The Maroon

New Orleans Burlesque Festival set to amaze audiences

Renowned+burlesque+dancer+Miss+Stormy+Gayle+is+crowned+New+Orleans+International+Queen+of+Burlesque+2015.+%28Courtesy+of+New+Orleans+Burlesque+Festival%29
Renowned burlesque dancer Miss Stormy Gayle is crowned New Orleans International Queen of Burlesque 2015. (Courtesy of New Orleans Burlesque Festival)

Renowned burlesque dancer Miss Stormy Gayle is crowned New Orleans International Queen of Burlesque 2015. (Courtesy of New Orleans Burlesque Festival)

Renowned burlesque dancer Miss Stormy Gayle is crowned New Orleans International Queen of Burlesque 2015. (Courtesy of New Orleans Burlesque Festival)

Caleb Beck

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Burlesque dancing is world-renowned for combining performance arts, sensuality and glamor with style to spare, and this year’s New Orleans Burlesque Festival is set to honor this classic form of adult entertainment, the city long seeming a haven for art and expression.

The annual festival will take place from Sept. 15-Sept. 18, and will feature a bevy of showcases, live bands, workshops and parties to accompany the sultry dances. The festivity is heavily anticipated by the burlesque community, as the the most exemplary dancer will be crowned “Queen of Burlesque.”

Elle Dorado, the associate producer of this year’s Burlesque Festival, was crowned Queen of Burlesque in 2014, and participates in both the Bustout Burlesque and Bad Girls of Burlesque monthly shows at House of Blues New Orleans. She spoke candidly about how this monumental party pays homage to burlesque’s golden heyday in the French Quarter.

“New Orleans has long been the cradle of burlesque and jazz,” Dorado said. “The city will always be a stronghold of the style. The movement, body language and costumes of Burlesque Festival dancers are classic through and through, even bringing back wry satire towards 20th century New Orleans aristocracy. The death rattle towards theatrical movements that came when motion pictures became popular in the 1960s by no means spelled the end of burlesque in this area.”

Rick Delaup, the founder and producer of New Orleans Burlesque Festival, explained that the event generated great interest from the burlesque community from the outset, and continues to see a dedicated turnout of performers every year. There are only seven competitors for the Queen of Burlesque event, a coveted and highly contested title.

“The Queen of Burlesque is an exciting and glamorous event. The Queen has to be a proficient dancer and teaser, know how to connect with an audience and embody the beauty and spirit of burlesque,” Delaup said.

From the 1940s to the1960s, burlesque was an iconic form of expression in the French Quarter, its popularity ubiquitous with Bourbon Street hedonism. While the tradition of burlesque persisted in New Orleans, the city was one of the first to cultivate a revival of classic burlesque in the mid-1990s.

Burlesque sensation Miss Stormy Gayle, crowned New Orleans International Queen of Burlesque in 2015, explained that the art form is more diverse and popular than ever, reaching mainstream audiences thanks to social media and continued publicity.

“Burlesque performances are never the same, and every dancer brings a new element of expression and storytelling to these shows. American dancers are inspired by glitz and Hollywood. European dancers are inspired by theatre, art and history. New Orleans burlesque is unique because it embodies both. I’m very excited to perform again this year and capture that magic onstage,” Gayle said.

Former Loyola film student Jackie Stroh explained that she appreciates the artistry and expression of burlesque dancing, and is interested to see how the festival unfolds this year.

“It’s an art form that allows women to express and celebrate their own sexuality in a graceful manner. With its historic roots and styles, it provides an opportunity for women to present their talent and sensuality however they choose,” Stroh said.

Friday, Sept. 16 at the Civic Theatre, the Queen of Burlesque show will take place at with tickets ranging from $40-$50. The Bad Girls of Burlesque show will be held the same night at House of Blues with general admission tickets starting at $22. Then Saturday, Sept. 17, The Mondo Burlesque show will take place at Harrah’s Casino with tickets starting at $38.

The same night, House of Blues will host “It’s Burlesque!” with tickets starting at $22. Finally, Sunday, Sept. 18, One Eyed Jack’s will host the Danse Macabre gothic burlesque show, with tickets starting
at $15.

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About the Writer
Caleb Beck, Wolf Editor

A lanky, beach-wandering fool, Caleb crash-landed in New Orleans at Loyola University's campus after spending his high school years on Destin, Florida’s...

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New Orleans Burlesque Festival set to amaze audiences