With 21 shows under its belt, Kamloops Burlesque looks back on a year and a half of success and forward to new ventures, including a local burlesque class.
Corrie Tucker, also known as Miss Coco Creme, co-produces Kamloops Burlesque with Caroline Dick, who plays Lizzie Borden. Both women have been involved since February 2011.
“Our big goal for this year is to have a way of helping people get on our stage and having a way of helping people be more involved in our community,” Tucker said.
“I’m looking at starting up some burlesque classes starting in September, as a way to get people out . . . and eventually start being performers themselves.”
Tricks like twirling pasties and peeling off gloves are what come to mind with burlesque, but Tucker said the most important parts to her are body confidence, self-awareness, intention and persona.
“(Burlesque) speaks a lot to sexual expression and sexual freedom, and people going up onstage and saying, you know, hey I’m awesome,” said Dick. “I’m a beautiful person and I’m here to show everybody I’m not ashamed of who I am.”
She said burlesque is about celebrating different bodies.
It must be working, because the show has seen regular crowds of about 100 since starting in January 2011.
Audiences are mainly women, from a diverse array of backgrounds. Dick said that recently though more men are attending.
“It was nothing that I’d ever come across in Kamloops before,” said both Dick and Tucker of burlesque performance.
“It’s still a pretty new thing. I mean it’s obviously a fairly old means of entertaining people, but . . . it’s probably only been in the last half a decade that it’s been building back up again.”
Organizers have been networking with other performers across the province and in Seattle, where some of them attended the burlesque BurlyCon conference.
“We’re getting a lot of really positive feedback from the burlesque community at large,” said Tucker.
The Kamloops troupe boasts about 20 regular performers with a handful of other folks who work backstage.
“We’re starting to get a reputation with a lot of (other) cities in B.C. as being a nice show to take part in.”
More out-of-town performers are coming from Vancouver, and last month they had a dancer from Victoria.
“I think the quality of our shows has steadily been improving, because a lot of our (local) performers were mainly amateurs,” said Dick. “As we’ve gone along they’ve been taking workshops and going to other burlesque shows, and honing their craft.”
Burlesque Kamloops founder, Jenna Huxley, moved recently to Vancouver, so the group had to formalize procedures and work on creating a system of defined roles.
“Instead of throwing a show together every month, we’re working at becoming a well-oiled machine. It’s all coming together,” Tucker said.
Tucker said she would like to start offering burlesque classes this September, but is still looking for a studio space, made more challenging by many studios not wanting high-heels on their floors.
Classes would start at a beginner level.
This month’s burlesque show takes place Sept. 13 at the Blue Grotto, with doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $5, and VIP tickets that guarantee front-section seating are available for $10 from Instinct Adornment, at 319 Victoria St.