The Brass Barre talks to Steven Retchless. Best known for his breakout performance in season 6 of 'America's Got Talent, he famously captured the immediate attention of the judges (and the pole dancing world) with his unabashedly sexy pole dance performance, in silver body paint and high heels. He now travels the world as a pole instructor and organises the ONE Pole retreat in the Caribbean.
You burst onto the scene in 'America's Got Talent' and blew us away with your amazing attitude. Can you tell us a bit more about the whole experience and what it did for you after?
I loved the whole experience! When it got to the live rounds in LA, it was super exciting! I fulfilled my dreams of being on TV and filming in front of a live studio audience.
The network also allowed me complete creative freedom with a whole team of production to back me up: costume, hair, makeup, choreography, back up dancers, pyrotechnics, and the amazing stage!!! It was awesome being in the limelight and experiencing a bit of fame for the following weeks.
Watch video here
How would you define your personal dance style?
Majestic, classic, and sexy.
You're based at the renowned Body + Pole studio in New York, do you have any favorite kind of classes that you love to teach, and why?
Femme Pole, Spins on Static, Sexy Beast These are my favorite was to move and I feel I have a lot to offer in terms of teaching. I like to share and explore with my students.
What is Femme Pole?
Femme Pole is my signature class. I've been teaching this class since 2010 and although the moves have evolved a bit, the attitude and experience is still the same. The whole class is basically a sexy performance from beginning to end.
Where do you get inspiration when it comes to choreography?
Music is my guide. I listen, and the moves just come! But I also love taking classes and I believe I sample subconsciously from teachers I've taken classes from in the past. There are too many to count...
What do you feel are the main differences between the Australian style of Sexy pole and the American style?
Aussies have got the showgirl thing down: its a bit more smiley, with hair toss and tease. Americans are more in-your-face strip club style and unafraid to get down and dirty.
How do u think the pole world has changed for men in the last few years?
So many are popping up strong, and so many are like me in that they like to be sexy in heels!!!
What made you decide to start dancing in heels? (Was it Yanis? :-D )
Yanis came out after I was on AGT... if anything, I influenced him and Kazaky! But no, I've always worn my mom's and sister's heels to dance in, along with halloween wigs... I didnt really come out Loud and Proud until I met a dear friend in College, Zachary, who taught me how to own my feminine powers, f*ck gender, and what society portrays it to be. I had a major emergence in college. It was a liberal arts school that embraced my "weirdness."
How many pairs of heels do you own?
Ohhh, I had a good collection of heels! Like 10, but now that I own almost nothing because of my traveling lifestyle, I have just 2.
We heard you have a secret talent for reading tarot cards! Can you tell us a bit more about your card readings?
I've always had a deep connection to my spiritual self, and in my house we had Ouji Boards and tarot cards laying around. Naturally I taught myself how to use these forms of channeling to feed my curiosity of the unknown. For me it's fun to share this with my friends! I read at Pole Expo and at my ONE Pole Retreat for an extra special, one-on-one experience with my fans. It's been 2 years reading for others now.
What advice do you have for shy dancers who struggle to fully express themselves?
Don't rush, but when you're ready just jump in. The only one holding you back is yourself. If you have to, take some time alone to think about what it is that makes you shy, and rewrite those thoughts about dance and yourself to better fit your heart's point of view.
Any tips for bringing out the 'sexy' when performing?
Practice!!! The way you practice is the way you will perform, so if you have to practice alone in your room do it! (Like no one is watching.) I grew up in Las Vegas, and it was way too hot outside to do anything so I spent a majority of my time singing and dancing in my room. So I have a lot of practice!!!
Steven is one of our guest choregrapher's for the Polegraphy class in Term 1. Sign up to learn a FemmePole routine taught by the Instructors of The Brass Barre. Click here to book now.