The dimly lit stage of Memorial Hall in Pueblo, Colorado was host to a rare (for Pueblo),
emerging art form in the name of The Haute Toddies. A classy burlesque show brought together by Pueblo’s own, Str0ker Ace and her husband Harley Westersholt. The show featured their own troupe as well as headliners with nationally and internationally recognized names such as; Coco Lectric, Kitten DeVille, Foxy Tann and Midnite Martini.
The show started out with
music provided by the Chris Winters Band, a local group on the razors edge of the big stage. Reminiscent of The Stray Cats in sound, they play a lot of covers ranging from Elvis to Chris Isaaks. After the music, a distinguished looking gentleman steps on stage and introduces himself as Pierre Jean Pierre St. Pierre. A mouthful to say the least. He is the MC for the evening introducing each act and sharing jokes with the audience, who by the way were mostly women.
I have to say all of the acts were entertaining. Each dancers performance was so spot on, making it not only entertaining but easy to follow the story she was trying to portray. While the audience screamed and whistled, none were disrespectful to the ladies. At least no one offered money like at a strip club. (This is frowned upon in burlesque and the ladies will ignore that patron). Haute Toddies is definitely a classy, not trashy act. It is a burlesque show.
Burlesque is an artistic compositon featuring many areas such as; slapstick humor, comic skits, bawdy songs, and striptease acts.
The Haute Toddies had acts with outrageous costumes, ranging from brightly colored boas to white feathered Vegas style showgirls, but all of the acts brought some excitement to the crowd. One of the most daring acts was performed by Midnite Martini. She did an arial on silky drapes and followed it up later in the show with a hoop routine a good
five feet off the ground. Now that's entertainment!
While burlesque dancers do take off most of their clothing, Str0ker Ace pointed out, “It is all about the art of stripping.” There is a lot to be said about a woman who knows how to tease, insinuate and properly remove her clothing. It is one thing to rip it all off, yet a completely different thing to slowly lead up to it while building anticipation, desire and excitement. “It isn’t like the women throw on a costume, pick a song and go on out there and dance”, said Producer Harley Westerholt. “It takes months to edit music, create a storyline and put it all together”.
Another thing the women of burlesque have in common is empowerment. A common theme is the idea that burlesque gives all women a feeling of empowerment, a message that no matter what body type a woman is, she is beautiful, strong and can do anything she wants to do.
”I like to think that we bring confidence to women in the audience, that it is confidence and not perfection that is the key.” Intoned Str0ker Ace. This same sentiment was echoed by internationally recognized dancers, Coco lectric from Austin Texas and and Foxy Tannfrom . “I go out there and I am not perfect. I have imperfections, cellulite, and Im not a size 4 by a long shot. I send the message that no one is perfect and everyone is special. That If I can come on out here and do what I do, women everywhere should be empowered to accomplish anything they set out to do”, Coco Lectric explained. And Foxy Tann adds, “What the media perceives as beauty is not what real men and women see as beauty. It’s all about confidence. If a Woman is confident in herself, she can do anything, even get up on stage and take off her clothes”.