By: Stefany Olivas, Staff Reporter
Burlesque Noir hosts funderaiser to compete in national event
L ocal neo-burlesque performance troupe, Burlesque Noir, is co-hosting a fundraiser and raffle to raise money in order to attend a competition in Texas next month, said veterinary technician graduate and troupe founder “Holly Rebelle.” The group hopes the Bikini Bash Bonanza fundraiser will help with travel costs to attend the Texas Burlesque Festival on April 12 – 14 in Austin, said Rebelle.
Rebelle said that the troupe is honored to have another opportunity to represent Albuquerque in a competition. The group won the award for best troupe at the “Great Boston Burlesque Exposition” in 2009, said Rebelle.
While all the girls are passionate and talented, any form of dance as a hobby is very expensive — especially when group travel is involved, said Rebelle.
Psychology major and troupe Fundraising Coordinator “Mary Jane Monroe” said that managing the fundraiser had been very rewarding and that everything has been falling into place for the event.
“There is going to be good food, live music by DJ Brian Botkiller, dancing, good company, a Rosie the Riveter costume contest and girls in bikinis,” said Monroe.
“It’s miraculous how much support we have from the community. This fundraiser has blown up. It’s awesome and we’re very grateful,” said Monroe.
Monroe said she obtained her degree in Science and Integrated Studies last fall and that performing burlesque is a hobby and not an extra task.
“I love it. It makes me so happy,” she said.
Rebelle said that a lot of people do not realize how much work and dedication goes into building and managing the company and putting together shows.
Burlesque originated as one of a variety of acts in the vaudeville circuit, and by definition means to mock or make fun of, said Rebelle.
“When people think of it, they think of naked ladies and strippers, which is absolutely the truth. That’s what it is. The original girls who were doing this were referred to as strippers and peelers. They wore pasties and a g-string. They were the naked ladies in a variety show. That was very scandalous at the time and today it still is, which is funny,” Rebelle said.
Burlesque is special because it is live entertainment which is becoming a lost art in the nation, she said.
“What is special to me is that the name means you are going out to see a live show,” she said.
Her desire to do burlesque began when she saw a local performance and wanted to build a group with a heavy element of dance incorporated into it, she said.
In 2004 Rebelle said she posted on the internet that she was looking to start a performance group and girls began to contact her.
The troupe’s first show at The Launch Pad sold out, she said.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we are a true troupe. We are heavily focused on group choreography and group numbers,” said Rebelle.
“General Blackery,” who is one of the six original performers, said she moved to New Mexico from Maryland and found Burlesque Noir through the online ads from Rebelle.
Blackery has been dancing since she was four years old, and since she began performing as a burlesque dancer it has become a passion that has taken over, she said.
“If it wasn’t for burlesque I would be a shut-in. This is one of my priorities,” said Blackery. “Burlesque Noir is a place where I can be my true self. When I’m on stage I’m 100 percent who I should be.”
Blackery said she is also donating an extra special prize for the raffle — one winner will get to eat bacon off of her chest.
Rebelle said she will continue with Burlesque Noir as long as there are girls who want to dance and an audience who wants to watch.
There are currently about 10 girls in the troupe with different levels of commitment, she said.
She said she considers about five girls to be tier 3 performers. They attend rehearsal twice a week, travel, perform, create their own solo work and have the ability make a financial commitment to the company. The girls who are not comfortable with taking their clothes off in front of an audience can contribute by volunteering or being a “stage kitten” or “maid.” These girls wear cute outfits and pick up the clothes on stage after a performance, said Rebelle.
“Every person is very valuable no matter the commitment. I let them work themselves in the company at their own pace in how much they want to do with me. They are allowed to make whatever commitment they want. I don’t know how they still follow me on this wild ride, but they do. We work together,” said Rebelle.
Other upcoming events include “Burlesque in the Wild West” on May 26 at the Launchpad and special performances at the Guild Theater for the premier of the documentary film “Crazy Horse.”
For more information about Burlesque Noir, the fundraiser, or to get involved, go to the group facebook page or burlesquenoir.com.