A&E » Arts




Whistler Kitty Cats tap into nouveau burlesque trend

What: Kitty Cat Revue

Where: Maxx Fish

When: Saturday, Feb. 14

Tickets: $5

Burlesque is back, baby!

Falling somewhere between stripping, go-go dancing and any given Christina Aguilera video, the new burlesque is all sleaze and tease with plenty of ass-slapping cheeky fun.

Dating back to the late 19 th Century, traditional burlesque began as a lowbrow form of popular entertainment that incorporated comedy, song and spoof theatre. Provocatively clad female players contributed to a sexually-charged atmosphere that always left the crowd wanting more.

As burlesque progressed into the 20 th Century the shows got progressively raunchier and the women lost more and more clothing. Although obscenity laws prohibited full nudity and performers made use of G-strings and nipple pasties to avert arrest, the outrageous nature of the cabaret-style performances led to a sweep up campaign in North America’s burlesque capital, New York City, and soon after it faded from mainstream view.

The spirit of burlesque stayed alive in the underground, through 1930s culture aficionados and through gay culture’s affinity for over-the-top female impersonators who often draw on burlesque in their performances.

But burlesque’s return to the mainstream is a relatively new phenomenon.

It got a pop-star makeover through avenues such as the recent Moulin Rouge-themed Lady Marmalade video which showed superstars Pink, Christina Aguilera, Mya and L’il Kim channelling old Paris to a gritty dance beat. And it’s getting a rock star makeover through the growing profile of Los Angeles burlesque revue the Pussycat Dolls.

A lot of people have seen the Dolls and don’t even know it. The unforgettable sailor-themed dance number from the recent Charlie’s Angel’s film starring Hollywood "It" girls Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore, featured the Dolls in a scene-stealing barroom sequence set to a raunchy version of The Pink Panther.

Trend-setting young celebrities such as Aguilera, Jaime Pressley, Brittany Murphy, Carmen Electra and Christina Applegate have since been lining up for their turn to sing and dance with the seven-member troupe. And recent appearances in the pages of Interview, Maxim and other widely read glossy magazines, have made the act, and contemporary burlesque a hot ticket.

Up here in Whistler, four local lovelies thought the whole thing looked like such a good time, they decided to form their own Pussycat Dolls-style troupe.

Under the moniker Furocious Productions, aliased dancers Ulla, Nomeka, Ginger and Angelique have put together the Kitty Cat Revue, which features the four babes slinking their way through a sassy, brassy series of 15 different song and dance numbers. They’re joined for a few by singer "Lisa Minelli," who makes her biggest splash right with the Dietrich-inspired opening number Cabaret.

The Kitty Cat dancers are all part of the Whistler dance community and claim approximately 81 years of dance experience between them, some of which have been in trend-setting locales in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

This Saturday’s Valentine’s Day performance at Maxx Fish marks the second Kitty Cat Revue in Whistler, not including a Christmas holiday preview at the GLC.

True to form, the girls will be soliciting donations for the cats at Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) animal shelter while vamping around in the burlesque standard of corsets and fishnets to tunes such a s Hey Big Spender , Fever , and the Cure’s Love Cats .

While the dance numbers are overtly sexual, and the costumes are fully representative of the troupe’s sponsor The Love Nest, the Kitty Cat Revue is not a strip show, although the dancers all express an admiration for the stage presence many strippers demonstrate.

But the girls don’t have to take it all off to be just as sexy. With their hip-swinging struts and cat-tail swinging sassiness, the new Revues both here and south of the border are feline-themed celebrations of flirtatious femininity.

Suggestive, provocative, and nothing less than a great old time.

Viva la nouveau burlesque. Me-Wow!

The Kitty Cat Revue performs for Valentine’s Day this Saturday evening at Maxx Fish. Tickets $5 at the door. Call 604-932-1904 for information.