Retro-erotico-chic: Blue Light Burlesque

“We count ourselves lucky,” reveals Mlle Oui Oui Encore of Montreal’s Blue Light Burlesque. “Our troupe draws a large cross-section of the Montreal community, from people barely 18 to in their 70s, singles and couples and both french and english. But we still consider the shows an underground form of entertainment.”

Burlesque troupes and performers come and go. It is an exciting thing to try and the thrill of doing a striptease on stage doesn’t alwsys keep people interested for long. Longevity is a admirable trait in burlesque and the performers of Blue Light Burlesque have not only been at it for a long time, they are still growing with each show.

Founded in 2003 by Mlle Oui Oui Encore and Blue Eyes, the troupe had their first show the next year at Lion D’or. That show was a huge success so they’ve continued on with their “retro-erotico-chic“ extravaganzas ever since.

The troupe is comprised of French Kiss, Trixie Cups, Miss Rouge à Lèvres, Blue Eyes, Lulu Les BelleMirettes, Pierre DuRein, Babette et Jeanette, Mlle Oui Oui Encore, Miss Miah and Red Rockets. All of the performers have a vast array of talent, contributing to a show that combines the old and the new. “One minute we have a number with a big band song and the very next an Eighties hit! There really is something for every one from formal dance to magicians and, of course, the striptease numbers. “Its like that expression, ‘If you don’t like the weather in Montreal just wait a minute.’ We also like to mix up our shows with guest artists and other types of performers, and every show is a different, new show.”

Blue Light Burlesque is currently going into their fourth season of monthly shows at Café Campus. Could their ongoing success be attributed to the art of burlesque becoming more mainstream? “Don't be blinded by recent media attention and things like the movie Burlesque. Hollywood is trying to stay fresh and interesting so they shined a spotlight on an underground type of show. I think many people know about burlesque shows and there are many towns across North America that have performers, but its not something that a large percentage of the population actively go to see. Most shows have a very specific audience, CEGEP or university students, suburban couples, etc. and this depends on the performers at that show.”

Mlle Oui Oui Encore hopes the audiences of Blue Light Burlesque shows revel in the merry atmosphere of the event. “The ideal experience would be to take in the joyful atmosphere in the room, laugh at the tacky jokes (by the M.C.), smile at the cute numbers and then let your imagination get carried away with the more serious numbers. If you leave the show with a smile and the thought of seeing yourself on stage, then that’s the ideal experience.”

Blue Light Burlesque performs Saturday April 23 at Cafe Campus (57 Prince-Arthur E, Montreal with special guests Stella Luna, Constance Blier, Chaud Tango with Alain Guillot and Cheryl Williams of Dance Conmigo and Zafirah.