Feminist Neo-Burlesque - Central Research and Creativity Online


Feminist Neo-Burlesque - Central Research and Creativity Online
The Centre for Excellence in Training for Theatre and the International Workshop
Festival are pleased to present a report of the one-day critical exploration and
performance presentation:
Feminist Neo-Burlesque
at the Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
Friday 26 October 2007, 4pm – 10.30pm
This event is part of…
Theatre Materials / Material Theatres: CETT 2007/08
The centre for Excellence in Training for Theatre (CETT) is based at the Central School
of Speech and Drama, University of London. It works to provide a national resource for
vocational and performing arts training and learning, a focus for theatre research and
scholarship, and a site for collaboration, nationally and internationally, between industry,
Higher Education, and specialist training providers.
Summary of Panel Discussions
Dianne Torr
Sheril Dodds
Lara Clifton
Darlinda Just Darlinda
Liselle Terret
- Lazlo Pearlman
Fiona Atwood
Summary of Audience Discussion with Panel
A brief review of the performances
The Centre for Excellence in Training for Theatre in association with the International Workshop
Festival hosted a critical exploration and performance presentation of Feminist Neo-Burlesque on
Friday 26th October 2007.
Historically burlesque has been associated with vaudeville, popular theatre, parody and satire. It
has been used to make social and political comment on society by women writing and performing
their own material since the late 19th Century. It also often challenges gender norms and has
been used by women to reclaim a degree of ownership over the representation of their own
bodies on stage.
However, burlesque also raises some troubling issues for feminists: is it not part of the new
raunch culture described by Ariel Levy where women have become the very instigators of their
own oppression? Are women now willing to strip and be objectified of their own accord, and
does the commodification of this form mean that women are to be sexually objectified and
exploited even further?
The day began with a panel of academics; producers and performers of neo-burlesque
presenting papers and giving presentations that addressed some of these points above among
others, as well as addressing some of the questions below;
Is the resurgence of burlesque a continuation of the exploitation of women’s bodies or is it
potentially part of a new feminism?
Is this performance genre, originally used as a performative platform for women to
comment on social and political issues, being reclaimed in the contemporary moment?
Can neo-burlesque be mobilised as a critical space of queer performativity, exploring
male and trans burlesque?
This was the first occasion that a formal academic and critical debate has been held in the UK
about this topic and resulted in a provocative debate with an audience of over one-hundred
people (consisting of academics, performers, choreographers, producers of burlesque, students
and many more), which was then followed by an evening of performances that challenged
current perceptions of both Neo and traditional Burlesque. The event also included a display of
several current artist’s work – both photographic and sculpture.
This report records just some of the provocations and discussions that took place during this
unique event with the hope that it will go some way to both spark and add to the developing
critical understanding of the multiple forms of Neo Burlesque performance.
Summary of Panel Discussions
The event began with each member on the panel presenting papers and provocations which was
then followed by a discussion chaired by Dr Michele Aarons on some of the thoughts and
questions around Feminist Neo-Burlesque. The following section provides a summary of each
panel member’s presentation and is followed by some of the key points taken from the discussion
with the audience that followed the provocations.
- Dianne Torr Dianne Torr’s provocation centered upon the possible performative uses of the erotic-as-power in
contemporary Neo Burlesque performance. Torr discussed our contemporary patriarchal ‘anti
erotic society’ where erotic practices are censored through regimes of power-knowledge and
those accepted forms of eroticism are commodified for human consumption. Torr suggests that
this socially produced anti erotic climate presents good reason to explore areas which are explicit
and confrontational to expose and destabilize the mechanisms of power which dictate normative
behaviours. Neo Burlesque thus has the performative potential to harness the erotic as a site of
power to expose and challenge social normativity in all its forms, to empower the individual and
enable them to make political comment through performance.
In relation to whether Neo Burlesque can be mobilised as a site of queer performativity Torr
emphasised her view of male/female gender categories as constructed variables. For Torr the
individual and their personality itself is much more important than constructed social norms and
categorisations. Burlesque performance thus has the potential to enable performative agency, a
sense of self ownership and self assurance of the work, and mobilises a space for any individual
to take part in the erotic and create ‘edgy’ work without discrimination. Torr believes such work
should not only be presented in major cities where ‘edgy’ work such as performance art finds
supportive audiences but should take place outside cities to further challenge heteronormativity
thus pushing the boundaries of the gendered person.
- Sheril Dodds Sheril Dodd’s discussed both the common ground that contemporary striptease and Neo
Burlesque share in revealing the body but also the fundamental difference of Neo Burlesque as a
mode of political commentary and performativity. Where contemporary commercial striptease
typically presents the explicit, sexualised and idealized body, Neo Burlesque presents a more
diverse and playful presentation of the erotic self.
For Dodds some contemporary Burlesque performers such as Dita Von Tease pay homage to or
reinterpret early 20th Burlesque through vintage sheik, dress and the performance context.
However other performers reinterpret Burlesque using a more contemporary political position.
Rather than presenting the body as a sexualized object, Neo Burlesque offers a ‘DIY’ philosophy
presenting both performers and audience with the opportunity for agency, empowerment and
inclusivity. Dodds expresses this is evident in a number of ways: where a performer designs,
produces and choreographs individual work which is reflected in the diverse interpretations of
Neo Burlesque on the scene; there is inclusivity and celebration of all body types, ethnicities,
shapes and sizes unlike the commercialized and sexualised body in
commercial striptease and with Neo Burlesque the audience are active participants as they are
invited to interact with the performers. Furthermore for Dodds Neo Burlesque avoids the
heteronormative space of commercial striptease where for example female or male audience
members enjoy watching their own gender perform the erotic self on stage.
For Dodds, where the aim of striptease is to insight erotic feeling, Neo Burlesque employs tease
as a strategy or as a critical space to explore sexuality and the eroticism of the dancing body
where there is a sense of pleasure in performing sexuality in what ever form that may take for the
performer. For Dodds thus Neo Burlesque performance enables a playful exploration of the
codes and conventions of striptease performance, where the performer can utilise tease to make
fun of and satirise themselves as artists, the audience as observers and the tradition of women
and undressing as an erotic spectacle.
For Dodds Neo Burlesque is a site of agency, inclusivity and empowerment which employs tease
as a strategy to both produce and destabilize the erotic self which in turn equals or can be
understood as a form of power.
- Lara Clifton –
Lara co-formed the Whoopee Club in 2003 as a cabaret performance troupe that celebrated
women within cabaret, dance and burlesque which they recognised had been stigmatized and
misinterpreted due to the lack of informed documentation, and wanted to reclaim negative
images of women on stage making their own work. The work of Whoopee is all about extending
the idea of the female form beyond the idea of merely objectification.
The whoopee club began as a monthly themed night where they staged fantastical landscapes
where fantasy and reality were blurred, where audiences could be playful and creative
celebrating earlier periods of cabaret, vaudeville, dance and burlesque. These nights were
successful and involved 70 % women. Lara talked about the burlesque movement is the 1990s
being successful in north America and the in UK there were already burlesque performers whose
acts celebrated the idea of beauty and glamour of a by-gone-age (Lilly White; Immodesty Blaize;
Gwendolyn Glamour; Fancy Chance), and Carnivalesque burlesque and art house burlesque
such as Marissa Carnesky; Lucifire, Empress Stah. The Whoopee staged these performers and
others placing performance artists next to opera singers next to pole dancers, heightening low
art. They also directed and produced events, for example in 2004 they formed a dancing girl’s
troupe called The Whoopee Beaux Belles that celebrated the formation of chorus girl lines and
the glorification of the feminine and of the history of female entertainment. Last year they
received arts council funding to create a piece set in a swimming pool, and had 20 dancers.
Currently they are developing work in Blackpool, there is rejuvenating / regeneration happening
in Blackpool. Lara stated ‘we are taking variety and old and new school burlesque and
celebrating it in Blackpool.’
She also currently runs a monthly burlesque competition with the aim for showing new work, that
includes a male burlesque competition in collaboration with Julie Cook (photographer, exploring
ideas around voyeurism and female voyeurism, i.e. how women look at men), Lara also believes
that “We’ve just been trained to think that we aren’t voyeuristic.’
- Darlinda Just Darlinda For Darlinda Neo Burlesque is a fusion of classic Burlesque strip tease, performance art, and
various forms of satire and comedy sketch. On the question of whether the resurgence of Neo
Burlesque is a continuation of the exploitation of women’s bodies Darlinda believes this is not so,
so long as the performer has choice as a willing and active participant in the show. For Darlinda
Neo Burlesque can be part of a new feminism so long as the performer is participating with
intention to comment up on the situation at hand.
Neo Burlesque, as an art form inclusive to performers with all body types can be acknowledged
as part of both an activitist and feminist movement when the body of the performer that is
presented differentiates from the societal norm. Darlinda states that this is predominantly why
she performs Neo Burlesque where during her shows female audience members have reacted to
her body in a positive manner where perhaps the women in the audience can see their own
similar body types in her display of what she describes as the ‘average’ body type of American
woman. What is most frustrating for Darlinda is the inability for her to perform in mainstream
Burlesque venues in New York due to her ‘average’ body type, however within these mainstream
venues political commentary is not encouraged and thus this would be restrictive to her political
and performative agency.
Darlinda believes there is a place for men within the Burlesque scene but they must ‘tread lightly’
to respect this space by being respectful to women in the movement. For Darlinda a Neo
Burlesque performer should be aware of their actions, understand they have agency as a voice
which is part of the wider movement and that it is ultimately their choice how they wish to use this
- Liselle Terret Liselle Terret embraced the Neo Burlesque form as a feminist performative genre to present her
experiences and insights as a woman within our consumer / post-feminism society. Her first
exploration of it was to use it to challenge the current perceptions on medical-model within
mental health around eating disorders (specifically bulimia) and re-position this within a feminist
social-cultural model. Her performance ‘Climb Inside’ as ‘Doris La Trine’ was originally conceived
as an Applied Theatre TIE project to raise awareness of eating disorders amongst young women.
However she soon realized that she still had to reclaim of her voice and she found that neoburlesque enabled her to express her own voice using metaphors, and physical imagery by
working with the myth, glamorization and objectified images of women, and distorting this idea on
Terret is interested in re-visiting feminism and the historical social constrictions that women have
suffered in many forms. Feminist writings discuss how women need to find new ways to re-write
and to re-discover the positioning and experiences of women in our patriarchal society which she
believes is integral to the (re)telling of women’s stories. Her first neo-burlesque performance uses
humour and parody (classic key ingredients of Burlesque) where Doris, a glamorized and
domesticated 1950’s housewife personifies her pink toilet Len, performing the ‘special and
intimate relationship’ that she has with ‘him, and subtly discloses the reality of the horrific and selfdestructive nature of this relationship,. Using the Neo Burlesque form to present
her voice Terret seeks to ludically subvert objectification by presenting a fully rounded character
on stage, someone the audience can identify with, someone the audience can laugh with and
paradoxically someone with a secret which if revealed in a normal social context might be
reduced to a mere medical rather than a social and cultural condition.
In 2006 she presented ‘Climb Inside’ at the 14th International Conference on Eating Disorders,
Austria. Attending the conference were mainly psychologists and individuals who had also
suffered from eating disorders, and their response to her presentation was extremely positive.
Terret expressed that for the first time when with these specialists, the roles had reversed, and it
was she who became the specialist, without wearing a white doctor’s coat.
Terret also believes Burlesque to be a troubled form where for example some contemporary
performers such as Dita Von Tease use the form as a means to an end to expose the body in not
such a dissimilar way as commercial strip tease thus encouraging the sexualised objectivity of
those bodies. However Terret also believes Neo Burlesque can be a powerful tool for individuals
to share their personal experiences as it allows performers to be the author of their own work,
where they can create short pieces using the body as a performative text at relatively small
financial cost. The form allows the performer to explore taboos in a ludic way to comment upon
society using the body, and particularly for Terret as a performative means to reclaim her body
from medicalised forms of constriction.
- Lazlo Pearlman As a performing artist and queer trans man Lazlo Pearlman’s performances are part of the
burlesque genre whereby Pearlman sexualises the body by employing the tradition of tease and
reveal and comedic and musical variety performance. Pearlman’s work might be placed within
the queer genre where he uses his work to trouble traditional notions of gender, sexuality and
desire particularly in relation to men and masculinity. Pearlman’s sets out to sexualise and
perform the masculine transgendered body without male stereotyping and heighten
transgendered visibility and artistry. For Pearlman the Burlesque, cabaret and fetish scene has
been fertile ground for this exploration whereby there is an expectation of the use of the body,
and that the use of the body will be different from that which the audience will usually see in
heteronormative culture.
In his work Pearlman performs what the audience believes to be a typical male body, what a
male body is believed to be and do and plays with those stereotypes in a ludic way. Pearlman
turns these stereotypes upside down by revealing and confronting the audience with the
transgender body, a multi gendered, and multi sexual identity. Thus through his Burlesque style
of performance Pearlman seeks to expose the social construction, performativity and potential
fluidity of gender, sexuality and desire.
Interestingly for Pearlman are the different audience responses to his work from different social
groups. However in revealing his transgendered body Pearlman consistently witnesses a sense
of disorientation as the audience’s individual understanding of heteronormative sexuality, gender
and desire is momentarily troubled. In this sense using the Burlesque genre Pearlman ‘queers’
the audiences perception and thus works to challenge heteronormative time and space
presenting the reality of ‘other’ queer identities within society but traditionally hidden away from
the public gaze.
- Feona Atwood Fiona Atwood discussed Neo Burlesque relating it to her research of the sexualisation of
mainstream culture spawning a ‘new culture of sexual display.’ Atwood acknowledges that there
is some concern among feminists about the increasing display of the body within mainstream
culture and Neo Burlesque, happening in the midst of it is part of the enfolding of this sexual
display. Atwood acknowledges however that there have been many different types of
performance artists such as Annie Sprinkle who have intelligently utilised performance to
encourage a more politicised consumption. However the sexual display of the body within
popular culture is typified by ‘porn-sheek’ whereby the revealing of the body is glamourised and
thus presented as a ‘less dirty’ kind of sexual display.
Significant to Atwood in relation to Neo Burlesque is the division between production and
consumption is breaking down, whereby anybody can become a performer and participate and
for some women there can be much pleasure to be in this sexualised position. However for
Atwood there is a visible tension between radical, different and new forms of Burlesque and
those which are safer and more familiar which perhaps have more in common with commercial
striptease than challenging taboo’s or making sociopolitical comment.
For Atwood the next step for Neo Burlesque is to get to a point where we can still deal with
individual experiences and intertwine this with the broader context of theorising thus relating the
social and political and agency and structure. Thus it is important to keep the tension between
Feminism and Neo Burlesque and most importantly not to invalidate individual agency in order to
move beyond an analysis that puts performers and theorists as distinctly warring groups as often
for the individual performer the situation is much more complicated than analysis reduces it to.
Thus for Atwood, it is important not to loose experience or critique, but encourage an open
dialogue between the two in order for much more interesting work will continue to surface.
Summary of Audience Discussion with Panel
The following section presents some of the audience questions and discussion points raised
following the panel presentations and provocations;
What’s in a name?
One of the first questions put to the panel was why a Burlesque performer’s stage name seemed
to have so much importance. There were a multiplicity of answers from the panel from that of
agency and the ability to self define oneself.
Lucifire suggested that in 19th century burlesque performers created names as a means of
mockery towards the wealthy and influential sector. This was extended to a short discussion
around how this is reflected within our present society where neo-burlesque performers choose
names that often have sexual innuendoes or defy taboos.
Dr Sophie Nield was interested in the subjectivity and agency reflected in the neo-burlesque’s
performers name. She raised the question of the performer having the ability to self-reflect and
make comment on the experience of women, and so by staging ‘Miss’ could this be a comment
on the narrow positioning of female identity in terms of how we are able to self-define.
Dr Michele Aaron (chair of the debate) compared this to the term ‘queer’ which was itself a
reappropriated term, yet some ardent feminists may be uncomfortable with the reclamation of the
words Miss.
Working with the objectified body
The question of objectification was a key discussion. By the very act of undressing on stage is
this not an act of objectification? Does Neo Burlesque as a sociopolitical commentary offer a
different set of parameters for objectifying the self? If the Neo Burlesque performer does not
have a ‘sexy’ body type popularized within mainstream culture, but are presenting their body as
‘sexy’ can this form of objectification be a positive thing by challenging social norms? The Neo
Burlesque performer demonstrates performative agency – thus with this in mind the Burlesque
performer chooses to work with and use objectification rather than being simply reduced to ‘tits
and ass.’ A key strategy of Burlesque is ‘tease’ thus objectification is actively employed by the
performer, this objectification is intentional and this can thus be identified as a productive form of
objectification. An example given was how Neo Burlesque performance could be mobilized to
make sociopolitical comment upon people trafficking for sex work.
Lucifire continued the debate on objectification, questioning and perhaps objecting to the very
idea of the objectification of the body being ‘bad’ and wrong. Instead perhaps we can re-define
the parameters instead of rejecting the idea of objectification as an opportunity. By objectifying,
she says, ‘you are making it sexy to be funny to think…and therefore if a heterosexual man gets
turned on by a witty, funny, revolutionary piece, then that’s great.’
Exploitation of the female body
Diane Torr was troubled by perhaps over-simplifying our use and understanding of objectification,
as the origins of it for her are about the sexualisation of women as mere ‘tits and ass.’ Attwood
said that we must not forget that at the very heart of objectification is about being exploited, used,
not taken seriously, and being in danger. One audience member suggested that this
unfortunately only re-enforces the sexualisation and objectification of women and of burlesque
within our ever increasing commercial and mainstreaming of sex.
The Trans Body
Pearlman continued on the idea of objectification, saying that we objectify one another in our
every day lives and therefore, as soon as a performer steps on stage, the audience objectifies as
that performer, and this is something invaluable that we can use to our benefit as it is all about
(self) agency, as ‘It’s about if I choose to work with that objectification (as a trans performer).
Pearlman continued by saying that he is often objectified by gay men, as they objectify him in a
very particular sexualized way, which he finds problematic.
There was some discussion in relation to how Burlesque can offer a more complex
understanding of the body and the self, where incorporation of personal narratives is very rich.
One audience member questioned where the access to these rich narratives is for young people,
for example Lazlo’s work might be useful for young trans people who may not have role models?
Perhaps these performance tools could be made accessible to young people.
Body Beautiful
Darlinda Just Darlinda used her own body in performance as an example, as her body is
average, and therefore perhaps provides a more positive and healthy role-model for women
rather than the ’size zero’ consumer body.
Challenging the male straight eye
Lara Croft ended this discussion by commenting on straight men in male burlesque environments
enjoying another male celebrating their sexuality, and pushing the parameters. By watching strip,
the connectivity between audience and performers and fantasy becomes a reality
The Post Feminist Performer
Empress Stah stated that she has felt she grew up in what she describes as a post feminist era
and in this respect had the same opportunity as any other. Stah also stated that she believes
there is a distinct difference between the retro renaissance ‘safer’ form of Burlesque and Neo
Burlesque which is associated particularly with the 21st century which presents the body in new
and challenging ways.
Problematising Queerness and Burlesque
Dr Michele Aaron problematised aligning Neo Burlesque with queer where she stated we need to
question how white, masculine and western a form of critique it is? If a queer frame is used to
critique Neo Burlesque then racial identity as well as gender and sexuality needs to be
addressed. This sparked a discussion of how more women of color could be encouraged to take
part in the Neo Burlesque movement. As Fancy Chance stated that time and money might
exclude minorities, as choice is a luxury. She also mentioned that more working class people
may not have not have the choice to either view or create performance.
The Cost of Burlesque
Darlinda Just Darlinda commented on her first experiences of performing burlesque where
someone threw fifty dollars at her: ‘here is a debate about whether burlesque is sex-work.’ In
terms of making a living, she like a number of other burlesque performers expressed that the
money for Burlesque overall is still low and is not a constant income. Darlinda gave an example
of The Slipper Room in New York, where they still pays burlesque performers 100 dollars for two
acts and a dance.
It was suggested that there are hierarchies in the pay-scale within the industry and perhaps more
performance art. Burlesque pays less as the performers are not initially doing it for money.
’If you are in the sex bit of the work then you will make more money, but then there are things
that you cannot do’ states Pearlman. He continues, ‘…as a professional performer I will make
choices… since 2007 I don’t perform for free.’
Empress Stah commented that burlesque has become extremely popular with venues popping
up all over, ‘stages in every corner, beautiful gilded rooms…and you’re still getting changed
upstairs in a broom cupboard with dirt on the floor and no running water, so there is that
exploitative feel to it that is starting to creep in.’
Dodds suggested that in terms of economics and bodies we are ‘burdened by stereotypes…[for
example] bigger bodies and aging bodies…even though we are in a post modern age we are still
flooded with media ideal images of the women…for example Dita Von Tease is successful…has
that classic physique…main stream sex sells.’
It was raised that as feminists in performance we can make links and perhaps political comment
using cultural visual display, we have a freedom where women performers can use their bodies
for their own prerogative, however there we still exist in a society of sex trading, where sex
trafficking occurs throughout the world. Perhaps there are some contradictions that need to be
further explored here?
Burlesque Art: Accessible for All?
Jay Stewart a question around choice and access of this type of work to young people under the
age of 18. He was interested in offering a more complex understanding of the body and self, and
the incorporation of personal narratives. He gave an example of Lazlo Pearlman’s work which
would be of extreme informative interest to 18 year old trans people. Lazlo Perlman continued
on this, stating that if this is the case, then where do we draw the line with regards to the display
of the naked body, which often is presented in burlesque. Why is there an age limit, a denial, a
censorship for the right to view another’s body? This perhaps is again another reason for the
importance of recognising the body politics in relation to this type of work.
Creating a Safe Space for Burlesque Performers
Lara talked about putting burlesque acts with the right context and where it is. Terret brought into
the discussion the question around performance and live art and where neo-burlesque sits within
these as both an established and developing performance art form. Clifton talked about the
importance of placing burlesque acts into the right context following a comment on Ursula
Martinez’s witty construction of a strip that fits more within a live art context however this piece is
often watched by a more main stream male crowd who enjoy it purely for the sexual display.
A brief review of the performances
What made the performance presentations Neo Burlesque? Was there a
presented in the performances? Can we always identify a socio political intent
How were these performances feminist or queer? What were the similarities
terms of the performative languages created / used. These were just some
which framed the performances which followed the panel provocations.
common theme
within the work?
or differences in
of the questions
One could suggest that some of the performances explored the performativity of normative
gender categories where for example Red Sarah‘s performance presented her transformation
from a 1950’s male stereotype to female seductress using strip tease or Empress Stah’s piece
which troubled gender norms by performing sexual intercourse and sado-masochism upon a
male blow up doll with a phallus attached to her crotch. Daniel Somerville’s androgynous
merperson further troubles gender norms and perhaps by presenting a queer creature existing
outside of gender. Other performances used the gendered body as a text to make social or
political comment, as could be seen in Russella’s piece commenting upon conspiracy theories
attached to Princess Diana’s death and Doris La Trine’s work where she transforms her body into
a hyper-real version of the commercialised female body in order to make comment on cosmetic
surgery, at the finale transforming into a grotesque plastic sex-monster reminiscent in some
way’s the tragic life of Lolo Ferrari. Similarly Polly Cupcake’s use of gaffer tape to perfect her
body reflects popular culture’s obsession with cosmetic beauty. In addition Darlinda Just
Darlinda from New York performed a revealing strip tease culminating with her revealing a
picture of President Bush, which she pulls from her vagina and rips it up perhaps lamenting on
wide and disastrous birth that America has witnessed at the hands of their president.
Each performance consisted of one performer, often appearing as lonely, eccentric, daring,
shocking, presented trauma perhaps, or looking grotesque or queer in some cases. Each
performer presented their alter-ego, a hyper-real character, sometimes performing taboos and
hidden sexualities, secret desires, passions, obsessions, tears, anger, loneliness, exhibitionism,
abnormalities exposing a queerer side of humanity.
The tease and the strip are classic ingredient of burlesque, and in neo-burlesque (as in the
original 1840s play-text genre of burlesque) the teasing and stripping is metaphorical and can be
used to pull away the layers that perhaps cover truths and ideas. Traditional burlesque used
verbal language and two of the performances used the spoken word to provide a fuller dimension
to their characters where La Trine gave the viewer a personal into her ‘special relationship’ with
her toilet and Daniel Somerville’s mermaid was able to ’communicate’ with the human race for
the first time. This imaginative and ludic use of language perhaps gave a sense of what it is for
these characters to be ‘other’ inhabiting alternative spaces and temporalities (for example where
the toilet itself is used by Doris as an object of comfort quite separate from its normative use in
time and space), and as seen in Ryan Styles work where he creates a domestic place that
become perhaps a metaphor of this character’s loneliness and obsessions.
There were elements of the tease and the strip in the majority of performances, Fancy Chance
transformed from jilted bride through strip and tease to seductress rending her performance with
a gymnastic performance of nipple tassling, celebrating female sexuality unconstrained by
normative institutions such as marriage and the home. Eva Weaver’s used tease and strip to
perform the older woman’s body which perhaps challenges the de-sexualisation of the aging
body in contemporary popular culture. In contrast Lexi Van Gosh sang My Bloody Valentine, her
body on display in a daring corset, however this body was bloody, bruised and wounded,
perhaps combining the idea of the sexualised and eroticised female body with the brutality of her
experience and the mortality of her existence.
Comedy and humour was a common element in most performances both subtle and some more
cases more obvious. All performers created a character and seemed to invest some of their own
stories or narratives within this, being their own producers and directors of their individual stories,
and bringing them to life through the use of the body as an explorative text.
This Report was written and compiled by Jamie Crabb and Liselle Terret (Copyright)