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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Adoring Burlesque

Burlesque PerthPerth women are flocking to sexy burlesque classes where they can flaunt real curves and embrace the feminine fashions of the 1940s and 50s.

Hundreds of women of all ages and backgrounds have learnt to shake and shimmy over the past two years, perfecting the art of tease in sugar-coated stripping classes.

Instructors from Perth based burlesque school Sugar Blue Burlesque report a big surge in interest and participation over the past four months.

Performances by professionals from Sugar Blue are now selling out, but while it might have been assumed that the crowds would be mostly male, that is not the case.

Women pack the burlesque audiences, keen to enjoy the mix of theatre, glamour and striptease.

Sugar Blue instructor Melanie Bruyer, whose stage name is A'dora Derriere, said the appeal centred on the fact that burlesque worked with the voluptuous shapes of many women's bodies, a booty and bust added to the sex appeal.

"The curvier you are the better, with more hips and shape you are better able to hit it, bump and grind it," Bruyer said.

Working a feather boa, garters and gloves gave a glamorous edge to the performance.

While popular culture demanded women be thin and petite, burlesque celebrated curves, and classes provided the modern day woman with a place where she could learn to feel confident about her figure.

Many women who take the burlesque course come in nervous and shy about performing in front of anyone and exposing parts of their bodies. By the end, most are pleased to perform a tease in front of an audience.

Participant Tina Gia, 24, stripped down to her pasties in a classic striptease on stage following a six week course.

"I just love the vintage glamour," she said. "I'm obsessed with it. It's so gorgeous, you can be so feminine or cheeky and funny."

She said burlesque was empowering.

"I just love being in a corset, and I just love the voluptuous ladies and their curves. You don't have to have what society deems a perfect body, you can be any shape and it is just gorgeous."

Bruyer said benefits experienced in the bedroom kept women coming back for more.

While pole dancing had similarities, it could be more threatening to women and fitter bodies fitted the style better, she said. It did not have the glamour and mystery performance aspects of the burlesque strip tease.
By Daile Pepper

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