Who in their right mind would attempt to combine classical ballet with strip tease, an audacious Drag Queen with the exquisite art of Fabergé, vintage clothing and sparkling spandex? The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and the Richmond Institute of Burlesque did just that in an inspired performance to a sold-out audience last Friday evening. The effect was sexy, funny, artistic, entertaining and educational. It proved once again that the VMFA is a dynamic and progressive purveyor of art in many forms.
“The Southern Fried Socialite,” Magnolia Jackson Pickett Burnside was the charismatic emcee of Revealed: Faberge Burlesque at the Leslie Cheek Theater of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Recently crowned the “Best Drag Performer of 2011” by Style Weekly Magazine, she is a flamboyant tease who embodies the best of southern cliché.
Members of the Richmond Institute of Burlesque performed enchantingly choreographed dances ranging from graceful ballet to frenetic belly dancing to a heart-pumping Russian Cossack dance. Each one was inspired by a different piece of priceless Faberge art currently on exhibit at the VMFA. Elaborate costumes included vintage accessories, flowing silks and plenty of sparkle that were reminiscent of the Faberge egg that inspired each performance . And since this was burlesque, most of those beautiful costumes came off, one piece at a time in a sultry striptease.
This was my first burlesque show and I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive about seeing “too much,” but the art of the tease was expertly merged with the art of the dance and the result was enthralling, without baring it all.
It turns out, the priceless art of Faberge and the titillating world of burlesque actually have a lot in common. Both are art forms that take years of dedication to master. Both have sparkle, glitz and sex appeal. Both are “carefully crafted and conceal hidden treasures.” And this night, both were brilliantly exhibited by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
VMFA is currently exhibiting the largest collection of the magnificent art of Faberge in the United States. The exhibit will only be open until October 2, 2011. If you have never feasted your eyes on the opulent gifts and jewelry of the Russian imperial empire, you should definitely visit this large exhibit while you can.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, located at 200 N. Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. They consistently present world-class exhibits and collections across all genres of fine art. It is a marvelous educational resource for all ages and one you should not miss when you are in the Richmond area. To plan a customized tour of all that Richmond has to offer, please contact Covington Travel’s expert vacation advisors who live and work right in the heart of it all.