Feathers and flesh at Stockholm Burlesque

The Stockholm Burlesque Festival opened this weekend in a tassle-twirling, corset-flying mix of feathers and flesh. The Local's Oliver Gee was on hand to find out more.

Feathers and flesh at Stockholm Burlesque

“This is risqué entertainment for an adult audience,” performer and organizer Fräulein Frauke warns The Local. “If you only sit at home watching cartoons, don’t come to burlesque.”

The show, which kicked off with a two-hour spectacle of seduction and striptease at the Södra Teatern on Friday night and runs until Sunday, sees artists from eleven different countries hitting the stage to strut their stuff.

The performers come in all shapes and sizes – and names, from Champagne Sparkles to Trixi Tassels. Another, Aurora Galore, bamboozled the audience with fiery red flames and feathers, her tongue twisting around the grotesque make up on her face, dancing in a near-shoulder-dislocatingly wild frenzy.

IN PICTURES: Scenes from Friday night’s show

Another man, Sir Willy Waterlilly, stripped almost naked while parading around on a hobby horse. A lot of Willy and not much waterlilly in that one.

But there’s a lot more to it than just a bit of cheeky fun.

“Our show, and burlesque in general, is not made with the intention of satisfying a male audience and getting them to put money in our pants. This is entertainment through costume, the body, music, sound, and stage lights,” Frauke explains.

The cabaret entertainment also raises questions about sexuality and gender, and Frauke believes the “feminist twist” is extremely important.

“Female sexuality is nothing bad, why should sexiness be a problem? We all have a right to be here and take up space,” she says.

The show itself is a strong supporter of breast cancer awareness, with the organizers selling raffle tickets to raise money for pink ribbon cancer funds.

On Saturday night at Octbooberfest, the women will even hold a tassle twirling championship to see who can “tassle” the longest.

“It’s a bit silly and a bit fun, but it’s part of the pink ribbon campaign and this is our way of helping. We love out boobs and we use our boobs a lot,” she explains.

“But tassle twirling isn’t easy, I’m not kidding. You need proper technique. I wouldn’t last so long myself, but we’ll be introducing challenges along the way to make it harder, changing the music, getting the girls on one knee, with their hands in the air. But this is all just a bit of fun.”

The show, and burlesque in general, tries to push the concept that sexiness isn’t just a thin woman in a magazine, according to Fräulein Frauke.

“For me, sexiness is all about energy and how you carry yourself. Seeing someone perform well, seeing that they love it, this is classic beauty,” she explains.

“Take someone like Aurora Galore, the freak, she really doesn’t want normal beauty, she likes ugly. But she was fucking sexy, doing her thing and loving every minute of it. It wasn’t about the moves or her boobs, it was all about her her energy and confidence.”

DON’T MISS: Provocative pics of Stockholm Burlesque Festival performers

And sexiness shouldn’t be limited, either, she explains.

“Sexiness has nothing to do with size, shape or age, I’ve seen wonderful women performing who are in their seventies and eighties. Sexuality doesn’t go away when you hit 30, sexiness is having passion and going for it.”

As for Frauke, she will be heading off to perform around the world from London to Rome in the coming weeks, as well as focusing on her own club Fräulein Frauke Presents at Nalen, which she touts as a welcome relief from the typical Stockholm night out where people “dress badly, get drunk, flirt, then go home with someone at 3 in the morning”

“There’s nothing wrong with all that,” she tells The Local with a laugh. “But I find it all a bit uptight and extremely boring.”

“At our shows you’ve got corsets, tails, tuxedoes, flowers, women with fantastic dresses – and that’s just the audience… it’s not a freak show, it’s wonderful,” she says.

“There’s just so much more in the burlesque world.”

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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