By Charelle Evelyn on December 12 2013
A teenager in love, a witch doctor, a bananasmearing ape woman and a bloody snake charmer walked into a bar. Instead of the set up to a cringe-worthy joke, this is the beginning of a great night out in Prince George.
A small, but determined group of women make up the current iteration of Prince George Burlesque – the Belles of the Underground. The quartet of Rayelle Stewart (Lola O’Dare), Kellie Gunderson (Betty Kreugar), Cora Fleetwood (Sweet Jane) and Kathy Lou (Hard Kandie) are working to revive the local burlesque scene with their non-traditional, but oh-so-sexy shows. How non-traditional? Take Gunderson, for example, who thrilled an audience in a pre- Halloween show with her gorelesque (“Mixing sexy and horror movie and smashing it together,” as she describes it) routines that included a live snake and copious amounts of fake blood oozing from her mouth onto her near naked body. “She was made for this,” said Stewart. The others perform what they call neoburlesque, closer to the Dita Von Teese archetype than Gunderson’s act, but still with their own quirky spin on the classic art.
Though the group members all arrived at burlesque dancing through different avenues, they shared a common end point. “We’re all here for the same reason,” said Stewart. “To take our clothes off,” laughed Gunderson. “To shake our ass and tassel dance.” But just because clothes are coming off, don’t confuse them with strippers. “It’s about showing off, not showing it all,” said Lou, who got her start after looking for a theatrical outlet in town.
The difference between the girls working the pole for tips and burlesque dancers is a level of empowerment, said Fleetwood. Three out of the four troupe members have given birth, Gunderson pointed out. “It teaches you to love yourself for who you are, because you can see burlesque dancers of all shapes and sizes and they’re all sexy,” said Fleetwood. Find Prince George Burlesque on Facebook to keep up with the bra-dropping action.
REPORTER FOR THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN
Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.