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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Burlesque Dancer vs Lumberjack on Wife Swap

sarina mcdonaldBy day, Ravenna Black is a mother, wife and real estate agent. By night, a burlesque dancer.

Tonight, she'll also be a reality television star.

Ravenna Black (her burlesque stage name) — her husband and two sons will appear on the ABC television show "Wife Swap."

The show takes two women — whose families have vastly different values — and asks them to switch places for two weeks. Each episode documents the drama that results when the husband and the kids are forced to adjust to a new matriarch in the family.

Ravenna Black, heard about the show through her friends in the online community of burlesque dancers.

Aside from an adventure that "looked like a heck of a ride," she said the show and accompanying publicity would help get the word out about her night job and some of her charity work.

"I was really hoping to raise public awareness of what I do," she said of burlesque dancing.

It's a unique American art form that celebrates sexuality in a playful, respectful way that is a "step back" from the "in your face sexuality that has become the norm," she said.

She also hopes to bring attention to the Pinup Angels, a Seattle-based group of pinup models who send handmade care packages to troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The families in this week's swap are clearly different.

Ravenna Black went to upstate New York to live with the Robarge family. They are involved in lumberjack competitions, and the parents are more conservative in the discussion of the birds and bees.

Andrea Robarge comes to live with Dan and sons in a musical household that's more candid and celebrates independence.

Though each family experienced struggles, it wasn't all oil and water.

Much of the Robarge family's activities revolve around husband Wally's professional lumberjack competitions, and the Blacks' lives revolve around Ravenna's trips around the country to burlesque events.

Despite the different values, "there were a lot of similarities there," Ravenna Black said.

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