Saturday, January 25, 2014

Day 258 - Burlesque! (Rated R)

I have never been to a burlesque show. Admittedly, the fine line between performance and the profane that burlesque rides has always been intriguing to me, which has made the event something I have wanted to experience for some time. The idea of seeing talented dancers and singers perform in the notoriously in-your-face, gritty approach burlesque for which burlesque is known has been more than enough to pique my interest, and like many males in the United States, the frequent appearance of scantily clad women during the performances has always appealed to me. That stated, my intentions to experience burlesque have never resulted in action on my part. While there have only been a few times I have had the opportunity to experience this genre of performance art, I have turned down every opportunity that has come my way. As a result, I decided I would make my first ever experience with a burlesque show a part of my “I have never...” year, and I knew the perfect event to help me follow through with that objective, the annual Fireball burlesque show at the Majestic Theatre.


With knowledge the annual Fireball burlesque show has brought the best burlesque performers from the Midwest to Madison one night each year for the last six years, I kept my eyes peeled for the event as drove toward the heart of winter. After all, the remarks I have heard from everyone I know that has attended one of the previous year’s Fireball burlesque shows have been consistently positive, and the annual show was little more than a mile from my house. Eventually, my vigilance paid off when the announcement of the annual Fireball show came just before the holiday season. As a result, I marked the event on my calendar and picked up a pair of tickets for the show. With Rachael agreeing to accompany me to the performance, I knew the night would be one both of us would remember. There was simply no way it wouldn’t be.

Busy place

Kicking things off...

With the night of the show upon us, Rachael and I headed down the Majestic this evening with plenty of time to spare before the beginning of the Fireball show. Once inside, we promptly took a position near the stage and waited for the show to begin. After some conversation and a drink Rachael and I stood by until the theatre lights dimmed and a woman in an octopus inspired dress took the spotlight and welcomed the crowd. Her introduction to the evening was brief, but the first moments of the performance made it obvious why that was the case.

Fire dancing

One of the best performers of the night...

...and not too shy, either.

As the stage lights rose a woman in a fantastically embellished, form-fitting costume took the stage and began moving elegantly to the sound of music. She was graceful and beautiful, and she could perform as well as any professional dancer I have ever seen. Eventually, the woman’s routine moved into the expected seductive and strategic removal of some parts of her costume, which riled the crowd and caused the performer to beam with excitement. Although that aspect of the performance was what many people came to see, I was surprised to find myself more entranced by the dancer’s talent than I was her exposed skin. The woman was a prenominal performer, and she was the first of nearly 20 that were slated to take the stage tonight.

Aerial work

Belly dancing

Following the first performance, The Fireball moved forward with a variety of performers that maintained the same caliber of entertainment throughout the length of the show. From fire breathers, to aerial acrobats and belly dancers, the Fireball offered top notch talent beyond what I ever could have expected. Each new act offered a unique flare, and the consistent burlesque theme that ran through the night provided plenty to keep me focused on the stage. Although the core aspect of the show didn’t necessarily appeal to Rachael, she was equally in awe at the variety and depth of talent on the stage with each new performer. Roughly half way through the show it was obvious why the remarks I have heard about the Fireball burlesque show were always positive; the show and all of its performers were absolutely amazing. Frankly, the event made me wonder why I had taken so long to attend a burlesque show, but it made me glad I chose this show on this night to obtain that first experience.

As the show began to wind down into the early hours of morning, Rachael and I found our way out of the theatre and made our way home. On the ride back we talked about the impressive level of talent we encountered at the Fireball burlesque show and recapped some of the highlights from the performances. After working through a laundry list of memorable moments, I looked at Rachael and offered a brief remark, “I can tell you the blog entry for tonight is going to be short. I just don’t think I could fully describe everything we saw tonight.” Understanding, Rachael nodded her head and paused momentarily. “It really was something else, wasn’t it?” she asked focusing on the road before us.

I knew in that moment her remark summed up the experience. My first experience with burlesque at the Fireball show was something else. It was something different, something unique, and something laced with talent. It was more than I expected, and for reasons I never would have predicted. I came expecting to see women wearing next to nothing on stage, and I walked away with a full experience of well-rounded performers putting on one of the best shows I have seen during the course of this journey. That says a lot about tonight’s experience. I never would have expected that outcome, but I’m sure glad I finally decided to attend a burlesque show.

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