Dana Bowen never imagined herself on stage, adorned in a white corset, stockings, and a 1920s-style headband, strip-teasing for an audience.
A self-described “shy person,” Bowen said she has “always shied away from the spotlight.”
Yet, there she was during her first winter in Yellowknife — performing burlesque in front of hundreds of people.
“It was really surprising, I think not just to me but everyone who knew me.”
Bowen moved to Yellowknife in 2014 and decided to attend a burlesque workshop to try something she normally wouldn’t do.
She recalled the experience as “really uncomfortable” but auditioned for Yellowknife’s Brrrlesque show anyway.
“When I first met [Dana], she was definitely very shy, wasn’t super outgoing, very reserved,” said Sadetlo Scott, who became friends with Bowen at the workshop.
“Both of us had come out of our shell,” added Scott, who’s performed at the Brrrlesque show for the past three years.
Brrrlesque, advertised as the “hottest show in town,” has become an annual winter must-see in Yellowknife.
Hundreds of tickets sell out online in a matter of minutes and it’s grown over the years — the last iteration included to 27 acts, and dozens of cast and crew.
‘I’m shaking so much’
When her first performance was just moments away, Bowen said she got the jitters.
“I’m shaking so much,” she recalled. “Then as soon as I got on stage it just all came so naturally.”
She sang and danced to the 1940 Cole Porter song, The Laziest Gal in Town.
“It’s basically about this woman who has all these suitors and she’s interested in pursuing them, but she’s just too lazy,” Bowen said.
Since joining the Brrrlesque show, Bowen has learned how to be comfortable with her body and show others that she’s happy exactly as she is.
Her first performance led to another, then another.
“I was hooked after that.”
‘Sharing it with the world’
Bowen left Yellowknife for Melbourne, Australia, this past spring for work and she once again found herself on stage.
She was connected to a local burlesque show called Tassel and Tease.
“I didn’t expect to do it over here,” said Bowen. “But I had a friend say to me … ‘you don’t give up on the things you love.'”