Burlesque Noir has been “berlesking bad” since its founding by Holly Rebelle in 2005. Rebelle discovered early on as a solo performer that performing burlesque allowed her to fully express herself artistically and was so exhilarating; it gave her “glitter hangovers” for days after being on stage. Knowing that art history extensively celebrates the female form, she wanted to be a part of this artistic body expression movement. The desire to share this experience with a group of women gave rise to the creation of her very own burlesque troupe.
“[Burlesque] has been a deep exploration of identity for me,” Rebelle said. “One of the things I am most proud of is creating an open space for women to creatively express themselves using their bodies.”
Rebelle said she enjoys the journey of creation that goes into burlesque and knows there truly is artistry in its performance.
“I have seen burlesque open up discussions that are often only discussed within the academic sphere such as cultural appropriation, feminism, racism, ageism, critique on capitalism, the problems of the patriarchy, violence, privilege, body shaming, slut shaming and power dynamics. I am so thankful to be part of a community where this dialogue is ongoing and is possible,” Rebelle said.
Nudity during any burlesque show is the controversial part of the art form. Rebelle said she is familiar with the stigma and believes the continued shaming and hiding of the naked body, especially of women’s bodies, is what keeps some people from accepting burlesque as a true performance art.
“I think it is OK and normal, that once in a while, people are offended by art,” she said. “Art inspires us to talk about the difficult issues in society and can open a door to explore the world with different eyes and new perspectives.”
~ Photos by Sergio Jiménez