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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Burlesque girls put sketchers on a learning curve

Dr Sketchy's BurlesqueMolly Crabapple, an illustrator for The New York Times, was disillusioned with the Big Apple's life drawing classes. She longed for romanticism and sexiness - what she describes as the "booze-and-hot-chicks fantasy" that led her to enroll in art school.

Five years ago she set up Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School, a life drawing club where cabaret meets art school, and burlesque acts pose, scantily-clad and feathered.

"Two years of twisting my back for 15 bucks an hour as an artist's model convinced me that modern sketch classes weren't nearly as sexy as they were cracked up to be," Crabapple said. "I wanted a sketch class that jived with my daydreams and rewarded models for their talent."

The concept is now found in 16 cities, with a Dr Sketchy's launching in Sydney on Tuesday and another to follow in Brisbane. The schools replace silent models with "bodacious burlesque queens". The promoter and booking agent Jac Bowie believes there is a demand for risque entertainment fused with arts.

Bowie believes her Burlesque Ball, hosted by Bessie Bardot last year, pushed the art form into the mainstream. "People are familiar with Dita von Teese and they are screaming out for more, different entertainment," she said.

Hula hooper and theater performer Kira Carden (aka Kira from Hu La La), will be a regular. As she contorts her body within a slinky of 40 hoops, gyrating in a cherry bikini, she bats her gold-flecked lids and fake eyelashes: sexy, skillful and mischievous.

"Burlesque girls are a bit curvy and with all the feathers and everything, it will be great," Carden said. "I can't wait to see everybody's pictures."

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