EDM is a visual experience as much as it is an aural one. Dallas' Lights All Night, which has grown to be one of the largest music festivals in the state, features giant LED boards, complex lighting systems and a troupe of ethereal performers hired to enchant the crowd of ravers. Lady L Entertainment, a company started by Houston native Lydia Reyes, provides the troupe.
Reyes has been dancing since she was a child. She’s been a Kilgore College Rangerette, a Dallas Mavs dancer and an instructor in everything from ballet to hip-hop. While traveling to teach and perform, Reyes decided the production value in the Houston nightlife scene was lower than it could be, and she determined to change that.
In 2010, Reyes quit performing and created Lady L Entertainment. She began with only two dancers on her roster.
“It started out with just go-go dancers and grew into an array of different performers,” Reyes says. “Now we employ all forms of entertainment and specialty acts. We are a full-service nightlife entertainment and production company.”
In addition to booking go-go dancers, Lady L provides ambient dancers, burlesque performers, aerial entertainers and cosplay models.
The first event Reyes booked was a daytime party called Sundance at Hughes Hangar in Houston. The house-music event featured top DJs from the Houston area, and Reyes connected with promoter Mike Long from Nightculture. Soon, Reyes' company was being booked for events at Stereo Live Houston.
“That was a pivotal moment in my career. It opened so many doors and opportunities for us in the festival industry,” she says.
Reyes is very hands-on when it comes to finding talent and rarely hosts open auditions. Instead, she prefers to research performers and approach them on her own. Lady L's calling cards are its vivid makeup and extravagant costumes, which range from Disney fairy tale to Wes Craven horror. Everything is done in house.
Reyes runs a tight ship and has strict guidelines for her employees.
“The most difficult thing about starting Lady L was getting people to take me seriously. There is a stereotype about go-go dancers and nightlife entertainment in general. We had to break through those barriers by setting standards and expectations for the ladies that were never there before,” Reyes says.
"We have strict rules and zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol while working. The girls are highly respected by our clients and their peers because of this.”
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Lady L Entertainment became a part of the Lights All Night production three years ago, and the festival’s growth has helped Reyes' brand to expand beyond Houston.
“I approached LAN in its second year with no response,” she says. “Thankfully, through word of mouth, they found me. I love the concept of the festival and its artistic direction. We take promotional materials used for Lights All Night, the stage names and DJ lineup into consideration when choosing designs for costumes and props.”
In addition to freelance jobs, Lady L Entertainment has a standing residency with the Cle’ Group in Houston, which operates two venues, Cle’ and Spire. This year, Dallas' Design District will get a Cle' location. Lady L Entertainment will be along for the ride.
“There have been hurdles along the way, but we get through them together,” Reyes says. “Most instrumental to my growth has been my partner, Albert Rowan, and of course the ladies themselves. We all work together closely; it’s a family. Without them, I would be nothing. The best decision I made was never giving up.”