Student Body Celebrates Student Bodies at Burlesque
WesBurlesque. It’s the word that has been on everyone’s lips this past week. If you somehow missed out on all the hype or didn’t get a tickets within the first 10 minutes they were being sold, The Argus has a rundown of the annual body-positive, sexy-fun, ridiculous event called “Madame Bouffante’s Burlesque Show.” Don’t get too excited, though—we can’t possibly reveal all the juicy details. Most of what happened in the WestCo Café this weekend stays in the WestCo Café (unlike other weekends, in which you end up hearing about everything at brunch the next morning).
Unlike what one might think the purpose of a Burlesque show is, this event is not about sex—at least not the sleazy, for-entertainment kind. It’s about acknowledging and celebrating sexuality and being sexual beings. WesBurlesque, organized this year by Emily Lippe ’12, Casey Reed ’12, and Emily Steck ’12, makes the statement that it’s okay to be sexy, no matter what you look like or who you are. Still, messages aside, it’s just plain fun.
Before the show even started, the fabulous all-male band, lead by Zach Burns ’14 on keyboard, with Mike Zazzaro ’13 on guitar, John Snyder ’12 on drums, Nate Mondschein ’12 on bass, Ryan Richman ’13 and Owen Callahan ’12 on saxophone, Jake Schofield ’12 on trumpet, and Andrew Pfeiffer ’13 on trombone/bass, entertained the audience visually and aurally by jamming in their underwear. Then, the dancers that everyone had been waiting for slinked out. The theme from the pink panther was playing, and everyone had feather fans or fedoras partially hiding their faces.
But the big reveal came, with dancers breaking out into kicklines, officially kicking off the show. The first number was called “Kinda Outta Luck,” by Kelsey Siegel ’13 and Tina Tristani ’13, featuring vocals by Lauren Seo ’14. The female dancers, sporting long red boas, carried on jail bars that were used to play a game of cat-and-mouse with the two male dancers. After, Francesca Buzzi ’12 and Sarah Schorr ’12 decided to have a little discussion with their dance, “Let’s Talk About Sex,” to the song of the same name, sung by Julia Frieze ’12 and rapped by AhDream Smith ’12. Decked out in fabulous eighties fashion, the dancers had a lot of fun with the number, especially when emcee Caroline Fox ’12 came out dressed in an ankle length skirt and white t-shirt with the words “Bad Girl” written on it. Alternately thilled and scandalized, the “prudish” host received a lap dance as well a lot of laughs for her awkward act.
After a brief interlude with jokes by Fox, “Boom” was up next, choreographed by Ava Donaldson ’13 and Siegel. With sparkly gold skirts and a lot of hip-swiveling, the girls in this dance delighted. Following this, the guys took the stage with an all-male number choreographed by Lippe. The four boys pulled an audience member up on stage (in the case of the Thursday 10 o’clock performance, Lippe’s mother), sang to her, danced up on her, and pleaded, “can we talk?”
Then, a group of girls covered in red caution tape rushed the stage. “Danger! High Voltage” by Aly Galef ’13 and Tristani had the dancers swiveling, and even had their singer, Amy Toig ’14, who belted beautifully, dancing with them. “Not Fair,” with choreography by Jana Heaton ’14 and sung by Matt Getz ’14, played next, with the dancers dressed in “Risky Business” attire—plus fishnets and heels. The joking, partner-work-heavy dance ended with the dancers all pulling out condoms—a safe sex PSA brought to us by Burlesque.
A bench was brought out for the next number, “Dance For Me,” featuring dancing and choreography by Lippe, Buzzi, and Nik Owens ’12. Their outfits were a departure from the general Burleseque theme, with all the dancers in sweatpants and baggy shirts. However, in line with the rest of the show, no one stayed fully clothed for long, and the most impressive part of the piece was when all three were dancing with their pants around their ankles. The dance concluded with another set by the emcee Fox, who came out this time with her “cousin,” Blake Rosenbaum ’12. The two performed an “erotic dance,” which mainly consisted of them facing the wall.
After the interlude, “Desert Song,” choreographed by Reed, started up, with dancers posed on the floor, on chairs, and even behind a suitcase. This dance also included the singer (Ala Faller ’12), with Reed coming on stage near the end of the number tangoing with her. The following piece, called “D.D.” by Naya Samuel ’14 and Olivia Sage-El ’14, also featured people posed on stage, but this time it was the boys. Three boys sat in chairs pointedly ignoring the dancing girls, who promptly threw them off-stage and began a tough dance, presumably to make those idiots sorry they ignored the girls in the first place.
Then the dancers for “Your Thing is a Drag,” by Schorr and Hannah Vogel ’13, paraded on stage in black dresses and long white gloves to perform a dance that seemed to be about couples disconnecting and miscommunication. After that, the show switched it up a little with a bellydancing number by Galef, with dancers dressed in spangly skirts that made great jingling noises when the girls danced. This then segued into “MoneyGrabber” by Steck. In an inversion of the gold-digger stereotype, the girls wore fur coats and jewels while one male dancer grabbed and horded them.
In the second-to-last number, the boys took center stage once again with “You Can Leave Your Hat On” by Tom Salah ’12 and Fox. All I’m going to say is that there were large white hats and a neck-to-ankle devil costume involved. Then, all too soon, after the cowboys had cleared the dance floor, the final Burlesque number started. Beginning with Siegel solo-ing to “Say A Little Prayer For You,” her reverie was quickly crashed by the lights suddenly going off and a horde of dancers wearing headlamps rushing the stage. This amazing piece, which had dancers moving their personal lights around their bodies to highlight different body parts or spotlight different people, was a fitting end to such a flashy show. With the audience going absolutely wild (and some members even following examples set by the dancers and taking off their own clothes), WesBurlesque 2012 did not disappoint—although no one really expected it to. Everyone left the WestCo Cafe entertained and feeling more than a little liberated.