Skip Costa’s “dancified rock concert,” Rock Stars NYC, opens at ShowWorld, a Times Square strip club, on July 3. Looking at his bleached-blond, spiky Billy Idol hair and gear (black sneakers, black muscle shirt, cutoffs), you almost believe Costa when he says, “I’ve always wanted to work with musicians and be a rock-and-roll dancer. This isn’t strictly for a dance audience. It’s also for music fans who won’t expect the dance we put with rock. If the audience wants to get up and dance with the ensemble, I say let ’em.”
Costa’s call for dancers and bands drew 75 dancers and over 100 demos. “I asked everyone, ‘Who wants to be a rock star?’ That was the first cut. Then I had to question who could let go. Strong ballet dancers wouldn’t fall on the floor or make gestures. Others were too theatrical.” It took him four months to whittle the group down to 20 ensemble dancers—plus nine from his Core Movement Project—and nine bands. The live music will range from acoustic folk and torch singing to hardcore rock and roll; modern, ballet, capoeira, and strip-club styles blend with ’80s glam-rock moves.
After Giuliani’s rampage, the infamous club was partly transformed into a theater space. The three-sided audience-level stage, peekaboo columns, ceiling TV monitors, and disco-fever wraparound couch influenced Costa’s choreography. “I couldn’t not use it; the history affects the dance”—particularly in Naked, in which three women perform wearing shimmering glitter. “It’s a tasteful nude,” Costa says. “There will be sheer partial dress, a step up from the old ShowWorld.”