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Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000)

A non-glamorous portrayal of the lives of people who make their living at a strip club.


Michael Radford


Michael Radford (screenplay), David Linter (screenplay)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlotte Ayanna ... Jessie
Kristin Bauer van Straten ... Nico (as Kristin Bauer)
W. Earl Brown ... Bobby
Daryl Hannah ... Angel
Chris Hogan ... Dennis
Sheila Kelley ... Stormy
Elias Koteas ... Sully
Vladimir Mashkov ... Sacha
Sandra Oh ... Jasmine
Rodney Rowland ... Charlie
Jennifer Tilly ... Jo
Robert Wisdom ... Eddie
David Amos David Amos ... Dave
Carolyne Aycaguer Carolyne Aycaguer ... Sophie
R.C. Bates R.C. Bates ... Jimmy (as RC Bates)


Angel is a dancer wishing to adopt a child. Stormy is a dancer with a secret with her brother Sully. Jasmine is a poetess who falls in love with Dennis. Jo is a dancer who became pregnant and Jessie is a woman fighting to survive in Hollywood. The link between them is the fact that they dance at Blue Iguana, a strip-club managed by Eddie. Their personal dramas are the theme of this movie. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


from the director of Il Postino See more »


Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive sexual content/nudity, language, some drug content and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Russian

Release Date:

11 October 2001 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Historias de la noche See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,181, 21 October 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$30,181, 21 October 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Despite only appearing in two scenes, Kristin Bauer made her own outfit for her strip routine and visited porn stars who gig at strip clubs. She even had training on how to use a whip. See more »


Jessie uses her real name as her stage name at the Blue Iguana, something which is forbidden by the managers for safety reasons. This is made clear halfway through the film when Stormy is told off by Dave for having mail sent to her real name Marie Hughes. See more »


Angel: I did not inhale.
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Alternate Versions

On the DVD commentary Michael Radford says there are enough deleted scenes to make 10 entire different versions of the whole movie. Each scene was re-filmed over 12 times as Dancing at the Blue Iguana was improvised and Michael got the actors to try each scene with alternate dialogue several times until the actors had no ideas left. However, only a select few deleted scenes/alternate takes are included on the DVD. See more »


References The Powerpuff Girls (1998) See more »


Going Upstairs
Performed by Queen Sylvia Embry
Courtesy of Alligator Records
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User Reviews

The anti - showgirls.
29 August 2003 | by BLEACHEDCSee all my reviews

First of all cudos to the people involved with this flick for trying something a bit different: it was almost entirely improvised, both by the actors/actresses and by the crew.

So, that good idea aside, is it any good?

Well, it's the complete opposite of Showgirls, so that's a great start! All exploitation aspects are kept to a minimum, of course to some degree such elements are inherent, unfortunately.

Characters are incredibly well brought to life and explored, to the point where the stripping scenes become annoying and you just wanna get back to the protagonist's character arcs. Hey, I'm a red blooded male too, so if I'm saying this, well, that has to be testament to its power don't you think?

I found it extremely refreshing how none of the sub plots are really finished off, you are NOT spoon fed. You are given enough information to fill in the blanks, and that's it. And you know what - that was nice, it was brave, and I appreciated it.

A lot is conveyed subtly, with looks, or with how a person in the back ground is reacting. There's a couple of stripping scenes in which the came ra actually focusses almost exclusively on the girl's face. The first scene is very short, probably less than a minute. The chick's expression is amazing - like she's only hanging on to her sanity by a thread, so cold and broken, fantastically conveyed. The second intance is longer, and is genuinely heart rending. No words or additional explanation is required for either scene. Cinema at its best.

Now for the faults.

The characters are, superficially, cliches. You've got the stupid but nice stripper. The jaded and hard stripper. The new girl. The abusive rock star boyfriend etc. However, these things are easily overlooked as they are painted in such a realistic manner.

As the aim here was realism I would NOT have introduced a character that was a contract killer! That said, the film almost makes up for this in *sploiler* the moment when he recieves a lap dance. Both stripper and killer just want to connect with another human being here, which they can't, and the scene is most poignant.

Finally, the unremitting bleakness expererienced by all characters herein does not ring entirely true. I've been to strip clubs (admittedly in the UK so maybe it's a cultural thing) and the girls are usually bright eyed and chirpy, with plenty going on outside of their line of work. They were all making a bloody good wage too, which certainly seemed to put smiles on their faces! Again though, it was all done so well, with such heart and genuine depth, that I can't really complain.

A much underrated movie.

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