A troupe of all-black burlesque performers from Philadelphia took a packed room upstairs at the Trocadero Theatre to Wakanda Friday night in a show inspired by “Black Panther.”
The audience threw crumpled bills onto the stage in appreciation as dancers strutted and stripped in homage to the record-breaking Marvel film, which features a mostly black cast and has been hailed by critics and audiences alike for its empowering portrayal of people of color.
Show producer Renaissance Noir performed as the movie’s Okoye, the general of the Wakandan army. She said she knew as soon as she saw the trailer for “Black Panther,” she wanted to be part of the burlesque show.
“You see something, it’s a burlesque idea. There’s going to be pasties involved,” she said.
Noir said she is used to being the only black dancer, so she decided to produce the all-black show herself, her first burlesque production. She was joined by seven other performers who acted as various characters from the movie.
Performer Icon Ebony Fierce, who hosted the performance dressed as the Wakandan queen Ramonda, cracked jokes about “colonizers,” and led an audience participation game called “Broken, Woken, Token.”
In a serious moment on stage, Fierce, who prefers the pronoun “they,” shared the experience of going to comic conventions and not seeing themselves represented in the stories.
“This is proof that anyone can cosplay,” they said.