Showgirl Story Time: What is a “Tiller” girl?

Welcome to another Showgirl Story Time!! In this video, I am defining “Tiller.” All dancers had a love/hate relationship with the number called Tiller, so here I am giving a little background about it! The Tiller number in Jubilee was a tribute to the Tiller Girls, who are a world-famous troupe of precision dancers that existed in the late 1800s through the mid 1900s.

We talk a bit about it in tomorrow’s episode, Running off to join the circus.

I will be keeping up with defining terms used during the podcast in these videos throughout the year. If you have any questions about any of the terms we use, just shoot me a message or comment in the post with the podcast link. 

Enjoy this video!
? Athena

Crown and body chain by Athena and Phelyx
Feathers, bra, g string and hair by Athena

Footage of the original Tiller Girls


Hey there and welcome to another Showgirl Story Time. Today I’m going to talk about Tiller, because it’s come up in a couple of interviews that I’ve had for my podcast Showgirls Life podcast. So I want to kind of explain what Tiller is.

Tiller was a number in Jubilee, that we did. It is a precision dance number, very similar to what the Rockettes do today. And the reason it’s called Tiller is because it was a tribute to the Tiller girls, which was the first famous nationwide, famous precision dance troupe. In the early, mid early to mid 1900s started by a man named John Tiller and they were called the Tiller girls, and there are actually videos on YouTube that you can look up to see what the Tiller girls did but they did a lot of kicks. So, the tiller number in Jubilee was our tribute to them, and to America.

So, we loved, I did, I loved performing this number on special holidays like July 4 and Flag Day, any anything that was like a national patriotic holiday. Veterans Day, we did a performance for the USO, which was fun, in front of an audience of like 5000 people. We just did Tiller and it was friggin awesome. We didn’t know how big the audience was until they finally after we got done doing our kick line, and we’re like yeah we just slayed it, and then they lit up the whole auditorium and I was like, holy crap is the biggest audience I’ve ever performed for. So that was that was a lot of fun. And there’s a picture of a bunch of us Tiller girls, I will put up, because it’s all over the internet now. We were backstage at the gosh what was the, I think it was a Mandalay Bay, there’s a huge arena or something which is huge.

So, Tiller costumes that were designed by Pete Menefee, and it was. No offense to the designer, but a god awful polyester unitard with matching shoes. And when I say it was God awful it was just because hello we lived in the desert, and it was hot, and we just put on this polyester, long sleeve with white caps, white collar and blue and white was stri-uh was star spangled, and then a little red bow tie, and then our little Derby hat. Or, maybe as a bowler, It’s a bowler, hat sorry. And so it was just very uncomfortable to put on when you’re like really hot in the dead of summer. And the shoes were extremely uncomfortable for some reason probably because they were covered in the exact same fabric as the unitard, so they were polyester covered shoes that were this very specific blue. And that was Tiller blue, and that was that was the costume.

But it was a lot of fun to perform, especially when the audience really got involved. And I just counted today, because I didn’t know this, but there were 21 kicks in that entire number. And I thought I remembered the choreography, I don’t quite remember the choreography.

All right. That was Tiller, so if you hear the word Tiller mentioned, that’s what we’re talking about in my Showgirls Life podcast. Be check it out, go to showgirls dot life slash podcast and you’ll see the latest episodes. I’ll see all of you listening soon. Enjoy.

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