The art form known as “burlesque” has seen many definitions throughout history. In Europe of the 17th century, it meant “caricature” or “extravaganza” and was applied to the comical works of Shakespeare, In the 1800s United States, burlesque described vaudeville variety, naughty comedy acts, and eventually….female striptease.
Contemporary audiences have witnessed a new era of burlesque, thanks to Dita Von Teese and the popularity of films like Baz Luhrmann’s MOULIN ROUGE and the Cher/Christina Aguilara starrer BURLESQUE. Here in Sin City, the female burlesque performer has somehow become fused with the classic Vegas showgirl. It makes little lense, as the art forms are quite different. Nevertheless, the showgirl/burlesque union is now quite a “thing”.
There are a number of new productions that celebrate the art of burlesque. We recently told you about LADY LIKE at MOSAIC THEATER, and then there’s ROUGE at STRAT Hotel Casino. At Alexis Park Resort, the talented cast of BurlesQ is deep into their second year of performance, now in a newly-renovated showroom. Steeped in true Vegas DNA thanks to director Cari Byers, BurlesQ embraces comedy, variety, striptease, and showgirl elements in one fast-moving production (full review HERE).
Once a part of the legendary cast of Tropicana’s long-running Folies Bergere, Byers was committed to delivering a taste of nostalgia with a nod to the evolution of burlesque. Another goal was to make BurlesQ the only “body-positive” revue in town. Her concept attracted an extremely experienced cast of dancers whose collective resume could match any large Strip production.
As you can see above, the members of BurlesQ are a rather large group, sporting names like JuJu Bea, La Luna, Maxine Gun Kelly, Mickey Blue Eyes, Stella Sterling, and Tricky Tatiana. It was difficult to decide who to interview for this piece. In the end, Byers offered to connect this writer with two of them.
In Part 2, I’ll introduce you to Tonya Tovias (Tricky Tatiana) and Kelly Long, aka “Maxine Gun Kelly”. They’ll share their backgrounds, passions, and perhaps even their dreams. In the meantime, you can see them with the entire cast of BurlesQ every Friday through Sunday at Alexis Park Resort. Showtime is 9:30 pm. Tickets start at $49.95 plus taxes/fees and can be ordered here. Audience members must be 21 years of age or older.