Wascally Sexy Wabbits: Brash Bunnies Burlesque

“Our biggest motivation is to have fun,” enthuses Queena Hearts of Winnipeg’s Brash Bunnies Burlesque. “And that's what we want our audience to experience too! We do what we do because we are passionate about this art form and embrace ourselves as women with sexual identities, and that is what we try to get across to our audience.”

Embracing the ‘to joke or jest’ origins of the word ‘burlesque’ the Brash Bunnies put on shows that open a dialogue about sex. “We like to get a little dirty and crude, we include a lot of adult humor, but in a fun way. Talking about sex and our sexualities tends to be very taboo in our society, so we like to create a comfortable space where our audience can have fun and essentially laugh at sex, while also embracing a little naughtiness and sensuality.”

After meeting in a burlesque dance class, Queena Hearts, Josie Magnum and Jenny Tail decided to form a troupe to showcase their similar, yet diverse abilities. “Each member of the troupe brings something a little different, but yet we're also very similar,” reveals Queena Hearts. “We can be sweet and adorable or crass and vulgar, we're a little bit of everything. Their shows run a range of styles, incorporating classical burlesque styles with contemporary themes and music. “We play with many different elements, and our acts can vary from everything to ‘sweet,’ ‘sassy’ or downright grotesque’.”

While the Winnipeg burlesque scene is not as big as Toronto or Vancouver, it is definitely growing. Formerly more underground, performers such as the Brash Bunnies and Miss La Muse have been establishing the shows as delightful option for people to check out or get involved in. “The local performers who are currently involved in the Winnipeg burlesque community, such as ourselves or Miss La Muse, agree we must work together to continue to grow the scene and educate our city about this wonderful art form!”

That growth comes with the sometimes-challenging task of explaining to people what exactly burlesque is. As burlesque inches toward the mainstream, it still retains an edge. While movies such as the recent Burlesque help to dispel some myths, Queena Hearts still has people asking her is they are just stripping. “Burlesque dancing emphasizes the "tease" in the term "striptease", and I think that's where people are uninformed when it comes to this genre. I think it can also be considered ‘edgy’ in the fact that burlesque dancing is for all body types. Women are not required to fit a certain physical standard in order to be considered sexy, sensual and talented in the burlesque community, and perhaps this can also become a shock to our society because we have very much been proscribed what ideal sexuality or sexual appeal looks like.”

Brash Bunnies Burlesque present MisAdventures in Wonderland Friday April 8 at Park Theatre and Movie Café (698 Osborne Street, Winnipeg). Doors are at 8pm, cover is 13$ in advance and 15$ at the door.