Reno, NV 89512
The women of the newly formed A.Love.Nouveau burlesque company have been perfecting their dance steps and lacing their corsets in preparation for Friday’s debut performance.
Those thinking burlesque is just a strip show may be surprised, as founder Carla Cordova-Eduave said there will be no frontal nudity at the performance. But Cordova-Eduave doesn’t blame anyone for making this mistake. She made it, too, when she was invited to go to a burlesque show while living in Seattle.
“I had an idea of what I thought burlesque was, too, and I was like, ‘Eh, I don’t really want to go to a strip show that’s kind of weird,’” Cordova-Eduave says. “But it was awesome. You know they really performed. It wasn’t just like, ‘I’m going to take my clothes off to this old song.’”
Cordova-Eduave was only interested in the fashion at first, but as she attended more shows within Seattle’s vibrant burlesque scene, the more she liked it. She found out burlesque is more about teasing the audience than stripping for it. Of course, there is a fair amount of bare flesh and a few pasties, but Cordova-Eduave says the dancing embodies sensuality along with sexuality.
So when Cordova-Eduave moved back to Reno in July, she wanted to create her own burlesque troupe. She called her friend Naythanie’l Tavcar to choreograph the show for her. They canvassed the area with posters calling for dancers. They held auditions and picked 16 girls they wanted to work with.
“We had every shape, every size, every color, every everything,” Tavcar says. “You name it, you could walk through the room and find it.”
He says one of the company’s strengths its diversity, including the drag queen MC, Miss Ginger Devine.
Yet whenever a woman gets on stage and takes off her clothes the question arises as to whether she is being objectified. However, Cordova-Eduave says the dancing has helped her feel more confident about her body, and other dancers have noticed that, too.
“I saw it during our first performance,” says dancer Edeanna Olejniczak. “There was excitement and nervousness especially with some of the girls that had never done anything. But there was a confidence—that was the overall feeling, that everybody was feeling very good about themselves.”
Cordova-Eduave says part of the reason is the troupe portrays beauty in a variety of ways—not just skinny, ultra-fit women. Also, the dancers have complete control of what they do on stage. If a performer isn’t feeling comfortable about a particular part, Tavcar is more than willing to change it.
Just because the show appreciates women in a classy way doesn’t mean a burlesque show is a reserved affair. Burlesque etiquette dictates a lot of hollering and howling during the act, like when a dancer takes off a piece of clothing or winks at the audience. Of course, tips are appreciated as well.
With all the work she has put into the show, Cordova-Eduave is excited for her creation to finally take life. Though they had a preview show early in November, the company’s debut’s Friday, Dec. 4, at Studio on 4th.
“Our first show is going to be epic,” says Tavcar. “We have a girl who is going to be embodying a mob princess to our classical diva to our debutant. I mean, we have everything, and it is going to be phenomenal.”