The Fourth of July is all about red, white, and boobs. Ahem. I mean, blue? Nah. Let’s stick to boobs – because they’re gorgeous and don’t get enough credit as being part of the divine path to existence.
On Monday, July 3 The Bohemian Burlesque Society is going to exalt the female and male forms in “The Art of Seduction” at the Henry Strater Theatre, 699 Main Ave. There’ll be dancing in pairs, dancing for stares, gymnast flair, elegant pole dancing, and velvet sounds that rub and rouse. Tickets range from $25 to $50 – and you’re gonna wanna spring for those VIP seats closer to the dizzying hips, bending legs, and shimmy action. Besides front row seats, VIP tix include a pre-show in the Strater’s Pullman Room with a complimentary sexy beverage and hors d’oeurvres.
Everyone’s gonna wanna stick around after the main show. There’s a DJ dance party with the cast till 2 a.m.
DGO talked to members of The Bohemian Burlesque Society to get to know why they perform and love burlesque. Here’s what they had to say:
Healing the masses through the artsOur motto is, “Healing the masses through arts and entertainment.” We want to use comedy, sex, all these different avenues to create change. We are also an outlet so that anyone who wants to come and perform can do so. The way that I formed this group was by putting an ad on Craigslist and posters around town and that’s how this troupe came to be. It’s been a collaboration of 20 people and everyone has something unique to offer.
As far as the Bohemian, we’re a nonprofit. We’re looking forward to starting a lot more community events, getting more going with the LGBT crowd, trying to find a good variety between all types of performers. We are looking forward to also do classes and a whole school of burlesque.
It is an art form. It can transform people. I have seen people come in and their lives get shaken up and gives you back to yourself. It’s amazing to see the transformation of a thought to a creation to an action. I love performing. I love dancing. It’s a way of me creating my own original art piece in that form.
Ms. Lola Jean, founder of The Bohemian Burlesque Society“Not just for ‘special theater people’”Burlesque is a space to feel sexy and feminine and dance and still feel powerful. I want it to become the norm that women can dance and perform in these ways, and for other women to see that any woman can do this. I love that this is not just for “special theater people” who’ve been doing it their whole lives.
Pole dancing can happen outside of a strip club. It can be powerful. Women of all shapes, sizes, ages can do it. So can women who have kids. They can get up on a stage and really give their heart.
Sarah Wolf, owner of Re Wild Pole Studio in Pagosa SpringsCool crowds and creative typesI got involved as a right hand, just to help out. I do websites and graphic design. I really liked the old movie with Liza Minnelli, “Cabaret” and I recently watched “Burlesque,” and I’m stoked about it. I love the speakeasy-style environment and wanted to get involved. I’ll be performing small parts in a lot of different acts. Burlesque is so beautiful. Everyone’s so talented and excited and creative. It’s different and sensual and attracts a certain kind of cool crowd.
Lee Inclusive, sensual spaceWell, I really like – especially – this style of burlesque, because it isn’t just about being a sexy lady mimicking 1800s sexiness. It’s all encompassing. It includes the LGBTQ community and brings in a little bit of everybody. We have performers of all different backgrounds, all different shapes and sizes.
For me, it helps me embrace my sensual side. It makes it OK to wear things like this [reveals fabulous fishnet stocking] on stage, in front of a bunch of people and no one’s yelling, “Go put on some pants,” or “Drop 20 pounds.” It’s freeing and a safe zone. It’s a family.
I’ve always loved theater and this helps balance out the farm work I do, which can be like drudgery and hot and gross, but this I can just come and play.
PandoraTalented but introvertedI dance really well in private, but I’m super shy. Burlesque is a way to get out of my comfort zone ... This is more than just a sexy dance. Burlesque is a lot about comedy and more than just shaking what you got.
Hugh Jazz Peter Accidental burlesquer Burlesque, to me, is the epitome of sensuality and performance. It’s so beautiful. I didn’t ever intend to be a performer but I couldn’t help it. I’ve done a little belly dancing in the past, but my skills are not as a dancer. I’ve never really performed or even thought I would ever be on stage. I was more involved behind the scenes doing production and web development. This will be my first show ever.
I saw all these amazing artists and performers doing their thing and I thought, “Maybe I’ll just try to come close to being a part of that and see how I do.” Participating is even more fun than seeing it which is already amazing.
Holly Showcasing your heartThe reason why I perform burlesque is because it’s an unconventional view of social norms, which I really appreciate. It’s a colorful mix of people and very inclusive. It’s very loving and body-image positive. I think it’s classy and taps into something primal and carnal.
It also showcases everybody for their individual talent and makes everyone a star. That’s definite something to love in a world where people get passed over, quite often.
Bettie KokoFinding what makes you feel beautifulI’m really new to burlesque. I’ve never done it before. I’m enjoying pushing myself out of my comfort zone. It’s a big stretch for me. I have traditionally done belly dance and other kinds of dance, but this is a completely different style. What I’m discovering is that it is really empowering to do these sensual moves that you would really never do in any other performance.
It’s not about dancing to please other people. It’s about embracing the beauty of your form and highlighting your talents and what makes you feel beautiful.
Starr L’AmourFrom audience member to MCI’ve always been a Durango local who has supported theater like the Salt Fire Circus, the Yard Dog Roadshow, Black and Blue Burlesque. This is the first time someone invited me to come check out a casting call and I went from being like, “Eh, maybe I’ll be a stagehand to being the MC.”
The whole thing is people being people. Fifi has been so wonderful about letting people be comfortable and stretch as far as they want, to be as risqué or reserved as they would like. It’s a very open, everybody-can-be-a-part-of-it act.
WilsonInterviews have been edited and condensed for clarity. Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer