If you saw the movie, “Burlesque” starring Cher and Christina Aguilera, you may think you have a good idea of what happens in a burlesque show. New Orleans burlesque performer Trixie Minx thinks differently.
“I’ve seen the movie ‘Burlesque’ a few times, and it is entertaining and fun, but definitely fiction,” Minx said. “There are very few venues that exist with full-time burlesque shows, and the ones that do typically have more dancing and striptease than singing.”
Minx has been dancing since she was a little girl and was even a professional ballerina for a few years. A bad ankle injury forced her to retire and led to her career in burlesque dancing.
“I ended up joining an ethnic dance ensemble that toured all over the world,” Minx recalled. “One of the girls in that group was also a burlesque dancer and kept insisting I should get involved in burlesque.”
Minx did not think burlesque was for her and had only seen low-budget shows in the past, but a burlesque show in Paris changed her mind.
“I had no idea burlesque could be such an elaborate stage performance,” Minx admitted. “I decided I would try it and immediately fell in love with burlesque. My first burlesque performance was right after Katrina in 2005, and I have been doing it ever since.”
Burlesque has taken Minx all over the globe and allowed her many unique opportunities, including building amazing friendships.
“I’ve been really lucky to perform around the world. I’ve danced all over the States, Europe and even Australia,” Minx said. “I think the best part of traveling is the actual camaraderie you develop with the other performers and stage techs during the tour. I’ve made many lasting and ridiculous friendships with wonderful people I wouldn’t have been able to meet if I wasn’t a burlesque dancer.”
Throughout her travels, Minx has met many amazing people, but she admits there are some who do not share her love and appreciation for the art of burlesque dancing.
“I believe all art forms are subjective, meaning there is no right or wrong preference,” Minx explained. “While I do not agree with someone who thinks burlesque is obscene, I do think they are entitled to their opinion. I hope that people who disagree with me at least see a show or two so their opinions are based in experience rather than uneducated assumptions.”
One of those assumptions is that all burlesque dancers are strippers. Minx says this is one of the biggest challenges in her career.
“Strippers and burlesque dancers both perform and are compensated for dancing, but the intent for why they are on stage is very different,” Minx said. “It is difficult to describe the differences, but they are extraordinarily obvious when you see a burlesque show as compared to a strip club. I have nothing but respect for ladies doing what makes them happy, but I find that many strippers are working strictly for a cash exchange. Burlesque dancers are more often driven by the desire to perform as a means of expressing their ideas, beauty and confidence.”
Minx recognizes that everyone does not share her opinion, including some members of the burlesque community.
“Some burlesque dancers are strippers, and many disagree with my opinion, but I really do want burlesque to be recognized as an art.
Minx is the featured performer in the “Burlesque Ballroom” show at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta hotel on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
“’Burlesque Ballroom’ is a great show, especially for burlesque newbies,” Minx said. “It is designed like a classic Bourbon Street burlesque show with live music and beautiful dancing girls but in a very modern, almost cabaret, setting.”
“Ballroom” is definitely a unique experience. The audience is pulled into the timeless beauty of burlesque with contemporary aspects that combine to create this highly entertaining and energetic stage show that runs every Friday night and is entirely free.
“’Burlesque Ballroom’ is styled like a classic burlesque show with beautifully costumed dancers performing to a live band, but it is unique in that it is truly an interactive experience,” Minx explained. “Most shows have performers on a formal stage but at ‘Ballroom’ the girls dance throughout the room playfully teasing the audience and incorporating them into the routines. Nobody is simply an observer; you are literally part of the show.”
The collaboration between the performers and musicians is also an important aspect of the show, and it is what makes “Burlesque Ballroom” such an amazing experience that delights and excites the senses.
“There is a magical energy that happens when dancers and musicians work together,” Minx said. “You literally get to see the music through dance. The show has a four-piece band, featuring Romy Kaye and the Brent Walsh Trio.”
There are five dancers in the show, but we work with a total rotating cast of 25 ladies so each show features a different line up of lovely local performers each week,” she said.
Trixie Minx will perform in the “Burlesque Ballroom” Friday, Feb. 1 at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street at midnight. Minx will also perform at the Camel Toe Lady Fundraiser, which raises money for Roots of Music at Tipitina’s on March 15.