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Burlesque Series Spices Up Saturdays at the 92nd Street Y

By DNAinfo Staff on October 26, 2012 7:07am

UPPER EAST SIDE — It's not your mother's dance class.

A new program set for Saturday — Pink Light Burlesque — is out to prove that the risqué performance can be as sensitive as it is sexy.

The 92nd Street Y series will feature instructional information for breast cancer patients and survivors, burlesque demos and a show.

“These burlesque programs blur 'high' and 'low' art," John-Mario Sevilla, director of the 92nd Street Y's Harkness Dance Center. "It’s a pretty sexy mix of fun and self-empowerment and irreverence, and we thought it would be perfect for Saturday nights at 92Y.”

Pink Light is a unique "tassel-twirling event" created by the New York School of Burlesque in memory of Jennie Lee, founder of the Burlesque Hall of Fame, who died from breast cancer in 1990, organizers said.

"Burlesque celebrates the human drive to amuse, provoke, charm, and seduce," said Jo "Boobs" Weldon, "headmistress" and founder of The New York School of Burlesque and author of "The Burlesque Handbook."

The session starts at 8 p.m., and will feature 2008 Miss Exotic World dancer Angie Pontani, burlesque instructor "Jezebel Express," and The Pink Light Dancers.

Producer David Bishop said he was drawn to the project because of two women in his life: His mother is a breast cancer survivor, and his godmother died of the disease.

"I'm a fan of helping survivors learn to live in and love their bodies again," Bishop said.

One past participant, a breast cancer survivor who gave her name only as Mary, said the program left her feeling invigorated.

"[It gave me a] sense that at 57, after mastectomy and reconstruction, my body is not asexual," she said. "I can rejoin and rejoice through the movement of every day life."

Three additional burlesque programs are planned for the coming months at the 92nd Street Y, located 1395 Lexington Ave.

On Dec. 22, "Hunk: All-Male Burlesque Review," is billed as "beefcake on parade." That will be followed by  "Hot Geeks: A Nerd-lesque Review" on Jan. 12. On Feb. 9, it's a pre-Valentine's Day  couples-friendly "Burlesque is LOVE!"

Tickets are $25 and $15 for students and can be purchased on the 92Y's website.