Bur­lesque beats the blues

The dance form is good for your body and soul and is a huge amount of fun, writes BIANCA COLE­MAN

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

ONE OF the best things I have done this year is take up bur­lesque classes. It helps women – and men – feel sexy and glam­orous and I’ve made some won­der­ful new friends.

But as the puz­zled Uber driv­ers al­ways ask me when they pick me up af­ter class, “What is bur­lesque?” It’s more per­for­mance art than danc­ing, which is use­ful for some­one with two left feet, although there are chore­ographed rou­tines to learn. It’s fun and cheeky and sexy and, yes, most of the per­form­ers will re­move items of cloth­ing, but it’s not only about strip­ping. It’s less about re­veal­ing and more about choosing what you con­ceal.

Classy, se­duc­tive and con­tain­ing a sub­stan­tial comedic el­e­ment a lot of the time, bur­lesque is the­atri­cal as dancers de­velop char­ac­ters, per­sonas and cos­tumes. It’s feather boas, high heels, glit­ter, stock­ings, gloves, bumps, grinds, and struts. And if you want to find out what it’s all about you need to di­arise next Satur­day for the sec­ond Grand Ex­hi­bi­tion.

Be­sides a spec­tac­u­lar show fea­tur­ing solo and troupe per­for­mances by nearly 50 lovely ladies (and one man), the event will have a mar­ket where you can shop for frills and fin­ery, food ven­dors and a bar. All funds raised go di­rectly to Rape Cri­sis Cape Town Trust.

“I per­son­ally know far too many women who have been vic­tims of rape, sex­ual abuse and as­sault. Many women live in con­stant fear of at­tack and I be­lieve bur­lesque is the ideal medium for women to take back their power and au­ton­omy over their bod­ies,” said Te­nille Lin­d­eque-Joshua aka Lady Mag­no­lia, who con­cep­tu­alised the event.

“As bur­lesque dancers, we cel­e­brate the beauty and strength of our bod­ies and our sex­u­al­ity and I feel that it is our duty to try to ex­tend that cel­e­bra­tion be­yond our im­me­di­ate com­mu­nity.”

Lady Mag­no­lia also hosts the Cape Town leg of World Belly Dance Day, which has raised more than R120 000 for char­ity over the last eight years. In­spired by this global event, the in­ten­tion is to unite bur­lesque dancers around the world, and cel­e­brate bur­lesque on the first week­end in Au­gust an­nu­ally.

The first Grand Ex­hi­bi­tion events took place in Cape Town and Jo­han­nes­burg last year and to­gether raised more than R48 000 for Rape Cri­sis and the Breast Health Foun­da­tion. This year they hope to equal or bet­ter those fig­ures.

“Bur­lesque is now at that point where the com­mu­nity is just start­ing to get big enough to cre­ate an event like this,” said Lady Mag­no­lia. “Apart from rais­ing funds it can bring ev­ery­body to­gether. Be­cause it’s a lot of dif­fer­ent bur­lesque per­form­ers, we also reach a wider au­di­ence as each of them has their fol­low­ers.”

Upon ar­rival, you will first walk through the mar­ket. There will be ta­bles which you can claim to sit down for some­thing to eat and drink and from which you can also watch the show. “Bur­lesque works best when peo­ple feel like they can get in­volved,” said Lady Mag­no­lia. In ad­di­tion there will be theatre seat­ing and a bal­cony for your view­ing plea­sure. Get there early for a good spot as seat­ing is un­re­served.

Artists work­ing in dif­fer­ent me­dia who use bur­lesque as an in­spi­ra­tion for their work will be ex­hibit­ing and 10 of th­ese pieces will be auc­tioned (again, money raised goes to Rape Cri­sis). There will be an op­por­tu­nity to have your por­trait done in bur­lesque style. Be­sides all the bur­lesque ac­cou­trements your heart de­sires, you’ll also be able to buy pam­per prod­ucts like shim­mery body lo­tions.

“Once ev­ery­one is seated, the show will be­gin with Pique-aboo elec­tro swing band to set the tone and warm ev­ery­one up. Then there are between 40 and 50 per­form­ers. The big groups are Black Orchid and the Rouge Re­vue and Dance Stu­dio Cape Town will be mak­ing their bur­lesque de­but,” said Lady Mag­no­lia. “And then a num­ber of solo artists in­clud­ing Scar-lit Hearts, Kitty Fay who has a kind of gothic slant and Dear James from Black Orchid who will be the only male.” The Grand Ex­hi­bi­tion – An in­ter­na­tional Bur­lesque Ben­e­fit takes place on Satur­day at City Bowl Mar­ket on Hope, 14 Hope Street, Gar­dens.

Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 8pm and tick­ets are R150 through Quicket, where you also have the op­por­tu­nity to make an ad­di­tional do­na­tion to Rape Cri­sis as well as buy posters and lucky draw tick­ets to win one of two fab­u­lous ham­pers filled with good­ies val­ued at nearly R2 000.

For more in­for­ma­tion email rougere­vue@gmail.com, or go to www.th­er­ougere­vue.co.za.

PIC­TURE: RUBY RED DOOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Baby Ray from the Rouge Re­vue Bur­lesque Com­pany in full stride.

PIC­TURE: MISS HEP­BURN PHOTOGRAPHY

Black Orchid Bur­lesque troupe.

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