5 Questions with burlesque performer Deanna Danger
WANT TO GO?
Mason Dixie Burlesque Tour
WHEN: 9 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St.
COST: Advance $8, at the door $10
INFO: 304-345-3914 or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/577763
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Burlesque is alive and well. On Sunday night, The Empty Glass hosts Mason Dixie Burlesque for a show that mixes some sauciness with music and laughs.
The gazz emailed with Deanna Danger, Richmond, Virginia's reigning burlesque performer and the troupe's leader, to ask about getting into the business, the perils of performing and what kind of audience they're looking for.
Q: How long have you been doing burlesque, and how did you get into it?
A: "I've been performing burlesque for about five years, but I am a lifelong dancer. I got my start at a local fetish club I go-go dance at. They were having a burlesque-themed night, and I said, 'You have to let me perform!'
"It just stuck after that. Burlesque was starting to boom in Richmond, and I just started getting booked. In about a year and a half's time after that, I was doing it full-time."
Q: Did you have any mentors or important people who helped you in the beginning?
A: "There were a couple of producers who booked me a lot in the beginning, which helped me to get my name out in D.C., Baltimore and NYC, but it was Angie Pontani who was the first big star that took a chance on me. She booked me for a few of her 'Burlesque-a-pades' shows in the DC area in 2010, which helped land me in my first festival, the New York Burlesque Festival, of which she is a producer."
Q: How is your show different from others?
A: The thing that makes the Mason Dixie Burlesque show unique is that the cast is from up and down the Eastern Seaboard. We don't live in the same city, and we get together once a year to tour across the country.
"Two of us are from up north, and two of us are from the South, hence the Mason Dixie name. We all knew each other and performed together before the troupe, so when my co-producer, Üla Überbusen, and I had the idea to a national tour, we knew these other two gals would be perfect fits.
"We are a mix of classic and neo-burlesque, and the show is very cheeky, very funny and ridiculously sexy."
Q: Who are your featured performers, and what do they do?
A: "Üla is our hostess, and she plays ukulele and sings throughout hosting the show, in addition to performing. Since I have a heavy dance background, my routines are very choreographed, definitely more in the classic variety, but I like to use modern songs to keep things updated and edgy. Porcelain is our saucy and feisty one, and Hazel Honeysuckle does an even mix between classic and neo. She could be straight out of the 1940s or performing as Cookie Monster."
Q: Do you ever worry about wardrobe malfunctions? If they happen, is there a way to handle them gracefully?
A: "I never worry about them! They're going to happen whether you worry about them or not, so I just try to stay focused on doing my choreography right, staying in the moment, and if something goes awry, a little shimmy, wiggle, wink and a smile covers everything."
Q: What are the best and worst kinds of audiences?
A: "The best kind of audience is a rowdy audience (though not obnoxiously rowdy or obnoxiously drunk). The louder, the better. Performers love to hear their audience hoot, cheer, laugh and clap. A terrible audience is a quiet, disinterested or jaded audience.
"We thrive on feedback; the more an audience gives to us, the more we get into it and give in return. Burlesque performers and audiences have a very symbiotic relationship. We need each other."
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.