Take modern burlesque, throw in some tie removing and a group of men and the result of the mixture is boylesque.
“Boylesque is the male form of burlesque, which is the art of tease,” Dolli Holiday, co-owner of the Richmond Institute of Burlesque, said. “Burlesque, I feel like, is a little bit of anything you want it to be. It’s Vaudeville, it’s comedy, it’s theatrics, it’s striptease. It’s a little bit of everything.”
The Richmond Institute of Burlesque started offering classes in January with boylesque intended for private lessons. However, Holiday and partner Deepa De Jour had such overwhelming responses from the guys after the first Boylesque Showcase, a class was opened to the public.
Students are encouraged to volunteer for a student showcases but performing in front of a crowd is not a requirement. Chris Chaos (pictured), was one of the first Boylesque students to perform at the showcase.
Chaos’ debut performance involved a ‘Leave-It-To-Beaver-esque’ husband coming home after a long day at work.
“To relax, I turn on some music and I dance,” Chaos said of his striptease. “I strip out of my suit and the societal constraints I must adhere to during the day. Put on some heels and reveal women’s undergarments I’ve been secretly wearing all day.”
The performance was set to Vic Damone’s ‘Wives and Lovers’, a song whose lyrical content takes gender roles to a new extreme.
“I knew it was the perfect satire,” Chaos stated. “A man in heels stripping down to a waist cincher and bloomers to a song that tells women what they need to be in order to keep their men.”
Bryan Boylesquo became a student after his wife, Pumpkin Pi, had a successful performance in a previous student showcase. He had participated in a tassel-twirling competition on stage during the event.
“Later my wife told me that Dolli Holiday had her sights set on me performing boylesque,” Boylesquo said. “So I decided to give it a go.”
Boylesquo plans on participating in the student showcase at the end this month. He has already picked an idea for his performance – a political satire that involves a very naughty president.
“Performing like this is scary and I believe facing our fears always causes us to grow,” Boylesquo said.
The Richmond Institute of Burlesque’s student showcase will be on July 29, 2011 at the Canal Club. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8. 21+. Photo by PalinOptika Studios.