By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
On the day of my big show, I arrived at the studio to meet the rest of the Kittens, all of them classically trained dancers. There's a Velvet Kitten for every taste, whether you prefer a Marilyn Monroe-esque blonde such as Jana or a saucy little Bettie Page reincarnate such as Delilah. And none try to emulate the hair-extensioned, surgically enhanced, impossibly skinny Barbie dolls that lad magazines such as Maxim have made the plastic standard for sexy these days. Burlesque is as much about dancing ability as it is being sexy; you can't have one without the other and hope to impress these girls.
After a run-through of the dance in which I only accidentally ran into other Kittens 40 million times while scurrying to my spot a mere four counts too late, Jana tossed me a pair of fishnets and told me to cut off the waistband so I didn't get a muffin-top spilling out between my frilly black panties and black lace-up corset. I strapped on a pair of black heels and was crowned with the group's trademark fuzzy black cat ears.
The Monkey Bar, where we're scheduled to perform at the insanely early hour of 8:30 p.m., was empty. A group of drinkers made a beeline out the door when our chatty clan rushed in, freezing in our tiny outfits. The rest of the girls were disappointed; I secretly rejoiced.
"Didn't you invite your friends?" they ask.
Yeah, right. "Dear friends, please join me in what could very possibly be the most embarrassing moment of my life as I teeter around on a stage in high heels with a bunch of beautiful, classically trained burlesque dancers who have had weeks to learn a routine I tried to master in an hour. Be sure to look for the signature move I like to call 'Andrea Squats in Woods.'"
But I am proud to say the Monkey Bar bartenders got quite a show, and I managed to wiggle, shake and shimmy without incident for the benefit of a very attractive faux ficus in the back corner that I do believe was undressing me with its leaves. I've never felt sexier. The rest of the Velvet Kittens later hauled off to a late show in Fort Worth they knew better than to bring me to.
As I relinquished my black satin gloves and kitty-cat ears to Jana, I thanked the girls profusely for letting me dance with them. It's not often a girl gets to help bring sexy back, even if it was to a plastic tree.