DIRTY DOLLS Burlesque has been going strong for years now, thanks to their unique approach to shows that feature a more modern, rock and roll-centric vision as opposed to a more traditional performance.
Mary Contrary, one of the central performers behind the troupe, tells Connect ahead of their show at El-Rocko Lounge on Fri., Feb. 7, that they’re excited to return to a local venue after spending the last several years on the road.
“We’ve been touring for years; we had a show in Savannah a long time ago and then had just been all over the place. We didn’t know any of the new venues, but we went into [El-Rocko] and it was all about rock and roll,” Contrary says. “Everybody that we talked to was really into that vibe, and that’s exactly what our show is.”
For those unfamiliar with what Dirty Dolls does, and how they separate themselves from other burlesque troupes, Contrary says to expect something unique and different.
“We’re not the classical burlesque show that most people are used to, especially here in Savannah. We’re a rock and roll burlesque show,” she says. “We have some performers who do some unusual talents—Dantei Grace is a juggler, and we bring in people who do something a little bit different for burlesque. And we have fire performers as well.”
Contrary started in go-go dancing, and was trained in traditional dance before that.
“I didn’t realize until I talked to a friend of mine from high school, she said, ‘I remember you wanting to do burlesque when we were graduating high school,” she recalls. “I didn’t think it’d been that long of a thing for me, but I started the Dirty Dolls in 2013 in Jacksonville and then it kind of took off.”
Their modern approach to burlesque has allowed the troupe to tour regularly throughout the Southeast, and grow steadily as the years go by.
The whole idea, Contrary explains, is to put a more present-day spin on the art of burlesque.
“It’s definitely edgy and modern, and I think a lot of burlesque is sort of ‘classic’ and old school style. We’re more in-your-face,” she says. “I think we’re more relatable in our costumes and music choices.”
Specifically, the music choices range from hard rock to more modern pop/rock oriented songs. Contrary says she even came out to a Pantera song during a Valentine’s Day show.
“When I say edgy, I mean edgy,” she laughs. “We don’t fuck around. It’s a little bit harder than most stuff. There won’t be any jazz! I’m definitely the hard rock and heavy metal side of things, and there’s a girl who’s on the poppier spectrum but still very relevant to today.”
Contrary says she loves performing with the Dirty Dolls, and is always excited to see it grow as it’s continued to do for so many years.
“Our crowds are so cool,” she says. “It’s sort of unreal. I have to sit back and think about it sometimes, because we don’t have a big advertising campaign. People have just been coming for years, and they tell their friends about it. It’s a fun show, and it’s something that I think people can relate to. I think that’s why people really love it.”