Local burlesque dancer Cherry Jane Bomb shares insight on art of her profession

Matthew Hart

Cherry Jane Bomb became a burlesque performer after a vague interest quickly became an enduring passion. Bomb, who identifies as a queer-feminist, has performed in numerous cities ranging from New York to Austin.

“I started performing about seven or eight years ago when I was living in New York City,” Bomb said. “It was one of those things where I was looking for something, but I wasn’t sure what I was looking for.”

At a talk hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Center on Monday night, Bomb said she got her start in the business after a producer of a show she was helping with heard about her passion for dance growing up. The producer debuted Bomb the following month. 

Bomb said it is the fear of being rejected that makes the art of burlesque such a breakthrough.

“Some of the most powerful experiences that I have had on stage are in claiming that space is my domain,” Bomb said. “I am presenting you what I want you to see and in that way, that space is incredibly empowering.”

Burlesque has been political and satirical throughout history. It started as a dramatic musical work intended to cause laughter and has progressed to an art of making a statement about body image or morals, according to Bomb. She said even though today it incorporates aspects of striptease, there is a wide range of burlesque and a lot of the performances are about more than being sexy.

“I think some of the best burlesque performers are really funny because I think it’s a really interesting juxtaposition to be doing a striptease and to be showing your body — displaying aspects of nudity while making people laugh,” Bomb said. “Together, that’s a combination we don’t experience that often. In general, we tend to want to look at those things at a slice at a time rather than seeing the whole composite.”

Bomb said she struggled with anorexia and other eating disorders as a ballet dancer. She said before she started, she could never imagine herself getting on a stage in front of hundreds of people nearly exposed, but burlesque radically changed the way she thinks about her body and other women’s bodies as well.

“Most of the time we are seeing unrealistic views of women’s bodies in models and celebrities,” Bomb said. 

Pre-pharmacy freshman Jacob Fox said this was his first gender and sexuality event.

“I was a little flustered at first because there were so many people, but I thought it was a great way to bring in some philosophical and academic things around erotic art,” Fox said. “I was really interested in that intersection.”

Printed on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 as: Local burlesque dancer recounts path to stage