Discover Edmonton’s exciting burlesque scene, and get inspired by Delia Barnet (LeTabby Lexington) of Send in the Girls. We had the pleasure of chatting with her about being a performer, a history nerd, and beyond judgement. Check out some stunning performances at the Edmonton Burlesque Festival, Sep 20–22!
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the burlesque scene?
I think people assume it’s tawdry. Yes, striptease is a strong element in the art, but burlesque comes from an Italian word that means “to satirize or make strange.” It’s all larger than life—very playful in nature. To me, burlesque is also a political action. In our society, I feel women are looked down upon for their bodies… if they feel good about themselves, people need to tear them down. In burlesque, I’m beyond judgement—a strong woman who doesn’t fear judgement for her body. Burlesque is all about safe spaces and is super politically progressive.
What would you tell someone who’s shy about attending their first show?
Burlesque has great variety—something that will speak to everyone each show… one member or performer you will love. You also won’t get dragged on stage without your consent. You are safe in your seat!
Burlesque is known for its political and social commentary. What’s some of the subject matter you tackle?
I like to give voice to women who have been ignored in history. But I also like to create acts about body size. My body is far from the “quote unquote” ideal. I’ve done an act where I get trapped in measuring tapes, then break free and hit my stomach so it shakes along with the music. I’ve had audience members come up to me afterwards to talk about their “flaws,” scars, etc. I love hearing people say that they feel comfortable in their underwear because the performers are comfortable in theirs.
—Carmen D. Hrynchuk