Nobody Does Vegas Like Dancer David Bier

May 20, 2014
David Bier in the studio

David Bier – Growin’ Up “Special”: The Early Years (1964 to 1985)

According to the original caption of this photo:

“In the Fall of 1978, a little 14-year-old gay ballet boy in the suburbs tried on his very first “little black skirt”…and he liked it!  Well, 34 years later, not much has changed other than he’s no longer LITTLE. He’s still hangin’ onto the barre for dear life…and he’s STILL wearin’ a little black skirt! And he STILL likes it!” 

Since that inspired moment a few decades ago, David Bier has grown to become quite an accomplished and versatile dancer.  As he prepares for his upcoming season dancing with the San Francisco Opera, we were able to follow David during his recent vacation in Las Vegas, Nevada.


DAY 1 – Arrival 

My friend Keith, whom I’ve known since our days dancing together at Washington Ballet, asked if I’d like to join him on his first trip to Las Vegas.  Never one to pass up the chance for a fun weekend, I agreed to meet him there.

Prior to this trip, I had only been to the Venetian Hotel to see ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ but had never actually stayed there. What a surprise! When I walked into the suite, it was so beautiful I thought they’d made a mistake!

By now, Keith had contacted me to say that he’d missed his connecting flight in Chicago, and would arrive 2 hours late!

The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino (© 2013 Las Vegas Pictures, link)

The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino (© 2013 Las Vegas Pictures, link)

No sooner had I heard the news of Keith’s late arrival that I was out the door and on my way to the Bellagio “All-You-Can-Eat” Buffet…’cuz I love a buffet!  It’s one of my few sources of true joy.

Here’s an observation: It’s so funny how some people go to an “all-you-can-enjoy” (that’s the classy term for it) buffet and just unashamedly PIG OUT on one thing! A woman walked past me with an almost comical pile of Alaskan king crab on a plate.  I wished I’d taken a picture of THAT!

On my way back to the Venetian, I went into the brand new swanky Walgreen’s where, after stocking up on snacks and refreshments, I realized I’d have to carry it all back up the Strip.  I stopped momentarily to take a picture of the erupting volcano across the street at the Mirage, and when I finally arrived at the hotel,…it felt like my arms were going to be pulled out of their sockets!


Keith finally arrived, but I didn’t confess that I’d already hit the buffet. Besides, he had heard about a great place for burgers in the Cosmopolitan… so that’s where we went! Later, we managed to catch the fountain show at the Bellagio which began RIGHT as we were walking by.

Here’s a video: 



DAY 2  – Zumanity

Christopher ("Edie of Zumanity") Kenney - Photo: Las Vegas Weekly - link

Christopher (“Edie of Zumanity”) Kenney – Photo: Las Vegas Weekly – link

Despite the fact that we were still kicking it up ‘n down the Strip until after midnight, I was awake by 6:30 AM. We spent the day walking and shopping and barely made it back to our hotel in time to change for the 9:30pm  show of Cirque du Soleil’s  Zumanity at New York New York.

My friend Chris Kenney…whom I danced with at Ballet Oregon back in the spring of 1988 is the MC — “Edie, Mistress of Pleasure”.

David Bier and Christopher Kenney at the Bellagio Buffet

David Bier and Christopher Kenney at the Bellagio Buffet

Chris went from Ballet Oregon to Pacific Northwest Ballet to Pennsylvania Ballet to basically retiring from ballet and moving to New York. “Edie” is a drag persona that Chris developed for a show he mounted called Simply Edie’.  One of the Cirque du Soleil producers saw his act and asked him to portray the Master of Ceremonies for Zumanity. So “Ciao, Manhattan!” and “Hello, New York New York in Vegas!”

The next day, Keith and I met Chris at the Bellagio buffet where we sat, ate and talked  (mostly talked) for over 3 hours!


DAY 3 – Mr. Showmanship – Liberace

David resting in a Christian Louboutin stiletto (Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas)

David resting in a Christian Louboutin stiletto (Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas)

When I got up that morning, my feet and calves were in agony from walking up and down the Strip!  It’s probably a couple of miles between Spring Mountain Road and the Tropicana Hotel…and I walked it at least 4 times yesterday!

(Psssst. There’s nothing quite like the Christian Louboutin stiletto in the Cosmopolitan Hotel for a good nap!)



That afternoon, Keith & I checked out the Liberace exhibit also at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

It’s basically a cherry-picking of his costumes that used to be on display in the Liberace Museum, which sadly closed in 2010.  When I was dancing in Vegas, I kept a postcard on my dressing mirror that I’d bought at the museum to remind me to always apply MORE pink lipstick! And when I donned my white (polyester) top hat ‘n’ tails for the show’s opening number…’The Jubilation Strut’…Liberace reminded me: “Always try to sparkle brighter than my rhinestone lapels!”


David Bier and a replica of the pave diamond Deusenberg that Liberace drove on stage in 1986 for his final performances at Radio City Music Hall (Las Vegas, 2014)

David Bier and a replica of the pave diamond Deusenberg that Liberace drove on stage in 1986 for his final performances at Radio City Music Hall (Las Vegas, 2014)

Afterwards, we caught the 9:30 PM show of Frank Marino’s Divas…which was conveniently located three hotels away at the Quad Resort & Casino.

So, while I didn’t see the real Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood…I did see Frank Marino’s “Britney”.

And while I didn’t see Celine Dion at Caesar’s…I did see “Celine”.

And while tickets to see Cher at the MGM are probably gonna be impossible to get…I did see “Cher” last night.

It was actually a good show…go-go boys ‘n all.

Frank Marino's Divas

Frank Marino’s Divas


DAY 4 – Lamborghini Day!

David Bier with dance partner backstage in Jubilee (Las Vegas, NV)

David Bier with dance partner backstage in Jubilee, Costumes by Bob Mackie (Las Vegas, NV)

Keith’s plan for the day was to rent a Lamborghini  and drive out to Red Rock Canyon.

Looking back, I hadn’t been out there since 1996 when I was dancing in Jubilee! (See photo on the right.)

As a side note about the photo: “I can’t tell you how much I wanted to keep those silver go-go boots when I left the show. The wardrobe mistress said, if I took them, he’d hunt me down like an animal…even it meant coming all the way to San Francisco to get ’em back!”

Anyway, we rented a Lamborghini Spyder convertible, and by 10:00 am, we were driving out of Red Rock. I didn’t really want to spend the $700 rental fee on a car, but truth be told, it was kind of exciting. Needless to say, Keith was thrilled!!!

First, I drove the car down to Hoover Dam…showboated across the Dam into Arizona & the Mountain Time Zone.  Tourists were snapping pictures of the car left & right, coming up to the car wanting to look and asking me to rev the engine.

We walked out onto the middle of the Memorial Bridge…which spans the state line between Nevada and Arizona.


Hoover Dam Memorial Bridge

Hoover Dam Memorial Bridge

I took a picture looking back at Hoover Dam, but since I couldn’t get the incredible height of the spillway into the frame, you don’t get a sense of how massive it is!

Next, Keith took the wheel, and once in the driver’s seat, he finally got his chance to see what it felt like to drive the car at 100+ mph in Red Rock Canyon.

David and Keith with the Lamborghini Spyder in in Red Rock Canyon (Spring 2014)

David and Keith with the Lamborghini Spyder in Red Rock Canyon (Spring 2014)

And NOW, I understand that, at a time of life when you feel so weighted down with delays, obstacles, resistance, opposition, commitments & obligations, bureaucracy, administration, inertia and fatigue, that at least when you’re driving, if you wanna go…you can GO!

I can’t say it’s worth the price to buy such a vehicle. (I wish I’d taken a picture of the velcro strap that closed the door!)  But I’d totally rent a high performance car again!

Next time, it’s gonna be a Mercedes gull-winged McLaren!

Farewell to Las Vegas  

So, after an unforgettable weekend in Las Vegas, I took a 7:40 pm flight back to San Francisco. Geez, I went from driving a Lamborghini convertible at 100 mph through the Nevada desert…and 6 hours later I’m stepping over sidewalk slugs in the Tenderloin.

Welcome back to Reality!


David Bier, in costume as the Prince in the Nutcracker

David Bier, in costume as the Prince in the Nutcracker

More about the Author

A native of the  San Francisco Bay Area, David Bier received his early ballet training under Richard Gibson at the Pacific Dance Center in Palo Alto before continuing on scholarships at the San Francisco Ballet School, the Houston Academy, the Pennsylvania Ballet School in Philadelphia and the School of American Ballet in New York.

A regal and commanding stage presence, he has danced with numerous professional ballet companies and, since 1996, has been a Tenured Dancer with the San Francisco Opera Ballet. Outside the theater, Mr. Bier’s interests include construction, costume and clothing design and cultivating Amaryllis plants.

And don’t miss David Bier’s “Eight ‘F’s of Dance”:

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One Response to Nobody Does Vegas Like Dancer David Bier

  1. May 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Thank you, David, for sharing your adventures in Las Vegas with us! Great story!