer, and not tucked into the uniforms of the ladies.

Geoff Griffin rarely watches the Jazz Dancers perform since he is usually placing calls to his bookie during timeouts.