A local burlesque ensemble revealed expansion plans at recent performances to mark the troupe’s first decade of mounting empowering live spectacles on the Sunshine Coast.
Eileen Wright, who served as master of ceremonies for two-hour Sex Bomb shows last weekend, laid bare the bricks-and-mortar future of Diamond Avenue Studios. Diamond Avenue is the parent organization of Boudoir Rouge Burlesque and is co-owned by Wright and Rachel Holliday, whose stage name is Dallas Glittertush.
“We are proud to announce that we have a [physical] studio opening soon in Gibsons,” Wright said. “Expect burlesque dances. If you want to just dance and not get up on stage, we’re going to have some burlesque classes, maybe some aerial pole classes.”
The new studio will be located in Upper Gibsons, near the intersection of North Road and Kiwanis Way.
Wright exposed the news at the conclusion of successive anniversary spectacles held at the Roberts Creek Community Hall on May 19 and 20. “Can you handle the hotness of all of these people coming at you?” she asked before introducing the 20-dancer company of Sex Bomb. “If you don’t have some cold water, you should probably get some.”
The burlesque ensemble was founded in 2013 with seven dancers and four routines. The group has since quadrupled in size while welcoming adults of diverse ages, genders, sexualities, abilities and body types.
For dancer Paul Howley, who performs as Torch the Witch, involvement in Boudoir Rouge Burlesque offers its members more than an opportunity to tantalize spectators. “These two women [Wright and Holliday] have created something very important, especially in the wake of COVID — a community,” explained Howley. “The people in this company don’t just dance together, they care for each other, actively.”
Earlier this year, a Boudoir Rouge member experienced a concussion following an accident. Her fellow dancers stepped in to scrub her household and organize meals for her five children. The group maintains traditions like weekly ocean swims and social get-togethers. “It’s friendship without judgment,” added Howley.
The character of Sex Bomb shifted from an intimate, limited-capacity engagement on Friday (complete with nutritious intermission snacks) to a raucous, inclusive dance party on Saturday night.
Performers demonstrated an uncanny ability to coax ecstatic howls from audiences with gestures as simple as manicured fingers tracing the contours of a fishnet-bound thigh.
In other numbers, like an opening sequence featuring beach apparel, articles of clothing were flung from exuberantly-outstretched arms. The sassy spell of devil-may-care charisma is sustained until applause prompts winsome smiles from the performers.
Provocative burlesque was augmented by evocative artistry. Cedar Soleil, a dancer from the shíshálh Nation, led a tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women. Members of the company, dressed in red, stood stock-still, their muscles taut in vigil.
In another number, macho male stereotypes were systematically (and comically) deconstructed. Dancers stripped their workaday apparel to reveal sequinned bodysuits, and performed a symbolic emasculation involving tropical fruit.
Sex Bomb, said Howland, represents “10 years of challenging the status quo in a small town. It’s a big deal. Burlesque gives us a powerful vehicle to shape our own destiny, a stronger sense of connection to our own bodies and sexuality. “
More information about Boudoir Rouge Burlesque is available from the Diamond Avenue Studios website at diamondavenuestudios.com.