Hot night in Gisborne city

Behind the Red Curtain.

Behind the Red Curtain.

RED HOT: It’s risque, it’s tantalising and now locally produced burlesque show Behind the Red Curtain is about to raise Gisborne’s temperature when six temptresses and professional guest artist Cherry Boomb, choreographed by dancer and dance teacher Leanne Murphy (aka Miss Faraday), step out from behind their feathered fans. Picture supplied

A night of tease and tantalisation with a smattering of the exotic is about to part the scarlet curtains and steam up the Pleasure Dome bar’s windows.

Locally-produced burlesque show Behind the Red Curtain is the blushing, but not so coy, brainchild of a group of Gisborne theatricals who hit on the idea of staging a such an act while chatting about the next production they could mount.

Dancer, dance teacher and choreographer, Leanne Murphy said she had aways wanted to choreograph and perform in a burlesque show.

“We thought ‘why don’t we do it ourselves?’”

Burlesque is risque, ribald and seductive but it is totally different from strip tease, says Murphy.

“It’s about the suggestion, the seduction, the tease. It is the idea of it but not actually it. It’s powerful because it’s up to the performers to decide how much they show and don’t show. Everyone is body positive and supportive of one another. That takes away any sleaze and the voyeuristic.”

The Poverty Bay Club’s Dome room is the ideal environment for Behind the Red Curtain, says Murphy.

“It’s intimate, lush like its curtains and has those beautiful domes — it’s like the Moulin Rouge.”

While Moulin Rouge is more cabaret-based than burlesque, the Paris venue is known for the modern form of the can-can, a seductive dance introduced by courtesans who worked from the site. Burlesque’s origins were surprisingly literary. In the 17th and 18th Centuries it referred to parodies of certain authors’ styles. The mickey-taking moved into music that combined serious and comic elements. By the time Victorian London theatres saw potential in it, burlesque took the form of musical theatre parody in which the conventions of a well-known opera, play or ballet were mocked, often in a risque fashion.

By the late 1800s, American burlesque took the art form in a new direction and focused more on female nudity and exotica. Liquor is said to have contributed to the uninhibited atmosphere of American burlesque but Prohibition, and a clamp-down on the saucy art form, saw the dance form degrade until it reached “its final shabby demise.”

Nostalgia for the spectacle, and glamour of classic American burlesque helped revive burlesque in the late 20th Century.

Burlesque is now a hot night out in Gisborne which is where Murphy, formerly of Hawke’s Bay, has taken the opportunity to follow her passion.

By day, she teaches dance and drama at Gisborne Intermediate but when night falls she is “voluptuous vixen” Miss Faraday — and choreographer for the seven performers in Behind the Red Curtain. Murphy comes with a lifetime of experience for the role. She took to dance as an eight-year-old and at 14 she was apprenticed as a teacher at a dance studio. By the time she was 16, she was running her own classes. In the past seven years she has been involved in musical theatre, performance and choreography.

“Burlesque is an area of dance I love and have always wanted to do,” she says. “This is my first time. It came together quite quickly. It’s easier when you’re passionate about something and really want to do it.”

An overheard conversation in a Hawke’s Bay shop helped bring the dancer/choreographer to Gisborne. While producing Bravo Bravissimo last year, Hugo McGuinness’s wife mentioned the show to a sales assistant in a Havelock North clothes shop. The shop assistant said he knew a good choreographer. A couple of phone calls later and Murphy came to Gisborne to choreograph the show. She has since performed as a dancing serviette in Musical Theatre Gisborne’s Beauty and the Beast and starred in another Gisborne fundraiser, Stars in Their Eyes.

“I was Ginger Spice from the Spice Girls. It was a dream come true. I love being a red head.”

Miss Darla Faraday also loves being a redhead.

“Hit a hot note and get it started, from a little whoopee to a sensual ravishment,” says Miss Faraday’s bio for Behind the Red Curtain.

“Sit back, relax and let’s misbehave.”

Behind the Red Curtain, burlesque at the Dome Room, June 15-16, 8.30pm. Tickets from the Dome or Aviary: $35 VIP seating (only a few left) or $30 general.

A night of tease and tantalisation with a smattering of the exotic is about to part the scarlet curtains and steam up the Pleasure Dome bar’s windows.

Locally-produced burlesque show Behind the Red Curtain is the blushing, but not so coy, brainchild of a group of Gisborne theatricals who hit on the idea of staging a such an act while chatting about the next production they could mount.

Dancer, dance teacher and choreographer, Leanne Murphy said she had aways wanted to choreograph and perform in a burlesque show.

“We thought ‘why don’t we do it ourselves?’”

Burlesque is risque, ribald and seductive but it is totally different from strip tease, says Murphy.

“It’s about the suggestion, the seduction, the tease. It is the idea of it but not actually it. It’s powerful because it’s up to the performers to decide how much they show and don’t show. Everyone is body positive and supportive of one another. That takes away any sleaze and the voyeuristic.”

The Poverty Bay Club’s Dome room is the ideal environment for Behind the Red Curtain, says Murphy.

“It’s intimate, lush like its curtains and has those beautiful domes — it’s like the Moulin Rouge.”

While Moulin Rouge is more cabaret-based than burlesque, the Paris venue is known for the modern form of the can-can, a seductive dance introduced by courtesans who worked from the site. Burlesque’s origins were surprisingly literary. In the 17th and 18th Centuries it referred to parodies of certain authors’ styles. The mickey-taking moved into music that combined serious and comic elements. By the time Victorian London theatres saw potential in it, burlesque took the form of musical theatre parody in which the conventions of a well-known opera, play or ballet were mocked, often in a risque fashion.

By the late 1800s, American burlesque took the art form in a new direction and focused more on female nudity and exotica. Liquor is said to have contributed to the uninhibited atmosphere of American burlesque but Prohibition, and a clamp-down on the saucy art form, saw the dance form degrade until it reached “its final shabby demise.”

Nostalgia for the spectacle, and glamour of classic American burlesque helped revive burlesque in the late 20th Century.

Burlesque is now a hot night out in Gisborne which is where Murphy, formerly of Hawke’s Bay, has taken the opportunity to follow her passion.

By day, she teaches dance and drama at Gisborne Intermediate but when night falls she is “voluptuous vixen” Miss Faraday — and choreographer for the seven performers in Behind the Red Curtain. Murphy comes with a lifetime of experience for the role. She took to dance as an eight-year-old and at 14 she was apprenticed as a teacher at a dance studio. By the time she was 16, she was running her own classes. In the past seven years she has been involved in musical theatre, performance and choreography.

“Burlesque is an area of dance I love and have always wanted to do,” she says. “This is my first time. It came together quite quickly. It’s easier when you’re passionate about something and really want to do it.”

An overheard conversation in a Hawke’s Bay shop helped bring the dancer/choreographer to Gisborne. While producing Bravo Bravissimo last year, Hugo McGuinness’s wife mentioned the show to a sales assistant in a Havelock North clothes shop. The shop assistant said he knew a good choreographer. A couple of phone calls later and Murphy came to Gisborne to choreograph the show. She has since performed as a dancing serviette in Musical Theatre Gisborne’s Beauty and the Beast and starred in another Gisborne fundraiser, Stars in Their Eyes.

“I was Ginger Spice from the Spice Girls. It was a dream come true. I love being a red head.”

Miss Darla Faraday also loves being a redhead.

“Hit a hot note and get it started, from a little whoopee to a sensual ravishment,” says Miss Faraday’s bio for Behind the Red Curtain.

“Sit back, relax and let’s misbehave.”

Behind the Red Curtain, burlesque at the Dome Room, June 15-16, 8.30pm. Tickets from the Dome or Aviary: $35 VIP seating (only a few left) or $30 general.

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