Last Thursday, Tao Nightclub awarded $10,000 to the best local, semi-professional go-go dancer in the fourth annual Tao A-Go-Go competition. I was honored to assist in judging, as approximately 60 women took turns vying for the crowd’s attention while they fought to outdo one another in costume, skill and charisma.
Our view from the judging pen was especially entertaining, since the dancers who were awaiting their turn gathered near us to practice their moves and take notes from other contestants. As with many contests of this nature, a range of skill levels compete, but much of the real talent comes later on in the competition. The crowd favorites conveyed a sense of physical confidence and awareness while still showing off actual go-go skills.
Actor Jamie Kennedy was very supportive of the dancers as he emceed the event. “Be nice to them,” he cautioned the audience, “it isn’t easy to get up here and do this.” Deliberations were intense among our judging panel, which also included Kennedy’s girlfriend, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Five finalists were selected for the main-room finals, after which the $10,000 prize was awarded to Vanity cocktail server Grace Atencio, who plans to use the money to pay bills and her mortgage. Good girl.