Monthly Monday Cabaret offers a titillating experience at the Nevada Theatre
The Truth or Dare Dance Troupe along with local magician Nick Fedoroff take performance art to a whole new level at their Monday Cabaret shows at the Nevada Theatre, which feature music, magic and burlesque.
The shows open with live music, which at the last performance, held last Monday with the theme “Be My Valentine’s Sweetheart,” was local singer/songwriter Azure. Playing her ukulele and then the keyboard, the teen talent sang all original tunes to the great delight of the audience.
Fedoroff then came out to entertain the crowd with some comedy and magic. He also answered the question that many ask about these shows … why Mondays?
“Being a lifelong local, I know that we have so many great things to do all year long in our area, but Monday nights have always been dark for entertainment,” Fedoroff said. “We are looking to change that and give you a reason to look forward to Mondays.”
The Truth or Dare Troupe, which includes a rotating cast of dancers from Reno to San Francisco and beyond, delivered far beyond what would be expected from a Monday show in a small town, even by Nevada City’s high standards. Every act was more impressive than the last, with choreography, costumes and dancers that would look at home in a professional setting in a major city.
While all of the acts were incredible, there were some standout performances.
Whiskey Kiss and Mantastic’s opener of the second half of the show started as an adorable homage to the Frozen song “Love is an Open Door,” which took an unexpected turn half way through. Nevada City native The Darkness’s dance moves left the audience wondering how he is not a backup dancer for Beyonce or Lady Gaga. His smooth and unique movements embodied grace and defied gravity.
Le Cha Cha personified the dark seductress in her version of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana.” The show ended with the debut performance of Guy Vigor, performing in a white fur coat, sunglasses and pink sequined g-string to Queen’s “Another one Bites the Dust,” which was highly entertaining.
The two performances by the creator of the Truth or Dare Dance Troupe, Cybil Unrest (aka Heather Bewsee), were a skilled nod to burlesque techniques from the early days of the style incorporated into modern choreography and music. The fact that she has only been dancing burlesque for seven years is surprising, considering that she won Miss Ultimate Reveal 2018 in San Francisco last year, one of the highest honors in the burlesque community.
“Burlesque resonates with me because it’s about empowering performers and empowering women; people loving themselves where they’re at,” Bewsee said in explaining how she came to create the Truth or Dare Troupe. “People tell me that they are interested in trying it but then they say ‘I can’t dance’ or ‘I don’t have a perfect body,’ and I tell them ‘that’s why burlesque is for you.’
“I call us burlesque artists because it’s an art; when you see an act, the performer has been working on it for months.”
To the uninformed, “burlesque” is a code word for “stripper,” and while clothing is removed in the acts, burlesque is a challenging art form that includes choreography, set development, and costume making (yes, the performers even make their own costumes and pasties), and the performers do all of that over the course of months for each individual act.
Use of the term “burlesque,” particularly in the United States, refers to performances in a variety show format. These were popular from the 1860s to the 1940s, often in cabarets and clubs as well as theaters, and featured bawdy comedy and female striptease. By the late 1930s, burlesque shows would have up to six striptease artists supported by one or two comics and a master of ceremonies, just like the Monday Cabaret shows now.
“It’s pretty incredible when you think about the fact that we are seeing the same types of acts on this stage that were being done 100 years ago,” said Golden Era owner Steve Giardina as he served two of his bar’s signature cocktails in the lobby during intermission.
To learn more about the Truth or Dare Dance Troupe, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Truthordareproductions.
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