A new showgirl dance company has been founded by Northampton’s Charlotte Tollan and the business is taking her troupe all over the UK, as Ruth Supple reports...
Supermodels Natalia Vodianova and Karlie Kloss staged the prestigious Fund Fair recently and up and coming Northampton company 2-2 Live Entertainment were one of the star attractions at the event, which was filled with celebrities including Stella McCartney, Pixie Lott and boyfriend Oliver Cheshire, Daisy Lowe, Tinie Tempah, Labrinth, Charli XCX, Millie Mackintosh, Tali Lennox and Amber Le Bon.
2-2 Live Entertainment founder, Charlotte Tollan, said it was an amazing experience at the Old Billingsgate Market in London and raised money for The Naked Heart Foundation.
“The models were absolutely stunning and me and my showgirls couldn’t take our eyes off them,” says Charlotte, 23, who lives in Northampton. “At over £1,000 per ticket for entry, the event consisted of only very luxury experiences such as a Dior island treasure hunt, Dom Pérignon Champagne hoopla, Louis Vuitton pop-a-balloon challenge and the Calvin Klein shooting saloon.
“There was a huge curtain in the middle of the room and when it pulled back there were lots of models running funfair-type stalls, loads of balloons and we were all placed in position. More than 500 guests attended and I have never seen so many gorgeous people in one place and I was glad I was in costume rather than in normal clothes. What was strange was they were taking pictures of us!”
Former Northampton School for Girls pupil Charlotte trained at The Mayhew School of Dancing in Northampton, before going on to study for three years at The Northern Ballet School in Manchester. It was while there she began thinking of becoming a showgirl rather than a ballet dancer, because of her height.
“Ballet has always been my favourite form of dancing,” she explains. “But, at 5ft 8in, I am quite tall and it was always a struggle finding a male dancer taller than me when I am on pointe. One of my teachers at Northern Ballet School had spent time working at places like the Moulin Rouge and in Las Vegas, and suggested to me that my height would make me a perfect showgirl.”
After ballet school, Charlotte decided she wanted to return home to Northampton to have some normality in her life.
“At ballet school you are quite sheltered and it had been three full-on, intense years. I wanted to do things like learn how to drive and have a normal adult life.”
The idea for 2-2 Live Entertainment was growing and Charlotte set it up when she was 22, hence the name, which is also a play on tutu and Charlotte’s nickname, Tu-llan.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to set up the company and, as well as dancing myself, I use three or four girls on a regular basis, along with freelancers,” she says. “I have around 25 girls in total on my books and the kind of touring shows we stage are varied.
“One is a Rat Pack show and very Vegas and showgirls-themed. We also do a Bollywood, Mardi Gras show and we do backing vocals as well. The Rat Pack show is insane as we have 18 costume changes in it, most of which I carry round in my suitcase in the back of my car because we are always on the road.”
Regular clients include The L.A Showgirls, Aspers Casinos and The London Cabaret Club. Alongside these, 2-2 Live Entertainment also perform at weddings, corporate events, charity events and private parties. One of these is the NCLTC Trust’s annual charity ball, which Charlotte’s company performs free of charge at.
“Business was quiet at the start of the year but things are really picking up again and we are performing at venues all over the country from Essex to Great Yarmouth, London and Northampton,” says Charlotte. “Eventually, my aim is to be able to stage around six or seven shows a night at places all over the world.”