Buxom redhead Apple Nicole Angel is no exception. The writer, model and performer is founder of the TnT Burlesque & Variety Troupe, made up of servers, hairstylists, photographers and stay-at-home moms.
Once the sun sets, however, these ladies like to slip into something a little more comfortable: onstage personas.
The one thing they have in common is their love of burlesque. While Angel doesn’t look for a specific thing in a performer, there’s a little something her girls share.
“It’s confidence. It’s moxie,” she said. “It’s getting onstage and going, ‘Yeah, this is me. Let’s have fun.’”
When she first saw a burlesque troupe, in Indianapolis, Angel was hooked immediately by the women onstage: happy, boisterous and full of life. To her, burlesque embodies the “real” woman and allows them to be themselves.
“There is no shelf life, no scale at the door,” she said. “It doesn’t matter your age or your size. You can do anything.”
Angel’s son came up with the troupe’s name, using TnT as an abbreviation for “tempt and tease.”
Each TnT show is original, down to the costumes and dance numbers. On tap are comedy, music and more traditional burlesque.
“What keeps you coming back is that you have a variety of performers,” said Travis Nance, show emcee. “You’ll find something that you like there.”
Angel said she understands what her audience wants, and she works hard to exceed expectations and stereotypes.
“If I came onstage and was down to a bikini and high heels within the first 10 seconds of a routine, I think the audience would throw things at me. And not good things,” she said. “The burlesque audience would just be lost.”
Because she wants to deliver the best show possible, TnT only sells about 90 seats to each performance. No one gets a bad spot, and the audience gets its money’s worth.
Staging Friday through Sunday, TnT’s Guitars, Garterbelts & Hillbilly Music show will feature country and rock ’n’ roll.
“It’s a great night out where you can have an amazing dinner and a couple of hours of really fun performances with people who care about what they’re putting onstage,” Angel said. “You never know: You may come home with a new hair flower and a pair of pasties, and decide you want to be a burlesque dancer.”