Ever wonder what Skin Tight Outta Sight Rebel Burlesque is rebelling against? In advance of the their New Year's Eve show at the grindhouse-cinema Metro Theatre, we spoke with Sauci Calla Horra, the troupe producer and performer who sizes up the modern burlesque cause.
The golden age of burlesque corresponded with a curvier standard. Is the neo-burlesque movement pushing back against the contemporary, supermodel standard of the tall, lean female body?
Back then, they were following whatever the community standards were at the time. With the neo-burlesque movement, which started in the 1990s, it was a female-dominated do-it-yourself kind of movement. Women were saying, "We're going to go on stage and be sexy no matter what our body shape is, and it's okay if we're not a skinny supermodel or if we're not built like a porn star." Those are real bodies on stage.
Was that kind of thinking pre-conceived, or was it just a positive by-product of the entertainment?
It's always been a big part of it. I've been performing since 2002, and Skin Tight Outta Sight Rebel Burlesque has been around since 1998. We've always had women of different shapes and sizes. We didn't want to hit anyone over the head with a hammer, but I think there was a political statement there. By going on stage and not conforming to the ideal, it made a statement.
What kind of feedback do you get from your female audience members?
What we hear is that they feel empowered watching us onstage. Perhaps they start thinking about themselves, "Maybe I can be onstage." It makes them feel sexy. A lot of our fans are women.
What about the men?
I think the ideal is dictated to them. But men in general tend to like all sorts of women, so it's fine. They appreciate that we look real.
But not too real, right? You're not out there in your housecoats or anything.
Well, you have to look glamorous – that's a given. The acts have a flair for comedy, and there is usually a storyline. It's relaxed. It's about having a good time. It's sexy theatre, and you can be sexy at any size.