The word burlesque derives its meaning from the Italian for caricature, parody and travesty, so yes, the art form is dramatic, entertaining and engaging, funny and sexy at its base. Built from the belief that seduction is an art form, "TEASE: A Classic Burlesque Revue," will debut with performers from Portland, Salem, Eugene and Seattle in Bend on Saturday. We chatted with two of the dancers, Taylor Maiden and Ophelia Bouce, about their unique burlesque personalities, classical verses neo-burlesque and the art of the tease.
Source Weekly: What does it mean to be a "classic" burlesque revue as opposed to a more modern one? Do you dance classical and modern? Which do you prefer? Taylor Maiden: Classic burlesque is what many people think of when they hear the term burlesque. Lots of feathers, sequins, and bump and grind. Modern burlesque incorporates many more dance styles and modern songs. It can have a social commentary, or be based off something in pop culture as well. I actually feel that "modern" burlesque is more classic than most people think. While the "classic" burlesque is indicative of many shows in the past, burlesque originally came about as an offshoot of vaudeville. Many women took the popular songs and issues of the day, combined them with comedy and tease to create an act. So, while the costumes and songs of classic burlesque are closer to older shows, the themes and ideas behind modern burlesque have a close feel to the idea behind why they are performing. Personally, I like to mix the two together. Taking classic costuming and putting it to a modern song or using classic moves in a black light or metal set, I think it can be really fun to create that juxtaposition. Ophelia Bouce: Most burlesque falls into one of two categories: classic burlesque and neo/modern burlesque. Although there are lots of variations, classic Burlesque usually refers to anything pre-1960. For a performer that means costumes, music, routines are done in the style of performers from that time period. Neo-burlesque performers incorporate a lot more modern elements into performances including elements of current movies, songs, and TV shows. I appreciate both the classical and the neo forms of burlesque but the majority of what I do falls into the classic burlesque genre.
SW: Where do you get your inspiration for your routines? TM: I get inspiration from all over; songs, movies, anything. Usually, every song I hear I think, "How could I dance to this?'" Or I see a costume piece and think, "This would be amazing in a set!" My friend actually tells me I have "pastie goggles," meaning that everything I see I think, "How could that work if I stuck it to my boobs?"
SW: Talk to me about the art of the tease? OB: To me, the art of the tease is the draw of burlesque. It's about setting expectations. Every great burlesque performance has three "reveals." The first is when the performer takes the stage. This sets the tone and should make the audience want to see more. The second is typically a skill built into the act. It can be a chair dance, a stocking peel, or a fan dance. The third and final reveal comes at the end of the act and usually involves the final removal of the performer's costume. In my opinion there is one more element to the art of the tease. It involves the "storyline" or what is compelling the performer to do what she does on stage. It's always fun to watch a sexy woman take off her clothes, but a burlesque performer lets the audience know WHY she is taking them off. TM: The art of tease, I feel, is subjective, just like any art form. Some people like to go the more cheeky and bubbly route, while others are the more slinky, sex appeal form of tease. That is one of the things I love about burlesque, there is something for everyone. You can be flat chested or voluptuous and be incredibly sexy either way. A lot of the art of tease is feeling sexy. Confidence in your self is one of the sexiest things to portray. For me, eye contact is a big part of it. With a quick glance or little wink, you can convey a lot.
SW: What is your day job?
OB: My "day job" or "muggle job" as the burlesque community calls them, is at an AP processing company. We literally talk about paper all day. You can imagine why I need a creative outlet.
SW: Give us a sneak peak of your performance at Volcanic?
OB: A classic burlesque act with a twist. It's a song from the '50s musical The Music Man sung by Seth McFarlane, the creator of "Family Guy." Seth performs the song beautifully in the style of Frank Sinatra, but it's a song about how he doesn't want a "virtuous" girl, but rather an "adult romance." I find that dichotomy hilarious and great for entertainment value.
TEASE: A Classic Burlesque Revue
9 pm. Sat., Jan. 10
Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Dr.
$8 adv./$10 at the door.