TWO of the biggest nights on the burlesque calendar are coming up next month, when The Grand Exhibition – An international Burlesque Benefit takes place in Cape Town on August 5 and in Joburg on August 12.
This is not only an opportunity for fans and supporters to see their favourite performers, but for newcomers to the art to discover what it’s all about while at the same time helping to raise funds for Rape Crisis (Cape Town, hosted by The Rouge Revue Burlesque Company), Halo and Breast Health Foundation (Joburg, hosted by Black Orchid Burlesque SA).
Both shows feature performers from the aforementioned troupes doing solo and group numbers, as well as independent dancers who join their peers on stage to dazzle audiences with saucy striptease, in the name of the worthy causes which are supported.
While every act is guaranteed to be gorgeous, there are some special highlights at the Cape Town show. “For the first time, one of the original pioneers and producers of South African burlesque will be representing Black Orchid,” says Diva Disastar. “We are very proud to have King St.Fox showcase his own special brand of boylesque this year at TGE 2017.”
Joining King St.Fox and Diva Disastar with their own solos – and making their Grand Exhibition debuts – will be Ghost Greywind and The Red Baroness.
“Words cannot explain how I feel right now,” says Red. “Two and half years ago, I began my journey into this wonderful and mystical world of glitter and glamour, known as burlesque. I thought I would attend some classes just for the exercise and a bit of some social time. I loved every minute of finally finding myself as a woman and finally learning to love my curves.
“In 2015, I offered to stage kitten at the first Grand Exhibition. I got on stage and knew right away that I was born to be in the spotlight. Now, after loads of hard work, sweat, some tears and mostly laughter, I am dancing with the ‘stars’.
“I was selected from some really tough competition to perform at this year’s annual Grand Exhibition; honoured and overwhelmed are just small words to describe my joy, excitement and sense of achievement.
“Thank you to my ‘boss’ Diva Disaster, my manager King St.Fox, and every member of my Black Orchid Burlesque SA family for believing in me. I would not be doing this without your love, support and advice. To Lady Magnolia and the Rouge Revue, thank you for believing in me and for allowing me to grace the stage with you.”
Ghost Greywind says that as a male performer with Black Orchid Burlesque SA, he is also “very honoured” to have been chosen to represent the troupe – as well as all men around the world – in the Grand Exhibition.
“To think I started off watching shows and was known as the ‘eye lashes man’ because I always helped backstage where I could!” he says. “I love the entire idea of entertainment, and taking it to the next level as a performer – to push boundries and myself – is nerve wracking and an adrenaline rush.
“And in the same breath, I am so humbled to be a part of such a great cause to support rape crisis victims. See all you amazing people there.”
YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Grand Exhibition – An international Burlesque Benefit, CAPE TOWN
Date: Saturday, August 5
Venue: City Bowl Market on Hope – 14 Hope Street, Gardens
Time: Doors open at 7pm, show begins at 8pm
Dress Code: Formal, please dress to the nines.
Tickets are R160 online only (Quicket)
The Grand Exhibition – An international Burlesque Benefit, JOHANNESBURG
Date: Saturday, August 12
Venue: Movida Johannesburg, Fourways
Time: Doors open 6pm, show begins at 7pm
Dress code: Smart casual, or to the nines
Tickets are R200 seated, or R150 standing room only, via Quicket
Click on the links for more information, or to book tickets.