The ninth annual Colorado Burlesque Festival is returning to Denver to give audiences the ol’ razzle dazzle once again, bringing together burlesque artists and fans from across the nation for an exciting weekend starting Thursday.

“Ageism, sexism and the ideal of the perfect body is all just ripped apart in burlesque. That’s what we started doing here in Colorado Springs,” says Lola Spitfire, producer and co-creator of the Colorado Burlesque Festival. “I think it’s something that, especially in Colorado Springs, we just needed. A safe space not just for women. It’s for men too and for people who are nonconforming that just needed to find a space to be accepted as who they are.”

The festival is produced by six Coloradans, two of whom are from Colorado Springs. Spitfire, for one, founded Peaks and Pasties, a burlesque troupe that is one of the nation’s largest, with more than 100 active members.

“I believe a lot of our members stay members because of the friendships and the support within our group,” says Madame Gem, a Colorado Springs native and Peaks and Pasties member.

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Says Spitfire: “One unique thing coming out of the Colorado Burlesque Festival is that we have such a huge, strong, talented community of burlesque performers. Colorado has been on the forefront of the burlesque resurgence probably for the past 10 to 15 years.”

Also at the festival, headliners Ray Gunn, Jessabelle Thunder and Tiffany Carter will hold classes to teach people how to dance and move in the burlesque style.

Springs residents Madame Gem, Evangeline Cain, Romeo Uncaged, Foxie Dreame, Cattivo, Bunny Bee and the Peaks and Pasties will perform, so you can celebrate their sensuality and wonderful sense of humor over three nights of thrilling showcases.

As Gem says, “Burlesque is like magic! If you want to have a magical experience, go up to a burlesque show.”

Kate Powell, The gazette, kate.powell@gazette.com

Kate Powell is a recent graduate from the University of Denver, having studied Journalism and Socio-Legal Studies. She self identifies as a writer and a pet mom, and joined the Gazette Features staff in 2019.

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