Australia’s burlesque community is set to battle it out in a night of frills, spills, trills and politics.
The third annual Miss Burlesque Australia competition is holding its Grand Final at the Enmore Theatre on Saturday, April 21.
The evening will play host to performances from the winners of the six recent state finals and three “wild card” entries, as they compete to be crowned Miss Burlesque Australia 2012.
Cassandra Atkins, co-founder of the event, said the competition is largely about teaching the performers the history of burlesque.
“A lot of girls think [burlesque] is Christina Aguilera, which it definitely isn’t,” she said.
“We’ve made the girls do some research. They have to get on the Internet and research on YouTube and watch the old stars perform the old moves and make them learn the old moves.”
Each performer must include a classic routine, and either a neo-burlesque or unique performance.
Classic is the burlesque style dominant before the 1960s.
It includes moves such as the bump, where the dancer thrusts their pelvis forward and the grind, where they rotate their pelvis around.
There is also the shimmy, with the performer shaking their top or bottom. Performers must also master the costumes of the period.
Neo-burlesque is part of the post-1960s evolution of the art. The performance must have a story, or an element of comedy, parody or even politics.
This year, Briana Bluebell (pictured), runner-up in 2010, is planning a performance replete with religious themes.
A unique performance is where each performer shows off an individual interpretation of burlesque.
Ms Atkins said the audience also learns something about the many faces of burlesque.
“A lot of people will come to the competition and they’ve only ever seen [neo-burlesque] acts or a certain type of style, and they haven’t seen another one.”
Sina King, who won the competition last year, said she loved working with the audience.
“They’re usually very up for unique ideas, and something a little bit left of centre. They can be quite boisterous,” she said.
“If they like something they’ll scream; if they don’t like something they’ll boo. They are a very reactive crowd.”
The night will also include unique acts from several male burlesque dancers, with the winner taking out the inaugural Mr Boylesque Competition.