Boy wonder

Patrick Mikyles brings a decidedly masculine vibe to S4’s drag stage

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR | Mikyles raised eyebrows when he was named newcomer of the year, defeating more than half a dozen female impersonators. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

 

DRACONIS VON TRAPP  |  Intern
intern@dallasvoice.com

Patrick Mikyles raises the roof Thursday nights at the Rose Room, but he also raises some eyebrows: Entertainers dressed as men aren’t the norm at the venue famous for its drag shows. But Mikyles has made his way into the ranks of queens and kings as a pioneer in his category.

Originally from Odessa, Mikyles started dancing in a show at Club Sin City there. His break came four years ago when he was supposed to dance back-up for a drag queen. At the last minute, the queen changed routines, so Mikyles approached the show director and asked if he could do a fill-in performance. The director agreed and said he could do the second show for $30. When Mikyles asked if he had to pay before or after he performed, the director gave him an odd look. “No, honey, I pay you $30.”

That was when Patrick Mikyles was born.

Since then Mikyles has performed at multiple clubs from Amarillo to Florida. He refers to himself as a “true male entertainer.”

“I can entertain the crowd with my clothes on,” Mikyles jokes.

While he doesn’t have a classical dance background, Mikyles has a eidetic memory when it comes to dance. He describes his style as “very energetic, go-getter” and says his influences range from Michael Jackson and Beyonce to James Brown. “It’s really eclectic,” he says. “There really is a lot of choreography that goes into it.”

When he first moved to Dallas, Mikyles set as his goal to be the first entertainer to work the Rose Room as a male.

“[The Rose Room] is a staple in drag and performing arts, I think. It’s really big for the LGBT community,” he says.

While he encountered controversy upon winning the newcomer contest, Mikyles soldiered through until he was accepted. He knew it would mean a lot for the drag king community and other male entertainers to become a regular at the club. Since achieving that, Mikyles has opened the door for other male entertainers and drag kings, giving confidence to performers who don’t specialize in female impersonation.

Even though he’s a crowd favorite and gets plenty of tips each show, Mikyles still gets a few odd looks backstage.

“I’ve met a lot of people while in the community,” he says. “Layla LaRue has been a mentor, and I’ve known some of the queens up there for years; they’re not strangers. But some of the up-and-coming girls are kind of uneasy about it. I think it’s just a matter of [them] not knowing me. I’m just an easy-going guy; I’m not here about the drama.”

It’s not just the other performers — sometimes the audience is unprepared for his act. The initial reaction can be something like, “What is this guy doing on stage?”

“By the second number they usually come around,” he says. (The main performers usually do two numbers a night between the amateur acts.)

Even as an experienced performer, Mikyles still gets nervous. How does he get pumped for a show? “I take in plenty of alcohol,” he quips, then adds quickly, “No, I’m kidding.”

He still prays before every show and lets the music move him. Some of the thoughts swirling through his head include, “Don’t fall,” “Are they gonna like me?” and “Am I gonna remember the steps?” And while much of what he does is choreographed, Mikyles still improvises.

Mikyles has also won Mr. Amarillo USofA and hopes to tour while getting a few more titles under his belt before trying an acting career on radio, television, stage and in film.

When he’s not on the dance floor, the 29-year-old works as a loan officer for Cash Store. “Some people say I’m a loan shark,” he chuckles. And when the work-week plods along, he always has Thursday to look forward to.

“Dallas has been great,” he says. “I didn’t think it would open its arms as much as it did. I still feel like a kid in a candy store.”

Mikyles performs at the Rose Room inside Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road on Thursdays. PartyAtTheBlock.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

On Edge

Hubbard Street Dance’s gay leader Glenn Edgerton brings a dancer’s perspective to contemporary troupe

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer stevencraiglindsey@me.com

Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance Company
MOTION, EMOTION | Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance Company, led by Glenn Edgerton, continues to evolve after 33 years as a leading contemporary dance troupe.

HUBBARD STREET DANCE
Winspear Opera House,
2403 Flora St.
Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. $25–$125.
ATTPAC.org

…………………………….

Ask six people to describe contemporary dance and you’ll get six different responses. As an art form, it encompasses so many varied techniques, styles and points of view, categorizing it as one thing is a fool’s errant.

And that’s perfectly fine with Glenn Edgerton. “As long as they make you feel something and have an emotional impact,” he says, “we’ve done our job.”

For 33 years, Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance Company has been one of the nation’s most celebrated troupes, and under Edgerton, a dancer for 11 years who has  served as artistic director since 2009, it has continued to innovate and excite. TITAS presents the company at the Winspear Opera House Friday.

Edgerton’s background as a dancer, with both Nederlands Dans Theater and the Joffrey Ballet, shaped his ethic and his creative vision.
“I’m always fashioning my decisions, trying to put myself in the dancer’s position. How would it have felt? How would it have been for me if certain things are going in one direction?” Edgerton says. “I try to work so that my dancers will be challenged and inspired. I’m thinking in a dancer’s perspective. I was born a dancer and will die a dancer.”

HSDC’s current roster includes 16 dancers, and Edgerton hopes to add a 17th next year. They’re smaller than some classical dance companies, though they have a great track record for retaining artists and exploring new territory with them as they explore new techniques.

“You have a relationship with them in terms of their artistic output. We have dancers in the company who have been here 10, 11 years and then some that have just joined. I adore each and every one of them,” he says.

Becoming a part of the elite team doesn’t necessarily fit any specific molds, but Edgerton can almost immediately sense in an audition when a dancer might be a good fit.

“You know when you see it and you know when you work with them. It’s one thing to see a dancer in a ballet class who has a wonderful technique, but in a contemporary company you have to be ready to move in a much more extreme way than classical ballet. You have to have an inherent ability to try many different types of dance and just have that overall feel that you’re a dancer and not stuck to one technique or another.”

Diversity of style is a hallmark of HSDC, perhaps most perfectly evidenced in one of the numbers being performed Friday night: “With Physikal Linguistiks, you have Victor [Quijada], who came from Los Angeles where he was a hip-hop dancer. He has a real ballet background also, but when he’s choreographing he’s using all of those kinds of techniques and dance moves into his work. It’s also interesting because he’s taking the dancers out in the audience.”

Edgerton is reluctant to admit that shows like So You Think You Can Dance have a positive impact on exposing new people to dance, but he says they do have their place.

“There’s an accessibility with those programs, but it could be confused when [viewers] come to the theater and see concert dance,” he says. “It’s cool and hip and fun on TV, but in the theater it’s more artful. There’s more thought-provoking imagery built into these pieces. All those TV programs are much more commercially minded and geared to more fantastic technique and movements that are more thrilling. Ours are thrilling, too, but the approach is a little different. People need that awareness going in.”

If that means no celebrity judges screaming like morons for camera time, then that’s an entirely good thing. But HSDC has been judged on its merits by the dance world for more than three decades, and clearly it’s a winning combination of art, choreography and technique that keep it relevant and evocative of the universe around it.

“I’m not boasting, I’m just stating that we’re one of the important, international contemporary dance companies in the world,” Edgerton says. “And I’m excited to bring it to Dallas and this spectacular new performing arts center.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 19, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens