Hips shook from side to side with hair tossing and lips puckering. Dark heels clicked across the stage at Lisser Hall as a formation of girls dressed in red and black seductively swung their fishnet-clad legs up into the air with ease. The new Mills College Dance Club performed their debut at the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturday, Oct. 9 to the delight of a hollering and whistling audience.
The Office of Student Activities (OSA) hosted the show as a Second Saturday event, which took over a month to organize and produce. Chloe Garcia, a senior and the events assistant, recalled difficulty finding a cast “because October is basically the most popular month for Rocky shows.” Eventually, they were able to book UC Santa Cruz’s Rocky Horror troupe Slugs in Fishnets, who acted out all the movie scenes for the night.
Dance Club co-presidents Ashley Ramirez and Keeley Driscoll approached OSA with the idea of performing the pre-show. Members frequently met over the course of two and a half weeks to choreograph and rehearse their routine.
Kristinä Acösta, the Slugs in Fishnets director and actress, who played Dr. Frank-N-Furter, was impressed with the club’s opening.
“The entire cast thought it was really cool. We’ve never seen people dance to (the song) ‘Sweet Tranvestite’ like that before,” Acösta said.
Driscoll thought their debut went well, especially considering the little rehearsal time they had.
“It really brought us together as a club. We helped each other do make-up, we comforted each other with nerves before we went on,” Driscoll said.
Lupita Molina, club member and senior, was also proud of the growing organization.
“I heard that someone said it was degrading and slutty, but I think it’s because they didn’t know what Rocky Horror was. Other people liked the choreography; they thought it was classy, sexy and cute,” Molina said.
Like many audience members, Molina had never seen a live event of the Rocky Horror Picture Show prior to attending the Mills’ show.
“The whole show was really weird and funny, but it’s kind of perfect for Mills because we’re a weird and funny school,” Molina said.
So what is the Rocky Horror Picture Show?
It is only the longest running release in film history since 1975 which parodies science fiction and B-rated horror films mostly in reference to Frankenstein. In the movie, a couple named Brad and Janet experience a rainy night of sexy shenanigans when they witness transvestite scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter and his minions from the planet Transsexual of Transylvania bring his creation, a gorgeous muscle-toned man named Rocky Horror, to life.
The movie gained its cult following when audience members started yelling at the screen, dressing up in costumes and bringing props to viewings, making the movie a huge participatory event.
The UCSC cast was initially nervous about the performance but surprised by the enthusiasm radiating from the Mills audience.
“We were thinking, ‘Okay, this is a girl’s school. They’re probably a little conservative,’ so we weren’t expecting so many people to show up,” Acösta said, unaware of Mills’ annual Sex Positive Fair and Fetish Ball. “It was a really awesome turnout.”
Nearly every audience member was dressed in lingerie, fishnets and high heels, keeping in step with the Rocky Horror look. Some others gender-bended by wearing beards drawn on with markers and by dressing in stiff blazers and colorful ties, sometimes with no shirt underneath. People were really able to express themselves without shame.
“Rocky Horror is a huge stress relief. The audience really gets into screaming and dressing up. So what we really try to do is allow people to let loose and go crazy,” Acösta said.
The Slugs in Fishnets handed out free gift bags to the first fifty people to line up. Divinia Anderson, a senior and ‘virgin’ — a term coined for those who have never seen Rocky Horror — snagged one.
“Inside was a piece of bread, a rolled up piece of toilet paper and a latex glove. At first, I didn’t know what they were for,” Anderson said.
She later discovered that the bag items were movie props. When a specific line is said, such as Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s line “cards for sorrow, cards for pain,” audience members use or throw the appropriate prop up at the stage – in this case, playing cards.
The event ended in loud applause and people clamoring around the cast to take group photos. Overall, the reactions toward the Rocky Horror Picture Show were positive.
“It was a whole lot of fun and very engaging. I would go again,” Anderson said.
Since about a whopping two hundred people showed up, it’s likely that the OSA will host another show next year. Garcia hopes that Mills students will be more interactive in future screenings and will be able to yell out even more ridiculous things.
“I know the first time you go, it’s overwhelming,” Garcia said. “But then it can be really fun once you learn what to say,”
You can follow the Slugs in Fishnets on Facebook or contact them through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about audience participation on the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s official fan website.