Erin O’ Grady, 28, performs burlesque under the name Phoenix L’Amour during the “Underbusted Hallowiener Special,” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Des Moines Social Club, 400 Walnut St.
Q: How did you get into burlesque?
I was one of the founders of the St. Vitus and the Taxi Dancers almost five years ago now. My roommate and I had dance backgrounds and decided to hold auditions for the group. There wasn’t really an outlet, so we decided to start one ourselves.
Q: “Underbusted” is a reference to past legal troubles you’ve had. Have your opportunities to perform in Des Moines improved?
Basically, the only place I can perform is the Des Moines Social Club. It’s not just me anymore; I have students, apprentices and a large number of fans who are supportive of the scene. There is a need for this in the art community and I don’t feel I should be forced to perform in one spot. That won’t expand the scene more, especially with all these venues wanting us to perform.
Q: How important is music to burlesque?
It depends on the type of performance. Routines can revolve around anything. Sometimes it involves a lot of acting and miming, so I’ve seen performances with no music at all. For our group we definitely rely on music. But it’s a little different than any other dance performance. We more feel the music, instead of choreograph to it. I just feel the music and go along with it.