Burlesque troupe to host festival

Sarah Pressley

Seven girls, all different shapes and sizes, each donning a silky robe and high heels, strut around the room.
They slowly bend over with their legs extended and toes pointed and glide their hands up their legs and flash a little thigh while playfully batting their eyelashes. As they continue dancing, the room is suddenly filled with sequined bras and scantily clad thighs, all shimmying in unison.

As the music ends the girls giggle and fall out of their final poses before slipping into discussion about their costumes and their lives. This is just another night of rehearsal for the girls of Black Widow Burlesque, a local burlesque dance troupe.

Black Widow Burlesque was formed in 2009 when one of the members decided it would be fun and put an ad on Craigslist. Since then, the troupe has evolved into a diverse group of seven dancers who all differ in background and style, and each bring a unique personality to the stage.

“We are an eclectic group,” said Roxy “RaRa Roxette” Castillo, one of the dancers. “We are average women in the day time and glamorous dancers by night. We are like superheroes.”

The girls of Black Widow Burlesque do not completely strip, usually stopping at a thong and pasties. The girls find their bare dancing to be extremely empowering and really enjoy showing off their diverse figures.
“We are all about female empowerment and showing off our rockin’ bodies,” Castillo said.
For dancer Kacy Todd, or Sailor Cherry, burlesque dancing holds a lot of its appeal in the flirting she engages in with those watching.

“It’s like a game you play with the audience,” Todd said. “It’s all about the tease.”

This Friday, Black Widow Burlesque will host Austin’s first Spanksgiving, A Burlesque Festival at The Swan Dive downtown. The festival will bring together many of Austin’s other burlesque dance troupes all in one place.
The women of Black Widow hope that this will give Austin residents a chance to introduce themselves to burlesque and all of its different styles and genres. The festival will feature troupes from San Antonio, Dallas and West Palm Beach, Fla.

Spanksgiving will also include performances from local bands and comedians as well as fire and belly dancers.
Even though the festival falls the weekend before and not on Thanksgiving, the girls of Black Widow Burlesque think that their alternative celebration will top the typical traditions.

“People should go to Spanksgiving because we have plenty of breasts and thighs to go around,” Castillo said. “We have dark meat, we have white meat, we have everything. And we don’t have a kids table.”