image via Peter Brown


Back to school. Back to work. Back to blogging. Like many of you, my post-Labour Day week has been all about getting back into a daily groove .  I’ve always found this first week when I go back to the grind slightly stressful, so by the time Friday night rolled around, I was primed for a night of raucous fun.

I’d received an invitation to Rock N’ Roll Burlesque III, an event featuring local bands Chang-A-Lang and The Polymorphines as well as performances by Rockalily Burlesque.  Music and adorable women in pasties?  It doesn’t get much more fun or raucous than that!  When I found out fellow entourage member, Wayne was also going to attend I couldn’t get my butt down to The Elmdale Tavern fast enough!

I arrived unnecessarily early, as did Wayne, which gave us plenty of time to grab drinks and snag the keener table right down front and centre. While were got settled in, I spotted Rockalily co-founder, Helvetica Bold and her fellow troupe members talking nearby.  Miss Helvetica B and I made each other’s acquaintance awhile back and I’ve been a fan of hers ever since, so of course I wanted to say hello.  I also wanted a little advice.

Burlesque, in a nutshell, combines female sexuality, theatricality, fashion, dancing and pantless-ness.  I am a fan of all these things and as such, the thought of giving burlesque a whirl has crossed my mind more than once recently.  On the other hand, my lack of dancing/movement training and the likely scenario of getting tangled in my garters and falling flat on my face is reason enough to give me pause.

Still, it never hurts to ask.  Miss Helvetica gave me a few starting tips about venturing into strip tease territory.  She assured me that a dance background is not necessary, but that

a) a strong persona

b) original routines

are what really make a great burlesque performance.  Encouraged, I returned to my seat , grateful for a front-row vantage point from which I could watch and learn.

Eventually patrons began pouring in.  By the time MC, Brian Alkerton began the show it was a packed house!  The combination of live rock and scantily clad interludes (Rhasphody Blue‘s naughty take on “Mr. Cellophane” was especially endearing) had the entire crowd aroused in one way or another.  A group of “young people” established a small but enthusiastic mosh pit and I felt aged as I realized:

a) the mosh pits of my high school days happened 20 years ago.

b) I had mentally referred to a group of legal drinking aged adults as “young people”.

So there you have it.  I’m an old lady.  But watching the ladies of  Rockalily  was an inspiration (not to mention, one hell of a turn on)!  I’m still not completely convinced that I can take it off, but I’ve definitely got a little burlesque bee in my proverbial bonnet.

Can I pull these off?


  1. My stepson’s partner does burlesque. This is her:
    This is her troupe:

    We went to see their first public show the other week – it was very good. A curious mixture of sexuality with a quite old-fashioned style. Apparently it’s growing like crazy.

    • nadinethornhill says:

      They’re all very glamourous looking. And I love the name Lily Foxglove!

      Burlesque is big, big ’round these parts. Ottawa has at least four active troupes that I know of.

  2. Vick Ko says:

    Yep, burlesque is a returning performance art form. Lots of fun, and I’m impressed by the confidence and grace that some of the ladies show on stage.

    • nadinethornhill says:

      It’s the grace that blows my mind every time, especially the way those women slide off their stockings. I’ll really have to practice if I want to join them. When I take off hoisery it’s like a feral cat trying to claw its way out of a bag. :-)

  3. Wayne C. says:

    A good night indeed! I think it’s important to restate that part of what made it so fun, was the blend of two separate art forms (dance and music). This introduced new audiences to all the groups, which also made for a more diverse evening than indie rock or burlesque on it’s own would have been able to achieve.

    Let’s hope more performers of all disciplines continue to collaborate. Everyone benefits when these silos between art groups are broken down.

    Yes, the Rhapsody blue performance was definitely a highlight. Who doesn’t love a little fire breathing! Well aside from the staff of the Elmdale Tavern 😉

    • nadinethornhill says:

      Exactly! The burlesque was more of a draw for me, but once I was there I enjoyed the live bands immensely. Not only was it an opportunity for audiences to experience more than one art form,it was available for the low, low price of $10! That’s great entertainment value for money.

  4. jessicaruano says:

    I would love to see your burlesque routine! And maybe I could be your clitoral back-up dancer. I can see it already…


  1. […] I developed a hankerin’ to try my hand…or more perhaps more acurately, my boobs at burlesque.  Miss Helevetica Bold and the wonderful gang at Rockalily Burlesque, very generously offered me […]