By Rick Coates
Burlesque troupes are making a comeback all over the United States and
Northern Michigan appears to be next. The Bayside Bombshells Burlesque
troupe formed a couple of months ago and have made a few publicity
appearances in advance of their debut.
This Saturday, August 13, they will debut a mini version of their act at
Sidetraxx in Traverse City with their Saving Ta-Tas With Tassels event
to benefit the Munson Healthcare Breast Cancer Foundation. They will debut
their full burlesque act on Saturday, August 20 at the InsideOut Gallery
in the Warehouse District.
The Bayside Bombshell Burlesque troupe was the brainchild of Twiggy Pop, a
Traverse City native, Central High graduate and professional burlesque
Originally I got an opportunity to perform as a belly dancer in Boston,
said Twiggy Pop. I went to work for this couple in Boston who owned
several clubs. Well the wife, Candi, worked as a burlesque dancer and on
one of my nights off I went to watch her and I fell in love with it. She
agreed to take me under her wing and teach me. It was great but I was
flying to Boston for long weekends and returning home to Traverse City on
Twiggy Pop decided that she should launch burlesque in Traverse City.
I saw how successful the shows went over when Super Happy Fun Time
Burlesque visited from Grand Rapids. I was getting tired of flying to
Boston, so I said what the heck, I am going to make it happen here.
She spoke to a few friends who thought it was a good idea. This spring
she put posters around TC seeking out those who might be interested.
Some of the girls had dance backgrounds, but no one had ever worked in
burlesque before. But all of them were enthusiastic, said Twiggy Pop. I
put them through burlesque bootcamp and it has been fun. We rehearse two
nights a week.
For now, Twiggy Pop is doing all of the choreographing and writing the
show material until the others get more familiar. As for her name?
I told all the girls that they needed to take on a stage name, in part
for safety reasons. But my name is mashing together two people I have
idolized growing up, said Twiggy Pop. Miss Piggy is a great role model
for girls, she commands attention, she is comfortable with her body, is a
diva and very independent. The other name in this is Iggy Pop; I admire
his charisma and stage presence.
Twiggy Pop grew up loving to dance.
I think I was born to dance; my grandmother was a professional Flamingo
dancer and my grandfather a salsa dancer, she said. For as long as I can
remember Ive liked moving my body and dancing.
The recent concern over the Tabu Lounge (the private mens club that was
shut down) in downtown Traverse City has posed a challenge for The Bayside
I guess the owner was breaking all sorts of laws including having fully
nude women in the club. So there has been some concern over what we are
about, said Twiggy Pop. We have assured venues that there will be no
nudity in our act. There is a dress code we have to follow, which I find
comical because patrons are able to dress more provocatively than we as
Currently there are 12 members of the Bayside Bombshells from all walks of
These are women who work in professional fields that are managers and
nurses, said Twiggy Pop. What each of them has found is that being a
part of this troupe has given them a new sense of themselves, from helping
to develop a positive self esteem to improving their self worth.
WHATS IN A NAME?
As for the troupes name, it took awhile to come up with it but they
wanted to stay away from one particular name.
Cherry is so overused here in Traverse City and in burlesque in general,
said Twiggy Pop. We wanted a name that said we were from Northern
Twiggy Pop, whose day job is working as a hair stylist, hopes to take the
troupe on the road.
Everyone is up for traveling. Right now we are not taking anyone else,
but I might look to expand this fall.
For those unfamiliar with the art of burlesque it was a popular variety
show format from the 1860s to the 1940s, in cabarets, clubs and theaters
that featured bawdy comedy and striptease.
It really is one big striptease, but emphasis is on tease -- there is
no nudity, said Twiggy Pop.
For additional info find the Bayside Bombshells Burlesque on Facebook.