Mama Toma’s Burlesque Show

Dear Constant Reader,

Every once in a while I get to attend a burlesque show as a member of the audience. Almost all the Babydolls went to the debut performance of Mama Toma’s Burlesque show in part because 4 of the dancers, Dagny Vanderlust, Delilah Spring, Ginny Nightshade, and Amber BuTáne, are B.A.B.E. alumnae and most of them have also performed in a couple of Boston Babydolls’ shows and we wanted to support them. And as it turned out, Molotov Maybelle (in The Wrathskellar with Dagny & Ginny) was the stage kitten.

The show was at “The Space”, a newish art venue in reclaimed industrial space — I think it was once a garage. It was BYOB and had kind of an illicit houseparty vibe. We had been warned that seating was limited and the layout was a little weird. Both statements were accurate. There were a couple of couches, chairs and coffee tables hither and yon (contributing to the feeling this was a party in someone’s large living room). Brigitte got there early and staked out a patch for us with, as it turned out, a pretty good view of the performances. Before we knew it, the place was packed and the audience was definitely encroaching on the dancers’ space…

The opening act was a harpist who played some original music and sang. It was decidedly non-traditional harp music, tending toward the experimental. On the first song she used a bow on the strings as well as her fingers, just to give you an idea. It was certainly interesting and different, but I’d say the set was was maybe a song or two too long for this audience.

Then the main set began. Mama Toma is a drummer and the burlesque dancers were backed by her band — 2 vocalists and, I think, 5 musicians. Although it was advertised as a steampunk show, they’re really a rock & blues band. In fact, Betty, in the audience, was the most steampunk-attired person there. I was expecting original music, but I believe it was all covers.

I admire the dancers for doing their best in a smallish, crowded space with an uneven floor. Dagny’s first number was a chair dance and my heart was in my throat watching her. Remember that uneven floor I just mentioned… her otherwise very sturdy and stable chair (I know, because we generally use the same model) was rocking and tipping all over the place. She handled it, but it made for a more exciting act than I’m sure she intended.

Dancing to live music is awesome. There’s an energy that’s impossible to replicate with recorded music and it was a lot of fun to watch. All the dancers were clearly having a great time. I do wish the drums hadn’t been miked so aggressively — I spent much of the evening with my fingers in my ears. So glamourous.

A few of my favorite moments:

  • Delilah’s final tease with her feathered hipbelt.
  • Dagny in rare classic style — gloves, gown, and fur wrap.
  • Amber’s complete confidence and coy flirting.
  • Ginny’s dance to “Paris”. It was the best act I’ve seen her do to date and a real stand-out.
  • The encore song had all 5 dancers in robes, posing and teasing, then grabbing audience members and pulling them up on “stage”. Betty was one of the ones chosen and she never turns down an opportunity to dance.

    And here’s a picture of the whole crew from Betty:

    I especially want to give credit to Dagny, who was lead choreographer, costumer, and did a lot of management work.

    After we dropped Brigitte off, Scratch & I realized we were starving and happened to be in the neighborhood of Myers + Chang. There was parking right there. Score. Vikki Likkerish was behind the bar. Double score. And the kitchen technically closed 10 minutes before we walked in… However, we were told if we ordered quickly, it would be okay, and it was. More than okay. The food there is always fabulous and the staff is wonderful. An excellent end to the evening.

    M2

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    Published in: on 26 November 2013 at 12:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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