Meredith Holt, Published July 26 2012
The big tease: Bad Weather Burlesque holding amateur night
What: “Bad Weather Amateur Hour”
When: Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, show starts at 9:30
Where: The Aquarium, above Dempsey’s in downtown Fargo
Online: www.badweatherburlesque.com or search “Bad Weather Burlesque” on Facebook.
FARGO - Sabrina Hornung, stage name “The Alabaster Disaster,” practices her dance numbers in her kitchen.
“We’re looking for a practice space,” the 28-year-old Fargo woman says. “Burlesque props take up a lot of space.”
Bad Weather Burlesque has grown quite a bit in the two years since it became North Dakota’s first burlesque troupe, and it continues to evolve.
Performances include (but aren’t limited to) fan dancing, hoop dancing, belly dancing, cabaret singing and comedy.
Fire tassels, inspired by living legend “Satan’s Angel,” might even be in Bad Weather’s future.
“It’s classic striptease, but it has a modern interpretation,” says member Mary “Anytime Jones” Purcell. “It stretches beyond pretty ladies taking their clothes off, and now there’s boylesque, too.”
That’s right, the motley crew of about seven active members now includes two male performers.
Twenty-seven-year-old Shaun Pollock of Fargo, stage name “Charlie Valentine,” introduced “boylesque” to the area last summer.
“I think at first (audience members) were like, ‘Oh God, no,’ but at the end, a lot of guys came up and said, ‘Wow, it took a lot of guts to do that,’ ” he says.
Fellow boylesque-r Phil “Jack Fantom” Vikan of Fargo says he felt the same way when he first took the stage.
“I was pretty nervous but kind of just went with it and it went pretty well,” the 24-year-old says.
Troupe members have been spotted hamming it up pinup-style at Fargo’s Cruisin’ Broadway nights, teasing audiences at Unity LGBT events, and dancing seductively at benefits.
“We’re getting a lot more recognition,” Hornung says. “People are finally gaining a knowledge of what burlesque is.”
They’re trying to branch out of Fargo-Moorhead, too, with a mini North Dakota tour.
After receiving an overwhelming amount of interest, troupe members decided to give wannabe burlesquers a shot.
“We decided to have them put their money where their mouth is and grace the stage with their presence,” Hornung says.
Bad Weather Burlesque will host an amateur night – a tryout of sorts – on Thursday at The Aquarium above Dempsey’s.
“If this one goes well, we may have a couple throughout the year,” Hornung says. “We also thought it would be a good way to recruit some new faces, and provide entertainment for ourselves and others.”
She says “Bad Weather Amateur Hour” acts include a girlfriend/boyfriend musical duo and an interactive multimedia performance piece.
“It’s a way to get yourself out there and have fun,” Vikan says.
There’s no full nudity, but performers typically strip down to pasties and panties or a G-string.
Hornung says burlesque is more about being seductive than outright sexual.
“I try to play with the audience,” Pollock says. “I have specific times in the song when I take articles of clothing off or do something special, but the rest of it’s just like improv.”
Member Ariel “Black Tangerine” Knight says it’s a “big tease.”
“When you go to a strip club, they’re really quiet and the music’s really loud, they’re just focused, but at a burlesque show, it’s usually ‘Woohoo!’ and the MC encourages hooting and hollering,” the 22-year-old says.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590