After drinking beer and wine, guests gathered in big groups whirl around the dancers amid continuously moving colorful light beams and loud music.
This is the common atmosphere at most bars and beer clubs in major cities in Vietnam, which are popular at night.
The job of those sexy dancers is not only to lure guests into dancing but also to ‘entertain’ the eyes of guests with their sexy bodies.
Dancers do not work individually for bars and beer clubs but belong to dance groups, the owners of which have contracts with bars regarding the performance time and the number of dancers they need.
Light job, heavy salary
This is a favorite job of young and beautiful girls since it is well paid even though they do not need to possess good academic certificates.
And the demand for dancers is also increasing thanks to the opening of more bars and beer clubs.
Catching the ‘need of the market,’ some people have set up their own music groups and recruited beautiful women to train them to become dancers.
Dancers are paid by their group owners and are at the disposal of the owners to assign them to any bar or beer club.
The common standards required for a dancer to be recruited include a cute face and appearance and a height of at least 1.6 meters. Those who do not know how to dance will be trained by the owners.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper journalists recently disguised themselves to enter a group and learn the ‘true trade’ behind the colorful lights onstage.
After reading a recruitment advertisement in a newspaper, the journalists contacted N., an owner and trainer of a music group in Ho Chi Minh City. N. was previously a professional dancer.
Meeting for the first time at her class, N. glanced at the women’s bodies and decided to allow the undercover journalists to join her training.
Each training session lasted around an hour and N. mainly trained five basic exercises, for example the rhythmic physical movements to music.
The exercises were repeated many times.
At the end of the session, N. told her dancers, “I need you to train diligently so you each will earn a minimum salary of VND9 million [US$414] a month, excluding tips from guests.
“On average you will perform at one or two bars a night and get paid VND700,000 [$32] each.
“I will cover the cost for the performance uniform.”
At the second training session with N., more girls were recruited in. Some did not know how to dance while others worked as disc jockeys (DJs) and danced well.
Quyen, a 20-year-old woman from Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta, and her aunt, 22, were two of the newcomers. A student joined the class as well.
Quyen said she works as a DJ at a bar and is paid VND12 million ($552) a month. Her job ends before midnight so she wants to learn dancing to work after that time.
Making even simple motions leaves dancers sweaty and tired.
N. has a total of 30 dancers who are assigned to perform at bars in Ho Chi Minh City and the surrounding provinces.
After only two sessions, N. sent her newcomers out to perform at bars.
The Tuoi Tre journalists also learned that another dancing group is owned by a woman named X.L., who is better known by bar owners thanks to her beautiful dancers.
X.L.’s dancers are at least 1.66m tall and have good looking faces and sexy bodies.
Most of them have had cosmetic surgery on their breasts, bottom, eyes and nose.
On X.L.’s Facebook page she boasts of recruiting dancers with monthly income from VND9 million ($414) to VND18 million ($828) after three months.
Dancers at bars and beer clubs in Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The changing room for dancers at bars is often a small corner in an attic above the bar. This is also where they do make-up before their performance.
The stage for a dancer is actually a small platform some 50cm higher than the dance floor which guests use.
The position and the height ensure that guests sitting at tables are able to see dancers and make them feel like they are dancing with the dancers.
Each dancer is required to dance for three to four periods of time, each lasting ten minutes.
Besides dancers on platforms, guests in bars can also have their eyefuls of the sexy bodies of dancers and talk with girls, who are actually beer waitresses, at every table.
On the elevated stage, dancers do not need to follow uniform acts but can display their freestyle during the ten minutes.
Not only do they dance on the platform, dancers also observe to see if any guest signals at them.
After their performance, they will come to the guests who signaled to smile and drink beer with them, and then talk and take tips.
For dancers, the tips are meant to cover their sweat and work on stage. But it could also be the start of a new relationship.
After performing, every dancer rushes toward water bottles to gulp them down to satisfy their thirst after losing sweat.
Female dancers prepare for their performance at a bar in Vietnam.
Photo: Tuoi Tre