Fire Dancer. Writer. Industrial DJ. Model. Fetish Goddess. Exotic Dancer. These are all talents of the incredibly diverse, multi-skilled Salt Lake City resident Nancy Anne. Readers of Carpe Nocturne might know her better as Sonnett57. Local Utah residents might know her better as DJ Mistress Nancy. No matter you call her, if you attend any local underground event in the Salt Lake City Area, you are bound to encounter Nancy Anne in some capacity. She may be spinning records, greeting you at the door of Area 51’s Fetish Ball, or dancing with the Utah Fire Tribe.
I first met Nancy over three years ago when I became the Music Editor for Carpe Nocturne. Nancy was one of our longest tenured and most active music writers. She gave the magazine a much needed Industrial edge, and along with our current Fashion Editor, Kathy Sharkey, and myself, comprised the backbone of the music staff for a very long time. Nancy always impressed me with her pure passion for the underground scene, and the under-recognized musicians she was covering. The more I got to know her, the more I realized she was much more than a talented writer. This issue I am excited to bring you my interview with the amazing Nancy Anne.
To begin to understand Nancy, you must first understand the area where she was born, raised, and still resides today…Utah. Nancy is not shy when she describes the sexually repressed and overly religious mindset of the community, why Utah happens to be #1 in the states for porn downloads, and why the fetish balls are becoming more popular. She states, “Once people wake up from their religious beliefs, or stray from the path of the church, they often go into a sort of rebellion, because sex is a natural thing. We all have desires and fantasies, and you can only deny them for so long. What you will see at the Area 51 Fetish Ball presented by Blue Boutique is people escaping from these beliefs without judgment. They are here for you to be yourself and feed your desires – of course they must be done inside of Utah’s strict laws.” Those strict laws include no spanking. However, the restrictions have relaxed over recent years, and you may now find vacuum beds, rope demonstrations, wax, piercing play, and adult toys for sales at the events.
If you are lucky enough to attend an Area 51 Fetish Ball, expect Nancy to not only greet you at the door, but to also see her face on many of the promotional flyers for the event itself. She explains the experience. “It is sometimes quite fun to see a newcomers reactions to the video that plays which shows them of what is happening inside the club. During my breaks you can find me on the dance floor as sometimes I can be quite the exhibitionist. Like the popular Informatik songs says, ‘I get turned on by Watching you Watching Me’.” As for themes, there are many, but Nancy describes her best-loved. “I would have to say the “Medical” theme is my personal favorite. The reason for this is that you can do so many different things with it. There is something very sexy about exploring another body with tools from this theme.”
Being a self-proclaimed exhibitionist, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Nancy is an exotic dancer as well. As I mentioned before, the laws in Utah are strict. Dancers must wear pasties and a three inch wide thong in the back. There is no customer to dancer contact, no lap dances, and customers must be at least three feet away from the stage. This leads to certain challenges, but Nancy always has a way to spin things in a way to promote the darker cultures. She explains, “it forces us to become more creative in our performances and music choices. I love this aspect as we are often in control of the music we dance to. I will take any opportunity I can get to spread knowledge about our underground music and love to share it with people who may have never heard it before. There is something really gratifying when you are dancing in a club like this and play an artist like Modulate. I watch people’s heads bounce and bodies react to what they are hearing, and when they ask, “who sings this song?” the feeling is like being tipped a 100 dollar bill. The only thing that is more gratifying is performing to a song like this and the customer already knows it.”
From the dance floor, to the stage, to the sand beneath her feet, Nancy Anne awes with her skills. Certainly the most dangerous, and perhaps the most beautiful, is her performances as a fire dancer with Utah Fire Tribe. I had to ask what drew her to this art form, and she responded, “Back in 1998 I came across my first group of “Burners” and I was amazed, excited and even a little turned on by the craft as I find it very sexy. Life happened and I had some adventures and lessons to learn that took me away. It was always lurking in the back of my mind. Once you “light up”, it stays with you.”
Fire dancing is so much more than performance, Nancy explains. It is a mindset, and way to live your life. Through many personal struggles and hardships, Nancy found peace within this community. She elaborates, “I not only became part of a radically inclusive fire spinning group, a new way of thinking was installed. The experience has made me have a brighter outlook on things. I now am living life by The 10 Principles of Burning Man, and have not been a happier person. I am stimulated to grow, accomplish goals and learn in ways that I could not even imagine. There is so much creativity, love and encouragement to be yourself in the “Burner” community.”
If you think the art form is dangerous, Nancy will agree with you wholeheartedly. “It will burn you eventually,” Nancy explains, but she credits her tribe member Phil Olsen as summing it best. He told her, “Fire is alive, you have to respect it, because though you can know its patterns it can surprise you with what it wants to do.” One of the biggest pieces of advice Nancy can give is learn how to treat a burn if you are taking up fire dancing.
Perhaps the talents Nancy Anne has been longest known for are her skills at writing and as an Industrial DJ. Besides Carpe Nocturne, Nancy is senior writer for SLUG Magazine, a local based publication from Salt Lake City. She has interviewed countless musicians, and her motives are always to help the struggling artists.
As for the best and worst part about being a writer, our own Sonnett57 explains, “The best parts about writing is spreading knowledge, becoming more informed about what is going on with the musicians in the community, as well as the history behind their careers. There is nothing greater then to hear about classical industrial music from the artists that created it.
The worst part is, you are going to be critiqued. There is always going to be someone pissed off about what you had to say –even if the entire piece was written in a positive light. Let’s face it, we have many elitist in our community and there is always going to be that one that knows more about their favorite artist than I do. People are passionate about the music, and it is impossible to please everyone. I write for free and the reward is knowledge and experience. If they can do better, I challenge them to start writing and sharing what they know.”
Very well said, Nancy. She further elaborates about the music, and challenges that face her as a DJ. “Records are like relics to me, treasured and put on a shelf. I am very hard on my CDs, and prefer them, but today’s technology is forcing me to go to mp3 and use my TRAKTOR software. You cannot mess around with the music I play too much without the threats of getting lynched. The people here in Salt Lake city want to hear every note as it was created by the artist—at times I feel more like a human jukebox than a DJ.”
If you go to see Nancy spinning (or maybe no longer spinning) the records live, expect to hear some old-skool Industrial music. Her go to song is “Targeted” by Intermix. That should give you an idea of what you are in for.
Yes, Nancy also models, but it has to be for a cause. She doesn’t do any commercial modeling anymore. Instead, she states, “I consider myself to be more of a fetish clothing spokesperson now. The only modeling I do is for fundraising. There is an orphanage in Guinea Bissau, Africa that I was in a calendar for, so that was fulfilling. I have recently done some shoots for Utah Fire Tribe and will do almost anything that helps promote the music.”
For me, that last response basically sums up who Nancy is. She does what she does for enjoyment, but more importantly to help people, and to help the underground communities she so dearly loves. This has always been Nancy’s underlying motivations for as long as I have known her. She writes, DJ’s, dances, models, and always to help someone else out. Even when her daily life struggles are at an extreme, Nancy thinks of everyone else. I think our world needs more people like her, and our cultures need more people willing to promote like she does. When asked how she manages the positive mindset even during her worst times, she replied, “It is simple. I am an entertainer, I love to perform, and I care about my community. I stay positive for others to have a good experience. To see others enjoying themselves and enjoying the music shuts out what I personally may be feeling at the time.”
If asked, it is not surprising what Nancy states is the biggest challenge she faces…finding the time to do it all. Any reader of this interview could have guessed that, but we certainly thank you for trying.