The Heavenly Spies are enjoying the kind of run at the Can Can cabaret that doesn't get press, probably because it doesn't need the press; they've sold out every one of their Friday-night revues for nine years. In show-business terms, the Heavenly Spies are living the dream. In burlesque terms, that kind of love for nearly a decade is almost unthinkable. The success is a simple case of capitalism: Everybody likes a beautiful, nearly naked woman. But! Nearly (and totally) naked women come cheap on the internet. But! A dancing nearly naked woman is best enjoyed in person, with booze. But! You can see burlesque at seemingly every single club in Seattle on seemingly any given night.
Here's their secret: The Heavenly Spies are really good at what they do. Their latest show, Majesty!, incorporates burlesque, bhangra, boylesque for the ubiquitous bachelorette parties, some light trapeze work, torch songs, and more into an old-fashioned variety show. Majesty! opens with an old-fashioned striptease that turns into an athletic—and dirrrrrty—pop-and-lock booty-shaking routine after the dancer swaps out her high heels for a pair of puffy neon sneakers. The rest is a series of playful routines that blend titillation (a number featuring three dancers finding inventive ways to dance around, and with, curtains hanging from the ceiling is the sexiest thing I've seen in months) with inventive choreography. It's almost a shame that the Friday-night crowd is inevitably Friday-night drunk, because the details of Majesty! reward close attention—some mind-boggling hand movements between two dancers require perfect timing and movement, but those tiny touches were probably lost on 95 percent of the packed-in Can Can crowd.
This Friday is the last Majesty! show. It will sell out. After that, Spies founder/choreographer Agent Rhinestone is putting together a live performance installation featuring dance, DJs, and video at Fred Wildlife Refuge for the fall. In the spring of 2013, the Spies will return to the Can Can for their 10th anniversary season. That will presumably sell out, too.