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Friday, April 17, 2009

Burlesque Making Women Feel Empowered

Diamond Dolls BurlesqueIt's not about turning men on, but making women feel empowered, say a troupe of Nelson women who will be pulling on their frilly knickers and lacing up their bustiers for a burlesque show this weekend.

With the motto of "empowering women", the women of the Diamond Dolls Burlesque Troupe are on a mission to make women realise that sexiness comes in all shapes, forms and shades of mascara - as well as putting on a "deliciously tempting" night of comedy and theatrics.

Troupe member Jasmine (Lilly La Rouge) Turner says the troupe performed for the first time at the Phat Club's late-night fringe festival last October, and since then have had five shows in Nelson and Christchurch.

This weekend, the troupe's show features a "twisted love story" punctuated with singing, cabaret, comedy, dancing and a "little bit" of tease.

"Burlesque is the art of tease, but uses sexuality as a form of comedy and parody," Turner says.

The troupe are willing to adapt to whatever type of audience turns up. As well as encouraging the audience to dress up, they like to include the audience in the show, Turner says.

Thanks to the likes of American burlesque and fetish star Dita Von Teese, who has helped to popularise the genre's revival, the Diamond Dolls are enjoying being part of the new wave of modern burlesque.

Hairdresser Tania (Madam Kitty) Norris, whose outfit includes a pair of cat's ears and a whip, says the aim of the group is to break though any cultural ideas that women should not be overtly sexual.

Women should be strong and independent with both their careers and sexuality, she says.

The troupe members are slowly building up personal wardrobes to suit their individual characters, who include Cherry Pop, Miz Blackheart and the most recent addition, Foxy Gold.

Surprisingly, the troupe also has a male member, Eddie Mann, who for the show is known as Sergeant Sly Foxxx.

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