Just when you think the nightlife is just fun and games, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into play before you see the final results. Meet Stephanie Hamden, a nightclub dancer in Miami. From having wardrobe malfunctions to even taking a trip to the hospital, nothing gets in the way of Stephanie’s dance career. She shares with City Never Sleeps a few interesting stories of what it’s like to be a dancer in some of Miami’s hottest nightclubs. See full interview below:
CNS: How do you prepare for a live performance?
Stephanie: Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Usually we begin with a prayer, first and foremost to give thanks for being blessed with the ability and opportunity to showcase our love for the art. Secondly, to wish our performers well and lots of luck!
CNS: Describe the energy you feel to have all eyes on you while you perform?
Stephanie: Being on stage is like having an affair with hundreds if not thousands. You leave yourself vulnerable for the world to see. Dance is an unspoken language of a soul. I do not feel as though we have souls rather we are souls, temporarily occupying this human vessel; this life force for a temporary time. The energy flows freely and ecstatic through my blood and into my limbs, the feeling is like no other. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.. There is an awakening that is translated through you into action, every time my toes touch the floor I am transformed into the epitome of love and life.
CNS: Majority of entertainment gigs require minimal clothing, what are your thoughts on a dancer’s uniform?
Stephanie: Your attire has everything to do with the way in which you move. At times I feel a bit scantily clad, lacking mystery where focus should remain. Less is not necessarily more. Although sexuality has a way of moving an audience, its been a way of the past ever since the day and age burlesque exploded onto the scene. You are an artist it’s okay to shock people.
CNS: What are some benefits of working in the nightlife industry?
Stephanie: All access to some of the most desired clubs, hotels, lounges, restaurants, and events Miami has to offer. Being able to see almost any DJ front row, center is pretty special. I feel extremely lucky to have personally crossed paths with a great number of legendary musicians as well as up and coming artists from every corner of the world.
CNS: Describe some of your most memorable experiences while dancing/performing?
Stephanie: I was in training and bootcamp to be a Miami Marlins dancer and the day before finals I landed myself in the hospital. Dr.’s diagnosed me with pulmonary embolisms (severe blood clots in each of my lungs) they said the chances of me surviving and being able to dance again were slim to none. Shortly after being released from the hospital I was asked to dance for Avicii, I just couldn’t say no-I got through my night relentlessly. It’s now almost two years later and against all odds I am back at it again. It confirmed that I’m meant to be doing this.
CNS: Are there any other projects you are working on besides dance? If so, what?
Stephanie: I can’t give away too many secrets! Although..I may add published author to my resume by the end of this year.
CNS: Does your dancing career affect your personal life, relationship wise? If so, how?
Stephanie: It can if you let it. It takes a very unique and open person to appreciate the art of what I do. One that is confidently trusting in me as well as themselves. This industry can be a very trying one, especially in Miami constantly surrounded by a melting pot of exquisite and beautiful individuals. I am as dedicated to my craft as I would be if I were in a relationship.
CNS: What was your worst experience as a dancer?
Stephanie: Somewhere between wardrobe malfunctions, hair mishaps, and falling through a stage..haha I think I’ve just about done it all. I once opened up for a Ciara and Omarion concert and within the first five minutes my top busted open and I was exposed in front of thousands.
CNS: Do you have a favorite club to perform at? Which one and why?
Stephanie: Mansion, Miami. It is practically home to me, I have become a resident dancer there, working with some of the most talented and inspiring group of performance artists and entrepreneurs there are. Consistently thriving in a positive atmosphere surrounded by the finest in lighting, visual, and sound.
CNS: What is your all time favorite song to dance to?
Stephanie: All time? Hmmm that’s a tough one. My taste in music is always in constant shuffle but currently I have been addicted to “Latch”, by Disclosure.
Interviewed by Lynnette Marte