by Vanessa Oswald
Eye Candy Burlesque prepares to scare your socks off at the Riviera Theatre
Four years ago, Chelsea Green took a trip to Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace and watched the Pussycat Dolls burlesque show. “It totally inspired me,” says the 40-year-old Green. “I was like ‘Oh, we could so do something like this in Buffalo. I just put together a group of girls who were taking my classes and we just started working on choreography, in hopes that we’d get booked. And we were pleasantly surprised.”
Green had coached a competitive gymnastics team at a local gym for eight years, and danced exotically for 10, right up until she got married. When she quit dancing, she says, there was a hole in her heart, aching to be filled.
“I missed it so much,” Green says. “I loved performing and dancing, I didn’t care if my clothes were on or off, I just wanted to dance. So then when I discovered burlesque in Las Vegas I thought, ‘Well, this would be a good way to keep dancing’…and it didn’t upset my husband as much because it was more of a performance piece.”
Burlesque originated as a form of humorous theatrical entertainment, made up of parody and exaggeration. The style evolved into a sort of variety show that included scanty costumes, striptease, and sexually suggestive dialogue. Green says Eye Candy Burlesque is more modest than most troupes.
“I think we’re a little bit more conservative than most burlesque, because it’s Buffalo and Buffalo is a little more conservative. We don’t go topless, we don’t do thongs. We do a lot of sequins, feathers and fringe.”
Currently there are nine dancers in the troupe, who are performing a Halloween show on October 16 at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda. Two of the women, Ebony Jones, 20, and Tammy Aranyosi, 33, have just been recruited into the troupe recently.
A woman’s initiation into the group is complete when they choose or are given their candy name. For Jones, Chelsea chose Sugar Baby, since she is the youngest in the troupe.
“At first, like with every dance troupe, it was like I was the newbie, so I was trying to get to know everybody, and now I just feel right at home,” Jones says. “I feel like I have a big family now.”
Despite her religious background—her father is a minister—Jones says she feels comfortable with the burlesque dance form. “From the beginning I’ve always just been comfortable being half-naked onstage,” she says with a laugh.
Aranyosi, or Twizzler, joined Eye Candy after taking pole dancing and hula hoop classes at Green’s Pole Play Dance Studio, at 1444 Hertel Ave in Buffalo.
“During the hoop class I mentioned to her that I twirl baton,” Aranyosi says. “She asked if I would twirl at a show. Once I’d met the girls and seen how much fun it was, I decided I would love to dance with the troupe.”
Though some may feel that burlesque is too risqué, Green says Eye Candy Burlesque is not meant to be offensive, but empowering for women. She says that women appreciate the art and entertainment aspects of their show, while men are usually clueless to what burlesque dancing really is. “We try to cater to women with our humor a lot and they appreciate that,” Green says. “Women just appreciate the whole art of it more than men. Men sit in the audience and they think ‘Are these girls gonna take their clothes off or what.’”
Burlesque troupes tend to welcome women of all body types onstage to encourage woman to embrace everything about their bodies.
“We’re not stick figures, we’re all different ages, 20 right to 40, and all different sizes and all different weights,” Green says.
Saturday’s Halloween show features stripping monsters, a dancing candy corn, a black cat, and a pole-dancing nun. Drag queen Jayme Coxx, who is featured regularly in drag shows at Marcella’s and Adonia’s, will emcee the event.
Doors open at 8pm and the show runs from 9-10:30pm at the Riviera Theatre. Concessions will be provided by Dwyer’s Irish Pub. Alcohol will be served, and the show is 18 and over. For more information, visit Rivieratheatre.org and click on upcoming events and tickets. Pre-sale tickets are $8, $10 at the door.
Eye Candy Burlesque will also perform at the Riviera Theatre on October 29 for the Rocky Horror Picture Show Party.blog comments powered by Disqus
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