When the concept of burlesque comes to mind, many imagine Christina Aguilera shaking things up at Cher’s Los Angeles hotpot. Even though that is only a (superb) film, the burlesque world is alive and well. Take Hattiesburlesque, the unique downtown burlesque show that puts a spin on southern Mississippi entertainment by turning up the heat at The Thirsty Hippo during their performances.
Brittany Purvis, emcee of the show, shared her thoughts on the burlesque scene as Hattiesburlesque gears up to take the stage April 7-9.
What drew you to the burlesque scene?
I was actually asked to help emcee by Rebecca Chandler, one of the founders of Hattiesburlesque. I had heard about their first show and let her know I was very interested. I love art and performance of any kind and thought it would be something entertaining to do, considering my experience with stand up.
What makes burlesque in Hattiesburg unique?
Hattiesburg is very much a college town in the fact that it has a large art scene. We have wonderful music and theater, but this is one of the first things to come along other than a play that combines those two together into an experience like this. It’s interactive and fun and creates an environment that is different than seeing a band or going to a play. You get to stand up, sing along and just bask in this entertainment. People love it.
Why should people check out a burlesque show?
Because it is so much fun. Hattiesburlesque puts on a great show. It’s more dance based, so it’s an entertaining, choreographed show that has been worked on for months. There are so many performers from different backgrounds, so there’s something for everyone.
What should people expect from a Hattiesburg burlesque show?
To laugh, to be entertained and to have a wonderful time. There is something so magical about the atmosphere created by the show. Everyone is so confident and having a great time, and it really affects the audience. Everyone leaves with a smile on their face with songs stuck in their head. And at the end of the day, that’s what we want people to take home with them. We want you to leave with a spring in your step and a shimmy in your hips.
What is your favorite part about being emcee?
All of the amazing people I’ve had the honor of meeting. The performers, the band, and all of the people who are in our family. My absolute favorite part though is all of the people who come up to me after the show and tell me how much they enjoyed the performance and how they’ve seen burlesque in larger cities with more laid back laws that didn’t put on half the performance we do.
How do you hope to see the burlesque scene grow in the future?
One of my favorite quotes from one of the founders, Abi Allen, is “Art makes art makes art.” I hope that Hattiesburlesque continues to grow, with new faces to replace the performers who go on to new things, and new people in our support net of artists. Every show is bigger and better, so I hope we continue to inspire the people of Hattiesburg and the surrounding area.