In the days prior to Thanksgiving break, one on-campus group saw the culmination of a semester full of hard work and rehearsal after rehearsal…as well as plenty of fittings for pasties. The Burlesque club, now in its fifth year of operation, put on its fall show, christened “Risqué Business: A Cheeky Affair”. The show took place in St. Mary’s Hall for three performances over three nights, Friday Nov. 18-Sunday Nov. 20.
The performances were full of exhilarating choreography, costumes, and confetti, as has become tradition for Burlesque. Mistresses of Ceremonies, going by their stage names Sweet Karma and Betty Bombshell, were charismatic to the point of show-stealing as they introduced each dancer, alongside the ever-present stage kittens. For those unfamiliar with the Burlesque show, the kittens perform stagehand duties (while in lingerie, of course) as well as serve as background or supplementary dancers in the main performances. The kittens also performed a halftime-dance at Intermission to Britney Spears’ “Toxic.”
Burlesque has become known for its performances that lean toward the serious, with subjects that step over into the realm of social commentary. This fall’s show featured some notable numbers like a dance set to Melanie Martinez’ “Dollhouse”, by Burlesque performer Full Force Stiletto, which portrayed the playacting of the traditional nuclear family as well as a blurring of traditional gender roles. Full Force Stiletto, while of course wearing killer heels, stepped in and out of an oversized picture frame that surrounded the large cast of dancers making up the gender-bending family portrait on stage.
Gender was also a key point in performer H2Ho’s number set to “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain—H2Ho began the performance in long wig and skirt, following the lessons of an etiquette coach played by a fellow performer. They soon did a quick-change into a men’s suit, whipping off the wig to reveal short hair, before stripping into a final costume that ended somewhere in between on the gender spectrum.
But for the most part, this semester’s show veered towards the more lighthearted and playful, starting with the evening’s opening number by dancer Carnewhore, who performed a funny rendition of “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” from the CW TV show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. (As Carnewhore got a match on Tinder, put down her barrel of cheese puffs, and sniffed a bra to make sure it was clean enough to wear out, those in the audience who could relate were cracking up.) Performer Moho Jojo’s skit was Grey’s-Anatomy-themed, involving a huge number of other dancers and kittens all in scrubs.
Overall the show maintained a high, high energy for its full two-hour runtime. “The show was exactly what we wanted it to be!,” said Burlesque co-President and performer, who goes by the stage name The Clam. “We got to share something cool that we made with friends and family, and we had a lot of fun together. We had great audiences all three nights and it was a super high energy show. We have so much creativity in the group and this semester’s performers had really unique ideas!”
Burlesque Club does a performance in both the fall and the spring, so if you missed this semester’s, you’re in luck. “Fall semester shows feature returning performers, and things usually go pretty smoothly with the pros!,” said The Clam. “I can’t wait to see what the new performers and seniors create in the spring!”