The sexy new Harrah’s show, Bareback, features some of the hottest dancers in Northern Nevada. Lead dancer Chelsea Thompson, 28, performs both in this country-themed show and the medley show, Broadway Showstoppers. Thompson, originally from Minneapolis, has been dancing since she was 3. Since landing her first job at 20, she has been dancing professionally in cities around the United States. Her advice for girls with a dream to dance is, “Work it out every day; if you work it out every day, then it will come naturally every night.”
How did you get started in professional dancing?
My first job, I was a Vikings Cheerleader, and my first casino show was in Minnesota at an Indian casino called Mystic Lake. I saw an audition in the paper, and I went and got the job.
Did you do shows anywhere else before Reno?
I worked in Minnesota for a couple of years, I worked in a couple of shows in Atlantic City and a couple of shows in upstate New York and then a show in Hawaii, then I came to Reno for a little while, and I did Showgirls down in Las Vegas and now I’m back in Reno.
What made you decide to come back to Reno?
I like Reno. There is a lot to do here, but it is not a big city, and I like that. My husband and I live here. We have a house, so we just want to stay put. He has a good business building houses here, and he is also a dancer and a singer in the show.
Do you still get nervous before shows?
I get a little nervous. You know you want to make sure you have a good show every night for the audience that pays to get in. I still get a little nervous, not terribly, like opening-night jitters or anything. It is more anxiety, more of a fun nervous, not a scared nervous.
What is the best part about performing?
Performing! Just performing for people and having them smile and clap for you every night. There aren’t many jobs that you go to where, after you are done, people clap for you. You can’t help but have fun and enjoy what you are doing when you are being praised for it everyday.
Do people recognize you from the billboards and ads?
Not so much. The people in the casino of course who know me do. My real hair, of course, is blond, but it’s pretty short. I have chin-length hair, so people on the street don’t recognize me.
How do you feel about dancing topless? Were you ever self-conscious about it?
My first show was a little nerve-racking the first couple of nights. But you are up there, and you don’t want to mess up the choreography, and you want to have a performing face on. For the first couple of minutes during your first topless performance you are thinking about it, but then you aren’t because there are so many other dynamics in performing; the blocking, the choreography and performing with your face and body and you have to have energy, so it kind of goes out the window.
What has been the best moment in your career so far?
One of them was performing in Las Vegas, because ever since I was little I wanted to be a Las Vegas showgirl. My first performance in Las Vegas was really, really exciting. Just the thought that I had made it in Las Vegas. And, of course, becoming a lead dancer for Greg Thompson Productions. I’m really proud that I can be a lead dancer for him. He is one of the lead producers for production shows around the world.