• September 8, 2014 - Canadian Museum For Human Rights 
(John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Glass negatives by photographer E.J.C. Smith, taken circa 1898. His photo store was located at 276 Smith Street in Winnipeg.
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  • A full moon becomes a blood moon as Canada experiences a full lunar eclipse, early Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

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  • May 5, 2014

    A peek behind the scenes of exotic dancing in Winnipeg

    Women like Aurora Sky are leered at, fantasized about, marginalized and shunned. They can be used up, exploited and spit out. But they can also be grossly misunderstood. At age 27, Aurora - the mother of two young boys - has been earning money as an exotic dancer with Superb Entertainment Agency for 10 years. Superb sends dancers like Aurora to perform at dozens of bars around Winnipeg and the rest of the province. Gisela Wuensch, 79, was one of those dancers, as was Robin Skolnik. Rick Irving and Mitch Fillion manage Superb Entertainment, and effectively all exotic dancing in Winnipeg. Photos by Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press

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  • Aurora Sky checks herself out in the mirror in a Chalet Hotel room before going on stage for the Miss Nude Winnipeg Contest at Teasers Burlesque Palace in early April.

    Aurora Sky checks herself out in the mirror in a Chalet Hotel room before going on stage for the Miss Nude Winnipeg Contest at Teasers Burlesque Palace in early April. Photo Store

  • While on stage Aurora says she often doesn't think of the men watching her dance, instead she thinks of

    While on stage Aurora says she often doesn't think of the men watching her dance, instead she thinks of "daily life things," like what she might make for dinner. Photo Store

  • Aurora struts on stage through the pieces of her discarded costume. Massive platform heeled shoes is a common theme in exotic dancer costumes.

    Aurora struts on stage through the pieces of her discarded costume. Massive platform heeled shoes is a common theme in exotic dancer costumes. Photo Store

  • Aurora says she learned how to do pole spinning work, like this inverted spin, just by

    Aurora says she learned how to do pole spinning work, like this inverted spin, just by "doing it." Photo Store

  • Aurora finishes curling her hair before a

    Aurora finishes curling her hair before a "jam day," while her son Darius - who is potty training - collects a new diaper. Aurora might perform at up to 10 bars in one day on a "jam day." Photo Store

  • On the second stop of

    On the second stop of "jam day" at the Assiniboine Gordon Inn on the Park. The second of six dances at six different bars on a Thursday in April. Photo Store

  • Aurora gets dressed in the bathroom at the Assiniboine Gordon before her 4pm show. Often the bathrooms of bars are used as makeshift dressing room for dancers.

    Aurora gets dressed in the bathroom at the Assiniboine Gordon before her 4pm show. Often the bathrooms of bars are used as makeshift dressing room for dancers. Photo Store

  • Aurora has been with her partner since she first started dancing. They met while she was a server at a bar, and started dating around the same time she started dancing. They have two sons, Darius, 2, and Gabriel, 5. Rob works as a soffit & fascia contractor on new home construction.

    Aurora has been with her partner since she first started dancing. They met while she was a server at a bar, and started dating around the same time she started dancing. They have two sons, Darius, 2, and Gabriel, 5. Rob works as a soffit & fascia contractor on new home construction. Photo Store

  • Aurora considers herself a stay-at-home mom. She works majority of weekends and and weeknights, with some day shows. But generally she's at home with her youngest son, and can drop her eldest off at school each day.

    Aurora considers herself a stay-at-home mom. She works majority of weekends and and weeknights, with some day shows. But generally she's at home with her youngest son, and can drop her eldest off at school each day. Photo Store

  • Aurora essentially works full-time hours dancing, depending on when Rick Irving of Superb Entertainment books her for shows.

    Aurora essentially works full-time hours dancing, depending on when Rick Irving of Superb Entertainment books her for shows. Photo Store

  • After her contest show at Teasers, Aurora returns to the hotel room to shower before heading home. Aurora didn't place in the contest.

    After her contest show at Teasers, Aurora returns to the hotel room to shower before heading home. Aurora didn't place in the contest. Photo Store

  • Rick Irving (right) with his partner Mitch Fillion in their living room. Irving runs Superb Entertainment Agency from an office space in the renovated White House on Portage Avenue. The agency books hundreds of dancers - mostly female - to dozens of bars around Winnipeg and other parts of the province.

    Rick Irving (right) with his partner Mitch Fillion in their living room. Irving runs Superb Entertainment Agency from an office space in the renovated White House on Portage Avenue. The agency books hundreds of dancers - mostly female - to dozens of bars around Winnipeg and other parts of the province. Photo Store

  • Robin Skolnik is a former dancer and the owner of the Chalet Hotel and Teaser's Burlesque Palace. She retired from exotic dancing with Superb in 2007 to manage the now closed Sin City, before buying the Chalet Hotel. Skolnik was a feature dancer performing elaborate routines with swings, strobe lights and a $2,000 Lord of the Rings costume.

    Robin Skolnik is a former dancer and the owner of the Chalet Hotel and Teaser's Burlesque Palace. She retired from exotic dancing with Superb in 2007 to manage the now closed Sin City, before buying the Chalet Hotel. Skolnik was a feature dancer performing elaborate routines with swings, strobe lights and a $2,000 Lord of the Rings costume. Photo Store

  • Gisela Wuensch, 80, is a former dancer who worked for Rick Irving. She now lives in Beausejour, and her trailer home is covered with photos of Elvis in every room.

    Gisela Wuensch, 80, is a former dancer who worked for Rick Irving. She now lives in Beausejour, and her trailer home is covered with photos of Elvis in every room. Photo Store

  • Photos of Gisela Wuensch from her dancing days in decades past.

    Photos of Gisela Wuensch from her dancing days in decades past. Photo Store

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