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Zenkaikon 2019: Cosplay Burlesque

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For the second year in a row, I’ve had the absolute pleasure to attend Cosplay Burlesque’s show at Zenkaikon in Lancaster, PA. I had first heard about Cosplay Burlesque three years ago, after Crymson went to their show and interviewed them at Zenkaikon 2017. I was excited to hear they were coming back so that I could finally see what all the fuss was about.

Last year, Thia the Bard wrote about her experience at their show, being asexual. I want to give a little background on myself before moving forward with my review. I am demisexual. This means that I don’t feel sexual attraction to a person unless I’ve established an emotional connection with them first.

That being said, I absolutely love burlesque. To me, it’s not so much sexual, but rather an art form. It’s an art that promotes and celebrates body positivity, confidence and sexuality. It’s an art that allows the dancer to utilize their creativity and express themselves using physical methods.

Cosplay Burlesque specifically uses pop culture and turns it into something even more exciting. We see characters from shows and movies we know and love.. then we see them dance and take their clothes off.

This year, we were excited by characters from My Hero AcademiaMario, X-MenGame of Thrones, and… The Human Centipede? Yes, Oliver Swisskey did a The Human Centipede act. It’s awesome, though, I promise!

The dancers were all amazing, as usual. The show came together extremely well. Clothes were flying everywhere, laughter and cat calls filled the air, and there was so much T&A that I didn’t know whether I should look away and blush or lean into it and cheer (spoiler alert, it’s the latter).

The MC was witty and really knew how to keep the momentum of the show going. The most memorable acts, for me, were the following (in no particular order): Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones, The Juggernaut from X-Men, Lady Bowser from Mario, Mrs White from Clue, and the doctor from The Human Centipede. Each act brought something new to the stage that could be exciting or concerning, depending on the context.

Though, I must say, the picture of Oberyn Martell’s dead body directly after the act was unnecessary. (I know, Oliver, it’s a palette cleanser, but still!)

What makes this company so intriguing to me is that you have people of all genders, orientations, shapes and sizes exuding so much confidence that I start to feel as though I could do anything. As an overweight woman, my self-esteem is often down in the dumps. I have insecurities out the wazoo. If faced with the option to burlesque, I would run home and put more clothes on. But after a Cosplay Burlesque show, where I see a woman who is my size flaunting her sexiness to a room full of con-goers, my confidence in myself is soaring. I’m inspired. I feel good about myself because she feels good about herself.

Burlesque is so much more than dancers taking their clothes off. It’s a form of expression that can not only make the dancer feel amazing, but also inspire people in the audience. It’s an art that screams out, “You are sexy!” to a room full of people who may have come in believing that they’re not good enough.

Cosplay Burlesque has introduced me to the world of burlesque and I would love to see more. If you have any suggestions for burlesque companies to look out for, please leave them in the comments below!

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About Vanri The Rogue

Hey guys! I'm Vanri. Vanri the Rogue. I enjoy all types of games. I grew up with NES, SNES, N64, Playstation and a Virtual Boy in my house. I love RPGs mainly, but I will always be up for trying new games. My favorites include the Fable series, Final Fantasy, Dungeons & Dragons, Betrayal at House on the Hill and so many more.

2 responses »

  1. If you’re still looking for some similar-vein, body-positive, pop-culture focused burlesqe/nerdlesque to follow, you’ll find many options all over the country and world! There’s the fantastic Dark Side Burlesque in nearby Philadelphia, PA, which has significant performer and fanbase overlap with Cosplay Burlesque. In DC, there’s Maki Roll’s Chop Shop, which is infrequent but always worth seeing. In NYC, if your Wednesdays are free, there’s the amazing White Elephant Burlesque at Rock Bar in Manhattan. They bring in amazing performers from all over the East Coast for an impressive show every week! There’s monthly+ shows in Richmond put on by the amazing minds and bodies of Burlesque Right Meow, as well as Ellie Quinn Presents and the ‘Eat Your Hart Out’ shows by Ophelia Zayna Hart that specifically focus on celebrating all types of physiques and styles.

    I’m very happy to hear that you had such great experiences at the show, and hope you discover even more shows soon to write up and enjoy! Follow your favorite troupes, venues, and performers and you’ll likely have a fantastic map of your own to share with other fans!

    Reply

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