Diana Lozano likes to make a living, but she also likes to make a point. Which is that the sexy, scantily clad, fantastical world of nightclub and corporate entertainment where her CircX troupe works is outrageous in more ways than one.
“One client wanted me to have girls hanging upside down from ropes at eye level with the guests, so he wanted the girls to be really beautiful – eye candy,” Lozano says. “I told him no one would do that, because it was really degrading and they’ll get injured. He just laughed.”
CircX didn’t get that gig. But it’s gotten plenty of others, from promoting The Lion King at a gay pride parade to appearing as Spandex lemons for Bacardi. Saturday night at the Fillmore Miami Beach, Lozano and CircX celebrate a decade of walking a fine, sequined line between satire and sexuality with the CircX 10th Anniversary Retro Spectacular.
“I do consider myself a feminist, yet I make a living off putting pretty, skinny girls in costumes and having them strut around,” says the New World School of the Arts musical-theater grad. “But my shows try to address those issues in one form or another. I like to say I use sexuality for mockery more than anything else. My purpose is not to turn people on but to make them laugh.”
Lozano launched CircX in 2002 after returning to Miami from CalArts, where she earned a master’s degree in multimedia performance. Running lights at a nightclub, she found herself fuming at how bad the go-go dancers were. “I thought, ‘They’re a waste of space,’” she says.
In the years since, many of Miami’s most striking dance-theater artists have come through CircX, paying the rent and honing their performance and high-heel strutting skills. They include choreographer Rosie Herrera, who will make her New York debut in January; Natasha Tsakos, creator of sophisticated multimedia performances; Luckner Bruno, known for outrageous, gender-bending personas; Ana Mendez, who incorporates dense visual art concepts into dreamy performance pieces. That so many of them have come through CircX means the troupe’s visually extravagant, ironic, pop-influenced style has infiltrated much of Miami’s cultural scene.
Lozano honed that style at the costumed knees of Octavio Campos, an omnipresent producer, choreographer, director, teacher and performer who has been a mentor to many Miami performers.
“I would give Octavio credit for influencing all of us,” Lozano says. “There’s nothing he can’t do.”
While Lozano can’t take as much time for choreography and concepts as her compatriots who take weeks or months to prepare pieces for traditional theaters, she has her own way of pushing her audience’s limits.
“We have a different sensibility from companies that just have pretty girls walk around smiling at people,” she says. “We become the characters and really interact with people. Let’s say we’re dressed like iguanas — we’ll start crawling under tables or hanging from chandeliers.”
Saturday’s show includes Tsakos and Luckner Bruno in an updated Apache dance, a melodramatic, early 20th century precursor of the tango that features a dominating man, a submissive woman and lots of brutal acrobatics; a bondage ballet with two men tied up in chairs; and a number set to These Boots Are Made For Walking in which women let a guy know just how he’s done them wrong.
Lozano will also showcase excerpts from theater pieces by Herrera and Luis Cuevas. Much as she admires their work, she’s comfortable in a different sphere.
“I want to highlight everyone’s legitimate work within this entertainment monster created through CircX,” she says. “It’s so much fun to push the boundaries and mess with people.”