Cheesecake's season opens with Boooooo-bs! An all-Hallows Tease on Oct. 30.

Burlesque show teaches body confidence with flair

The performers with the Cheesecake Burlesque Revue offer more than just sparkly costumes that are eventually reduced to underwear.

— Pamela Roth

With shows named Booooo-bs! All Hallows Tease, a Naughty but Nice Peepshow, and Bump and Grind Valentine coming to the Blue Bridge at the Roxy over the next several months, one might question whether the former cinema-turned-live theatre is turning into a strip club.

Although stripping is involved, the performers with the Cheesecake Burlesque Revue offer more than just sparkly costumes that are eventually reduced to underwear.

“There’s some comedy, there’s lots of singing, a couple girls play instruments. A lot of the costumes are over the top,” said Cheesecake performer Betsy Bottom Dollar, a government employee who prefers to go by her stage name.

“We really pride ourselves on our big group numbers, which I think really adds to that variety too.”

Founded in 2007 and formerly known as the Capital City Cheesecake Burlesque Revue, the high-energy shows draw on influences from cult classics like Priscilla Queen of the Desert to Broadway favourties like Guys and Dolls. The dozen or so performers are as individual as the stars on the walk of fame, ranging from cute and geeky, rock ‘n’ roll, to classic, elegant and the girl-next-door.

According to Betsy, the group tours throughout the province with some members branching out of the country. Victoria is generally the smallest crowd due to the size of its venues, but the shows are often a sell out.

Champagne Sparkles, the group leader, had a vision to create a show that was non offensive and family friendly. Most people in the audience are female, who sometimes bring their teenage daughters.

“They can see what real people look like. We’re really bombarded with images of this ideal that’s not attainable,” said Betsy, one of two emcees with Cheesecake Burlesque Revue.

The 47-year-old has been a performer her entire life, entertaining audiences in Las Vegas, New York and Berlin. After performing as a drag queen for 10 years with Dragettes, Betsy got pulled into burlesque when the group asked her to do choreography and she watched Cheesecake perform, she loved what she saw.

“They were just so clever and funny and witty. Not as scary as drag queens can be,” said Betsy, noting there are many different types of burlesque. “The women were all ages and shapes and sizes and there was such joy in it. I got hooked pretty quickly.”

Betsy has always loved the stage, but admits she was uncomfortable with taking off her clothes in front of a crowd after gaining weight due to a herniated disc. The first time she stripped down, the group was performing out of town and needed more people in the show.

Since Betsy was the choreographer, she was persuaded to put on a costume, but it didn’t include a corset. Being the biggest girl on that tour, Betsy said the show was life- changing.

“I went out there and I realized in the moment of the applause that the crowd didn’t care as long as they were entertained. That was a huge piece for me,” she said. “I am way more confident than I ever was when I was real thin and able to run every day of the week. Every single show we get feedback from the crowd of how it changed their lives. They see these people that are beautiful and sexy and confident and having fun that look just like them — with a few more rhinestones and glitter on their faces.”

Cheesecake’s season opens with Boooooo-bs! An all-Hallows Tease on Oct. 30.

 

 

Just Posted

Mad Hatter’s Ball offers laughs in support of Boys and Girls Club

Annual fundraising event features improv performances at McPherson Playhouse May 24

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

SidFest 7 ready to rock the Mary Winspear Centre

The Bankes Brothers and Madrona Drive headlining May 24 concert

Penelakut filmmaker Steve Sxwithul’txw finds success in film and TV

Cop-turned-storyteller reaches back to his past for Tribal Police Files

Choir offers a capella take on Beatles hits

Soundings will perform concerts in Oak Bay and Sidney May 24 and 25

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read