LA Knockers's Blog

Los Angeles dancers

Posts Tagged ‘Yana Nirvana

L. A. Knockers

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LA Knockers: Marilyn, Jennifer, Yana

June 22, 2010

Miracles of the Internet age!

Yesterday, I searched Google for LA Knockers and found 4 wonderful videos on You Tube, of this amazing dance group, lovingly edited by Marilyn Corwin, the curly hair blond bombshell I fondly remember.

I logged on to Facebook and found her email, I wrote her a message and she CALLED ME!

Not only that, but she put me in touch with LA Knockers creator and choreographer, my old friend Jennifer Stace.  She is now living in Baja California, close to the other stunning dancer, Yana Nirvana!

I used to photograph these wonderful girls in all kinds of fantastic attires and dance poses, when I was a photo-journalist living in Hollywood, starting from 1976 until 1984.

I will now edit all these images, select my favorites and post them on this blog.

I hope lots of old and new fans will find this and leave their comments.

Thanks!

Elisa Leonelli, photographer (see About LA Knockers page for more info)

And now enjoy the first LA Knockers video (more to come as  you scroll down)

Written by laknockers

July 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm

L. A. Knockers first photo session

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Yana, Jennifer, Marilyn

June 24, 2010

I first saw the LA Knockers perform live at the Starwood in 1976, and I was – literally – knocked out by their exciting dance energy.

So I immediately asked Jennifer if we could do a photo sessions, because I had just started working as a photo-journalist and I was contributing to the theater section of the Italian magazines TEMPO and ESPRESSO. They wanted me to send photographs and text about visually interesting and risqué performers.

I didn’t even have a studio yet at the time, so a borrowed the space from my photographer friend Ave Pildas, and we did various set-ups for the layout: red tutus against a huge dark grey backdrop, white leotards against white, black costumes on red, also, in an outdoor location by the fire-escape, a cheerleaders theme, with football helmet and pom-pons.

Jennifer, Marilyn, Yana

Jennifer, Marilyn, Yana

Yana, Jennifer, Marilyn

Jennifer, Marilyn and Yana even posed for me in the costumes for their movie CINDERELLA, as the stepmother and stepsisters Marbella and Drucella.

We want to know if you’re checking us out, log on to our blog, so leave a comment with your email and we’ll send you the Cinderella photo!

Written by laknockers

July 3, 2010 at 11:07 pm

L. A. Knockers in motion

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Jennifer, Patti, Becky, Lisa, Eileen, Yana

July 9, 2010

In November 1980 we did another photo session in my Hollywood studio to create updated publicity shots for the new line-up.  Some of the costumes are familiar, a few of the dancers have changed.
Kim Blank and Kimberlee Carlson are gone (don’t worry, they will be back, as will Marilyn Corwin), but Yana Nirvana is once again in the L.A. Knockers.
Two new dancers have been added.  Spot them in the revised costumes for the “Women” song by the Village People:
Jennifer Stace as Boxer, Patti Nelson as Military Cadet, Becky Jordan as Cowboy, Lisa Durazo as Sailor, Eileen Molloy as Military Police, Yana Nirvana as Baseball player.

This is the description with the You Tube videos, and Part 2.

The L.A. Knockers – a dynamite female cabaret dance ensemble of the 70’s – 80’s toured the U.S., Japan, and Canada appearing on stage, in films, commercials and videos. Street dances- locking-waacking-disco-funk-ballroom-jazz choreographed and stylized by creator and director, Jennifer Stace and featured Yana Nirvana, Marilyn Corwin, Kimberlee Carlson, Kim Blank, Lissa Kastin, Denice Polk, Joan Wulfsohn, Becky Jordan, Susan Lonergan, Eileen Molloy, Lisa Lecover, Lisa Durazo. Editing by MARILYN CORWIN

L.A. Knockers and Joan

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Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa. Becky, Jennifer, Joan

July 9, 2010

Here are the L. A. Knockers in their trademark black tights and fishnet tops for the notorious dance number “It ain’t the Meat, it’s the Motion”: Patti Nelson, Eileen Molloy, Yana Nirvana, Lisa Durazo, Becky Jordan.
Sitting in front choreographer Jennifer Stace and artistic advisor Joan Wolfsohn.
In her upcoming autobiography, “The Philosopher’s Daughter”, Jennifer talks about meeting Joan, then a ballet teacher at Dupree’s Dance Academy, in the early 70s; Joan introduced Jennifer to one of her students, the striking Yana Nirvana, and the L.A. Knockers were born.  We can’t wait to read the whole exciting story when this book is published.

And here’s the line-up, look at those legs!

Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa, Becky

L.A. Knockers act out

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Eileen, Yana, Jennifer, Lisa, Patti, Becky

July 9, 2010

In this set-up “Acting Out” in the back row: Eileen Molloy, Yana Nirvana, Jennifer Stace in white leotards and feathered boas for the dance number  “Vision Aurora”, in the front row: Lisa Durazo, Patti Nelson, Becky Jordan in pink leotards for “Love Vibrations”.

One last set-up.  Standing in the back:  Eileen Molloy, Yana Nirvana, Becky Jordan, in black costumes for the dance number “Have a Cigar”.  Kneeling in front with wigs: Lisa Durazo, Patti Nelson for the punk number “Rock Lobster”.

Eileen, Yana, Becky, Lisa, Patti

Patti, Lisa

Yana Nirvana

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Yana as Valkyrie

July 12, 2010

Look at this photo session we did with Yana Nirvana in October 1983, read what I wrote to accompany the layout!

“Who is this Valkyrie let out of a German mythology comic book? It’s Yana Nirvana doing her takeoff of a female bodybuilder.
Aerobic dancer, stand-up comic, health and fitness writer, bodybuilder … Ms. Nirvana is performing at GIO’S Cabaret in Los Angeles with the L.A. KNOCKERS, the outrageous all girls dance group.

Yana

Yana

Written by laknockers

June 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

L.A. Knockers on Melrose

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Jennifer, Lissa, Yana

July 21, 2010

Today I was editing my early photos of theater performances, and found snapshots of the L.A. Knockers attending the first Melrose Street Festival organized by Theater Row, May 16, 1976.
This is actually when I first met them, liked what I saw, and we organized that studio session that I talked about in the beginning.
See Lissa Kastin, one the five original Knockers, standing between Jennifer Stace and Yana Nirvana.  Marilyn Corwin was also there, and so was Denise Polk.

LA Knockers headshots

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Jennifer

Yana

July 27, 2010

After becoming friends with Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin and Yana Nirvana, during our first photos session in 1976, they asked me if I could take B&W headshots of them, because they were needed to print 8x10s for their work as dancers and actresses.

I readily complied and we shot 2 rolls of negative film.

Here are some of the results, my favorite frames.

Marilyn

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Marilyn Corwin

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Marilyn

July 28, 2010

Marilyn sent us these thoughts

I always felt like was a little too funky to  fit in with my blonde hair blue-eyed California girl image… it wasn’t until I experienced Jennifer teaching her creative, outrageously funky dance moves and fun combinations to James Brown, Rufus and soul tunes that I found my calling. Her students resembled a mix of sorority girls, from Chicago to Beverly Hills.   I noticed a blonde blue-eyed ice skater, Natalie, doing these robot and locking moves alongside a girl I thought I had watched  on Soul Train, Lissa. Yana was a tall athletic blonde, striking and  unusual.  Adding to the eclectic mix of beauties was Denice, a curly-haired dancer from UCLA, perhaps a princess type but certainly not in attitude.  It was so exciting watching these white Girls get down and funky in their striped knee socks, knickers pants, sport tops and hats.  I thought “I want to do that.” Jennifer’s class was a blast!  Her work always left room for individual self expression. What a great fit!  After class Jennifer approached me and asked if I was interested in joining her company.
From Tokyo to Las Vegas, with Dick Clark and Frank Zappa, the L A Knockers have been turning heads  and raising eyebrows, in films, commercials, on stage  and television, since the mid seventies, with their unmistakable trend-setting rule-breaking fashion styles.

Were we chicks and babes?  Never!  Strong women and individuals?  Always! We ARE the L A Knockers!

Read about Marilyn’s credits as an actress, dancer and choreographer in her IMDB biography.

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Cinderella

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Yana, Jennifer, Marilyn

August 7, 2010

Well, nobody sent us a request to see this old photo, so here it is, a blast from the past (1976).  Jennifer Doyle as Stepmother, Marilyn Corwin as Marbella, Yana Nirvana as Drucella, the wicked stepsisters in this X rated movie version of the classic fairytale, where Cinderella gets help from her “fairy” godmother to become sexier and win over Prince Charming.
You can actually purchase the DVD from Flixster if you’re curious.

The L.A. Knockers appeared in several film and television projects, separately and together.  Marilyn Corwin sent us a funny video, Dancers on John Paragon of Comedy Show, where Marilyn, Yana Nirvana, Becky Jordan, Kimberlee Carlson, Lisa LeCover (Kessler), Liz Brody are dancing in a number about “boobs”, “jugs” “knockers”.

Many former Knockers still work as professional actresses, dancers and choreographers. Others wrote books and started businesses.

Yana Nirvana is creating art sculptures, see slideshow at yananirvana.com

Joan Wulfshon runs a Cellular Recall Healing Center in the Pacific Palisades. Take a look at the website cellularrecalltherapy.com
She has written a book “The Child is not Dead”, read about it on this website: thechildisnotdead.com

Dee Dee Rescher still works as an actress, she has recently started a Chili Pepper sauce business with her husband George. Enjoy their fun website: organicoriginals.org

Suzi Lonergan teaches Pilates. She has made a video, that you can order on her website suzilonergan.com

Kim Blank teaches dance and fitness classes in Los Angeles. Find a description of classes and schedule on her website kimblank.com

Please, all of you Knockers out there, send us your news, tells us what you’re up to now!

Love and thanks
Elisa Leonelli

P.S. I have written a book about Robert Redford. robertredfordamericanwest.com

LA Knockers studio 1976

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LA Knockers 1976. Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, Yana Nirvana

LA Knockers 1976. Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, Yana Nirvana

June 12, 2015

Welcome back, we have some new photos for YOU!
I am scanning a best selection of my color slides for archival purposes, at higher resolution.  So I am revisiting my extensive photographic coverage of the LA Knockers, and choosing those images that I feel are worth preserving for posterity in digital format.  The original transparencies will also be saved.
Here’s 2 additional poses from that first studio session of 1976.
Watch Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, and Yana Nirvana kick up their heels and shoot from the hip!

LA Knockers 1976. Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, Yana Nirvana

LA Knockers 1976. Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, Yana Nirvana

Written by laknockers

June 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Italian blog

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 Jennifer, Patti, Becky, Lisa, Eileen, Yana

Jennifer, Patti, Becky, Lisa, Eileen, Yana

July 20, 2015

An Italian blog just published the story of my career, with advice for young people on how to make it in another country.  I made sure that the LA Knockers were mentioned, with a photo of those wonderful girls, and their names too!  I picked the lineup of a November 1980 photo session in my studio. Jennifer Stace as Boxer, Patti Nelson as Military Cadet, Becky Jordan as Cowboy, Lisa Durazo as Sailor, Eileen Molloy as Military Police, Yana Nirvana as Baseball player.

See the earlier post on this blog, and the 2013 post.

See the third chapter of my career, if you read Italian.

For those who don’t, I created a website, Elisa Leonelli-My Career, with English translation.

Written by laknockers

June 16, 2010 at 4:20 am

Black on Red 1980

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Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa, Becky, Jennifer, Joan

Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa, Becky, Jennifer, Joan

July 21, 2015

As I continue to scan more photos of the LA Knockers for my archives, I chose another pose of this line-up for the song “It ain’t the Meat, it’s the Motion” with Jennifer Stace kneeling next to Joan Wolfsohn, standing Patti Nelson, Eileen Molloy, Yana Nirvana, Lisa Durazo, Becky Jordan.  Also from November 1980.
See the earlier post.

At that November 1980 photo session, I also took one roll of 120mm film with my Hasselblad.   See below.

Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa, Becky, Jennifer, Joan

Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa, Becky, Jennifer, Joan

White and Pink 1980

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Becky, Patti, Jennifer,  Yana, Eileen, Lisa

Becky, Patti, Jennifer, Yana, Eileen, Lisa

July 22, 2015

See those girls “Acting Out” in my studio dressed in white and pink, with gloves and feather boas. Becky Jordan, Patti Nelson, Jennifer Stace, Yana Nirvana, Eileen Molloy, Lisa Durazo.

See earlier post.

And the B&W version, a different pose: Eileen Molloy, Becky Jordan, Yana Nirvana, Jennifer Stace, (kneeling) Lisa Durazo, Becky Jordan.

Eileen, Patti, Yana, Jennifer, Lisa, Becky

Eileen, Patti, Yana, Jennifer, Lisa, Becky

Written by laknockers

June 16, 2010 at 4:00 am