Subscribe to my full feed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Burlesque stars compete in Cambridge

Burlesque Stars
Clothing was optional on Saturday as hundreds of burlesque fans and dancers from all across the country descended on the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge to show off their bump and grind. The competition was part of three days of festivities for the second annual Greater Boston Burlesque Exposition where event organizers offered classes that taught participants to twirl nipple tassels like the pros.

“We’ve wanted to go to a burlesque show for a long time, but they’re always at midnight,” said Somerville resident Karn Engelsgjerd, who went to a performance Saturday, where burlesque dancers from all across the country competed for coveted trophies, such as “Most Classic” and “Most Humorous” performances.

Renewed interest in burlesque dancing started earlier this decade when performers and dance troupes around the country started reviving performances of the fantasy-themed strip teases from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The famous dance has also been propelled into the mainstream by pop singing group and burlesque ensemble the Pussycat Dolls and burlesque star Dita Von Teese, the ex-wife of rocker Marilyn Manson. Locally, the Boston Babydolls burlesque troupe can be seen performing at rock club T.T. the Bear’s Place in Central Square.

Neo burlesque follows the same tradition of the art of the strip tease, complete with colorful costumes, lively music and strategically placed pasties. The only difference is that now women of all body types and bra sizes are invited to twirl nipple tassels on the stage.

“New burlesque is like combining the tattooed women of yesteryear and tossing in a little bit of geeks and freaks and honestly a lot of beautiful women,” said Gyna Rose Jewel, a burlesque legend who made a name for herself in the 1970s with the seductive way she took off her stockings and garter belt.

Gyna Rose Jewel and other legends from burlesque’s golden age, such as Dusty Summers, Satans Angel and April March, “the first lady of burlesque,” judged the high-energy burlesque competition, which included a high-energy strip tease with a tambourine to Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” and a homage to “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

“Miss Mitzy Cream,” a Toronto burlesque star, cleaned up at the competition, winning trophies from three burlesque legend judges.

“My goodness! Burlesque is the dreamiest thing ever and I’m honored to be here,” she said in a sugary voice reminiscent of the 1950s silver screen starlet she portrays on stage.

Her energetic show was filled with nipple tassel-twirling tricks, a feather boa and an onstage handcuff escape trick.

“I love burlesque more than I love my life!” said “Miss Mitzy Cream,” who refused to give her real name, but did reveal she works as a market researcher as her day job.

“Miss Mitzy Cream” and the other burlesque stars inspired at least one audience member to try burlesque.

“I’m interested in this sort of thing,” said Jill Sheperd, a London transplant who now lives in Boston, after the Saturday night competition. “I’d quite like to do it myself. I’m taking classes tomorrow.”

No comments: