'Every body is a burlesque body': New West performer onstage in burlesque fest

A New Westminster performer is featured in the upcoming Vancouver International Burlesque Festival.

The festival runs from Wednesday, April 3 to Saturday, April 6.

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Among the featured performers is New West’s own Ariel Helvetica, who’ll take to the stage in the two showcase events at the Vancouver Playhouse on April 5 and 6.

A born and raised dancer, Ariel spent five years abroad, wowing audiences in France as a professional can-can dancer/showgirl, then travelling the globe as a professional high-kicker on cruise ships.

She has performed at some of the top burlesque shows in Europe, Canada and the U.S.A. since her debut in 2011. She’s a member of Sweet Soul Burlesque, Western Canada’s longest-running neo-burlesque troupe, and she’s the assistant director of her home studio, the Vancouver Burlesque Company. In 2018, she was voted No. 25 in 21st Century Burlesque Magazine’s “Most Influential Performers,” and No. 3 in Canada.

The festival features a selection of the most celebrated burlesque performers from across North America, including reigning Queen of Burlesque 2018, INGA, of Seattle, and the first Indigenous performer to be crowned the Queen of Burlesque, Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière from Montreal.

A festival press release promises “dazzling dancers, naughty nerds, bawdy drag performers and satirical strpteasers” in a variety of performances that include acrobatic stocking peels, rock’n’roll fan dances and an erotic performance tribute to Harry Potter, among others.

“We want to celebrate all forms of sexuality on our stage this year and present performers who reflect the people living in this dynamic city,” says the festival’s president, Sparkle Plenty, in a press release. “Representation is important, and seeing someone like yourself on stage creates a sense of belonging, proving that sexiness transcends size, age, race and more. Every body is a burlesque body.”

The festival also includes TIT Talks (Teach. Inspire. Transcend.), its own take on TED Talks.

Individual event tickets and weekend passes, along with full performer rosters and schedules, can be found at www.vibf.ca.

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