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Float Like a Butterfli, Swing Like a Trapeze

Whether boogying on the floor or dangling from the ceiling, Yvette Perez's dancing divas want to be artists, not eye candy

Ever see people so attractive they make you mad? You clench your teeth, your neck tenses up, you get migraines from the sheer frustration, the sheer futility, of trying to chat up someone so gorgeous. All you can think is "These people are just too goddamn pretty! How the hell can someone be so damn pretty and walk the earth among us simple folk? It makes no sense -- those pretty muthafuckas!"

Yvette Perez and the dancers in her late-night entertainment company Butterfli Diva make you feel that way. Although Perez and her company of painfully gorgeous performers -- two girls and a guy -- aren't all snooty and overeager to throw their good looks, lean bodies and salivating sex appeal in people's faces (and let's hope this article doesn't swell their heads), they are well aware that it's their job to exhibit something beautiful when they hit the stage. Hell, it's practically their calling card. "I would just say, 'Modify your spectacle, invade our illusion' -- like, that's my slogan," says Perez.

It all started when Perez, a McAllen native, was a featured dancer at a downtown space that was being rented out to promoters when DJs would breeze into town. That space later became Prague, and Perez became one of the club's most loyal employees, with a hand in many of the spot's lavish productions. "Personally, I felt that Prague was my baby," says Perez, 27. "That was the first place where I was able to just have full control of the visuals. And then they actually gave me a night of my own, and that was really fun." She made costumes, created concepts, designed sets. She even found herself recruiting dancers to join in her nocturnal exhibitions. "If I wasn't getting paid for it, I'd be out there anyway, shaking my butt," jokes Jessica Prevots, a Perez recruit and a three-year Butterfli veteran.

Perez took a year off because she was pregnant with her son, Adonnis Giovanni Dylan Perez. And she found that coming back to her old home base wasn't in the cards. "They were doing things that I didn't want myself or my girls affiliated with," says Perez, referring to the club's tawdry S&M balls and the shirtless dude body-painting nude models on Friday nights. "I want to be at a completely different level and a completely different view -- more ladylike, more classy, more theatrical."

After severing ties with Prague (which, of course, eventually closed its doors), Perez found that her Diva outfit was in demand at many downtown clubs, including Hyperia (2001 Commerce), Tonic (310 Main) and Boaka Bar(1010 Prairie). When owners and promoters called on Perez for sumptuous spectacles, she was willing and able to oblige. "It's not just dancing," she says of her daring displays. "It can be anything you want."

According to Perez, Lotus Lounge (412 Main) spent top dollar to employ fellow Diva Logan Duvall as a club centerpiece. Recalls Perez, "She was a lotus kitten, I was a lotus empress. I had, like, an emperor's chair. There was another guy, he was painted in gold, we called him 'the god.' And she was just like a piece of art. And she literally hung from the ceiling. They spent a thousand dollars just to have her hanging from the ceiling." Adds Duvall, "It was kind of like a faux Cirque du Soleil."

But it's the Rice Village rumpus room the Gatsby (2540 University Boulevard) that Perez and her dancers are now making their home. They've been working the club's Thursday- and Saturday-night throwdowns for five months now. "When you walk into clubs these days, it's just another meat market," says promoter Leo Falchetti, who snapped up the Diva team for the Gatsby. "There's no eye candy. There's nothing to look at, nothing to admire or anything like that. When you see the dancers up there, you get so much more of a feel, like you're not in Houston. It's like you're part of South Beach or New York or L.A. or whatever."

But the big question is, do clubbers get it? Do they see the Butterfli Diva team not as go-go dancers with a flair for the extravagant, but as the artists they long to be? Well, folks may not pay that much attention to the artistic aspect of the Divas, but the dancers say everybody picks up on the energy. "The girls [in the clubs] love it," says Prevots. "I mean, they get up [on stage] and dance. It kinda motivates."

So when the beautiful people perform, don't be intimidated. Just get your quasi-attractive ass on the dance floor and start bumping and grinding!

Last Call

Is Mark Goebel trying to be the next Mark Goodman? Probably not, but you can't quite suppress the thought when you see him, mike in hand, at the Montrose video bar Meteor (2306 Genesee) every Wednesday night at nine, clocking off videos for his own Top 20 countdown show. The DJ and freelance club journalist (he files club reviews and charts for 002 and Eclipse) is going in a whole new direction by becoming the club's resident Carson Daly. But much like his spin sessions at Mo Mong (1201 Westheimer) and other places, his Meteor countdown just aims to give folks tunes that may be new to their ears, ones that may soon become dear to their hearts. "Hopefully they'll take away a few songs, a few artists that they didn't know before," says Goebel. "It kinda personalizes it, you know, when it's not on the radio, when it's not mainstream, when it's not Top 40."

 
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