"The concentration of sexual fluids is more intense than oxygen," this is how Sergey Melnitchenko, a photographer and a dancer, has described the life of performers at a night club in China. He captured what he saw at the backstage, a sordid life these performers led.
A native of Ukraine, Sergey first arrived in Chengdu, China, in 2015. It was then he got a job as a performer in one of the city's nightclubs. He worked for about four months in this unnamed club and decided to capture the secrets that this place held for years.
Moved by what he saw, Sergey decided to take the photos of performers - a process that introduced him to the real lives of people who were singers, dancers, clowns and transvestites and guess what!
As I see it, this is an attempt by this artist to capture the side, which is way more burlesque than the one on stage.
Have a look at some of his pictures, which reveal the dark underbelly of Chengdu.
Due to China's ban on strip clubs and sex work, employees were confined to dancing, drinking and playing games with customers – though that didn't stop things from getting squalid. Like icebergs, people here generally exposed a small a part of their soul on the stage. The actual soul is revealed on backstage - the agony, the misfortune, the troubles.
The life backstage. High on drugs, sex and unwanted activities are what performers undergo here.
These are transvestites who are helpless with the money and so they have to deal with it in this way. But some opt it by choice.
Mirror promises you to show who you truly are and it does. In this night club, people have double faces. One that is shown on the stage and the other captured on the camera that is on the backstage.
There's no restriction on forceful sex. The uncontrollable booze flows in full. Drugs are also a part of their life.
"The only thing that I didn't like was a show where a Chinese girl started to put a beer on herself, and then visitors could come and pour beer on her, every visitor tried to do something more disgusting than the other. They poured beer on her tits, tried to pour it in her ass or on her vagina - so it was really ugly." photographer Sergey remarked.
That's just one. You never know how many have suffered till now.
They have their own secret world to live in. It seems they are too busy being stuck in the dirt.
This photograph depicts how unusual things are at the backstage. The performer is getting ready for the show.
Many visitors enter the club after consuming drugs. Some performers also remain high on drugs as the show begins. The facial expression of this performer says it all.
The pain lies backstage while something else goes on during the onstage performances.
The exotic dance performances these girls give every night get them tired. To cope up with the pain, special treatment (thermal therapy) is provided to them that leaves marks as shown in the above picture.
Isn't that look vicious enough to scare the shit outta anyone? But that is a ground reality in this nightclub.
Sex is for sale in these streets. People do anything for sex. Let the underpants go off but the show must not stop.
A thin line exists between the high profile society and the dirty street looks. The difference vanishes when all come at the same place to quench their thirst.
People here are high on smoke, weeds and other elements to the extent that they have no idea how they harm their body.
Well, doesn't want to show it on the camera.
That's a reality. No one comes to this club just to watch the dance. They are here for just one thing, to get into the girls' underpants.
Ofcourse, the street is the common melting point of desires and lust.
While the show goes on the stage, the performers are busy with their own act behind the curtains. Be it fighting, taking dressing or seduction tips.
It seems this is how a girl, who has just joined the club as a performer, is abused and humiliated by a visitor.
I guess something we all can tell from her face as she tries to find her identity in the mirror. She doesn't seem much happier with her work. But that's what she gotta do there.
We are comfortable living in a world full of good things and bad things. But we have no idea how people go through extreme filth in certain parts of the world.
That's all folks!
Images' source photographyofchina.com
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