We've all seen them. They're gorgeous, perfectly unattainable beauties with grace, poise, and loads of talent.
They're the go-go dancers of Ultra Music Festival, and they're dressed in fantastic costumes, floating from the rafters, and charming the crowd from lofty pedestals flanked by fire and lasers.
But who are these women? Turns out, they're just like the rest of us -- except they're gorgeous and paid to dance at Ultra. We sat down with a few of the ladies from the main stage and Carl Cox mega-structure to pull back the veil of mystery by asking about their jobs, their day-to-day lives, and what kind of guys (or girls) they go for.
It's a long, hard road to the Ultra stage, and most of these women have studied dance since before most of us could dress ourselves. They're highly versatile performers, with experience in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, flamenco, cheerleading, gymnastics, even aerial ballet.
"In general, I've been dancing since I was 7," says C.J. Jones, 25. "Ballet is mostly my base, and then for the past eight years or so, I've been doing hip-hop. That's really where my heart and soul is. I think it's a nice eclectic way to bring everything together."
Katie Kansas is the mastermind who assembles the dancing team. Each girl is expected to bring their own flair to the stage. And although there are some choreographed moments where point ballet or duets are performed, most of the fun comes when they get to merge their dance skills and get lost in the music.
"It's funny, you kind of get into a zone," says 25-year-old Jessie Wedell. "You can feel the energy from the crowd, but you don't really pay attention. It's just a moment."
"This is my first time, and I'm so happy that Katie Kansas is having us," says Amanda Topaz, 34, who performed as an aerial dancer at the Carl Cox tent. "It's really fun working with her, because she's so innovative, and she lets us contribute creatively. It's just great."
What's it like floating above thousands of people at the longest-running dance music festival in America?
"It feels amazing, especially with the audience here," Topaz gushes. "You're lifted up about 20 feet, and you're just above this really energetic crowd. When I am in the harness and I'm just moving with the DJ, I definitely get lost in it, doing flips or whatever. When I'm up on there on the cube with my partner, we definitely are very focused and are very conscious of what we're doing."
Of course, just because it's fun, that doesn't mean it's easy.
"When I first get up there, it's sheer panic," said Kelly Rika, 22. "I'm just terrified like, 'What do I look like? What am I doing?' Then you get into it, you start feeling the music, move with it. You always play to the cameras and make sure that you look good, but it's also about doing something that you love."
Don't get fooled, the dancers aren't one-dimensional beings. They've got hobbies and passions just like the rest of us, far beyond their immediate world of dance and entertainment and Ultra.
"Recently, I've been very into architecture, ceilings, and mega yachts," Topaz said. "I've hung from a bunch of different ceilings in my career, and I've seen a lot of really beautiful spaces, so I'm really starting to get into architecture."
Alice Reyc, 28, was born in Brazil but moved to New York City to continue her exploration of performance.
"I do musical theater," Reyc said. "I graduated in performing arts. That used to be my job in Brazil. I did Hairspray, that's why New York was the option. Besides studying in dance, I'm studying musical theater for Broadway shows."
"I love playing basketball," Jones said. "I've played basketball all my life, and I love going to the beach. I'm a really big beach bum."
And when it comes to love, the dancers' preferences are just as varied.
"I go for the intelligent quiet type. I'm a geek," Topaz said. "I'm really excited about going to Mars and getting space exploration back on track. I would love to train astronauts."
And ladies, you've got a shot, too.
"I love beautiful women inside and out," said Jones. "I do love beautiful men too. They're sexy to look at, but not really my style."
But whatever the preference, if you wan to date an Ultra go-go, you've got to be confident in yourself and come correct.
"Someone with a really awesome personality that's supportive of dancing. That's really hard to find in this industry because guys get really jealous and jealousy is a turn off," Wedell said.
"I think it's just the culture, our costumes are a lot of times looked down upon by certain people who don't look at performance ... It's stupid because all the dancers are really cool down to earth girls, they're not cheaters or anything like that. So it's stupid that they get that way."
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