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11 Dec, 2008 05:25

Sexy and leggy? Time to cash in

Forced to find ways to pay for their education, many young Russian women have taken to working in night clubs as dancers. But because of the social stigma attached to the work, most keep their night trade a secret.

Anna Medvedeva is one such go-go dancer.  She said the reason she took up the work was to pay for her studies.

“I was looking for a job that would enable me to study during the day and work at night. I've got free time in the afternoon and money I can spend on my education,” she said.

She was surprised to see how frequently people draw negative conclusions about people who work in this field.

“Just a few people at my university know where I work. People think it’s something smutty, they're sure that go-go dancers work as prostitutes. This stereotype is well rooted in our society. So when you tell somebody that you work at a night club they frown. So I prefer not to mention it,” she says.

Many girls have gone through the experience of long nights dancing and long days studying. Some say they miss it.

“For me, go-go dancing wasn’t for the money… I just liked it. For me it was art,” Lidiya Kulikova said, who danced for seven years while she was in school.

Lidiya graduated from a prestigious university and now works as a director of an IT company.

She also recalls when her friends and others made judgements about her choice of lifestyle. However, with career success a reality, the criticism has been worth it.