I was asked to make a list of my favorite burlesque performers that I would book TODAY for shows, events, corporate gigs, private events, festivals and more based off of their skills, performances, professionalism and WOW factor and I’ve compiled a list of some of my present-day favorites.
I’m often asked for recommendations for burlesque and pole events, production companies, immersive experiences and more. Whether it’s for “Inclusive Dance Studios in NYC” or “What Show to See Next.” It’s one of the reasons I created my Burlesque Directory complete with categories from podcasts to supper clubs and more.
If I were casting a show or event, no matter the theme or location and with an unlimited budget, these are the artists to HIRE TODAY! This list is an inclusive list that is full of POC Burlesque Performers, Non-Binary Burlesque Performers, Queer Burlesque Performers and more. (Also, where-ever I say Burlesque, I’m meaning “Burlesque, Drag, and Aerial.” And “Aerial” includes “Pole.”)
1. Perle Noire – Black Burlesque Queen
According to her website, her official bio reads as, “Burlesque sensation Perle Noire began singing, dancing and acting as a child when she landed a McDonald’s commercial and a role on The Cosby Show. Drawing inspiration from the great Josephine Baker, Perle has performed her signature blend of sultry, athletic and captivating dance in venues throughout the world including the Crown Casino in Melbourne, The Waltz in Tokyo, Teatro Circo Price in Madrid, and the Koko in London. She was the first black burlesque queen to perform at the Summer Jamboree in Senigallia and headline at the the Sydney Opera House. She has also graced stages while headlining in Dita Von Teese’s Burlesque: Strip, Strip, Hooray! tour, the Voodoo De Luxe in Rome and Milan, Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Showcase, as well as burlesque festivals in the Bahamas, Helsinki, Auckland, Prague, Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Calgary, Vienna, Montreal, New York, and Los Angeles. Perle’s dynamic style has earned her awards such as First Queen of Burlesque at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival (2009); as well as Best Debut (2008), Second Runner Up (2009), Most Dazzling Dancer (2012), First Runner Up (2015) and Best Large Group (2017) at the Burlesque Hall of Fame. After years of being told how much she has inspired and helped people, Perle has embraced the titles of mentor and healer that were bestowed upon her. She now shares her gifts and experience through her Perlesque classes, Healing through Seduction series, The House of Noire dance company, and The Noire Pageant for performers of color.”
2. Jessabelle Thunder – The Clark Kent of the Burlesque World
POWERHOUSE, BOMBSHELL, & PINUP model Jessabelle Thunder is a Burlesque Performer with the title of 1st Runner Up Miss Exotic World 2018 & Burlesque Top 50. I gave her my soul after watching the video of this amazing modern fan dance.
According to her website, her official bio reads as, “When Jessabelle Thunder takes the stage, look out! By day, she’s a shy four-eyed self-proclaimed nerd; she leads a secret double life—the Clark Kent of the burlesque world. But once she hits the spotlight, a sultry vixen breaks loose and sets the audience aflame. The music comes up. It hits her in the heart. Makes her want to move. Her adrenalin rushes, and a sexy, flirtatious baby doll is set free. With no formal training in theater or dance, her free-flowing performances come straight from the heart. Audiences cheer, because who could resist?! Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, this self-described wallflower took her first burlesque class back in 2009 and hasn’t stopped since. She quickly discovered a passion, and developed a talent, for burlesque, which has now become an integral part of her life. Since her debut she has performed on countless stages across California, in Colorado, Texas, Atlanta, New York and Las Vegas (to name a few). Internationally she has entertained audiences in Canada and London, thus far. Voted one of LA’s top 13 burlesque performers by Time Out Magazine, this fun, flirtatious dynamo has done so much, yet she has barely scratched the surface of her capabilities. There is a storm brewing and she’s bringing the Thunder!”
3. Carmine Black – The Low Flow Queen
SEXY, SENSUAL & EROTIC, Carmine Black is everyone’s dream. I’ve been so lucky as to take her classes & workshops and be cast in one of her own productions too. Her very breath is goals.
According to her website. her official bio reads as, “With over 10 years of experience in movement and bodywork, Elizabeth specializes in improvisational dance and performance art. She was a professional ballroom dancer for over 5 years, and has experience in belly dance, salsa, hip-hop, and contemporary movement. In 2013 she started taking pole classes, became Xpert certified and has been obsessed with pole dance ever since. Her ultimate goal is to create a safe and creative environment where students can learn different techniques while exploring an authentic expression of their own body movement. Through sensuality and awareness, she believes that dance can be empowering, and encourages each student’s journey individually.”
4. Marlena Magdalene – The Patron Saint of Sluts and Sinners
She’s a Dramatic and Dreamy Bombshell and I can never get enough. I’ve had the honor of being hired with her for private client gigs because of The Siren Pack Troupe and she’s an absolute doll to work with.
According to her website. her official bio reads as, “Born and raised in Queens, New York, Marlena Magdalene is a burlesque performer and aspiring pin-up model who got her start while attending the State University of New York at New Paltz. There, Marlena joined the first colligate burlesque troupe, Alpha Psi Ecdysia. She performed with APE for four years before joining her current troupe, Black Magic Burlesque and performing in New Paltz and Kingston. Over the last year Marlena has performed at Coney Island USA in the Follies Fromage and at Bizarre Bushwick in Power over Panic. “
5. Glow Job – Satiating Your Aura Fixation
SHOWSTOPPER, HIGH ACTION & INNOVATOR, Glow Job is one of the best Drag Queens that I know. She elevates the concept of Drag Queens to another level by utilizing her natural body and makeup to create a “feminine” aesthetic. Without the gimmick of added fake body parts and layers of nylon, she’s able to create Drag performances that truly embody the aesthetic of Burlesque, including full-on striptease acts that delight the audience with the most imaginative spectacles.
6. HoneyTree EvilEye – She’s Not a Doll, She’s An Action Figure
PROLIFIC, EROTIC, & A TRUE VISIONARY, HoneyTree is the genius behind SlutChurch, DoBoth, Philadelphia’s Burlesque Battle Royale and so much more.
According to one of her profiles, her bio states, “One of Philadelphia’s most prolific burlesque producers for nearly a decade, HoneyTree EvilEye produces popular events like: Get You a Babe Who Can Do Both (lightning talks and burlesque), SlutChurch (metal, burlesque, bdsm party), Take it Off Broadway (broadway and burlesque, a collaboration with Philly Dance Fitness), and long running events like Honeygasm, Agitated and more! She is the current head instructor at the Philadelphia Burlesque Battle Royale and the co-founder and co-producer of the Golden Tassel Jawns, Philly’s annual burlesque awards.”
7. Miss Marquez – Mind-Bending & Psychedelic Burlesque
SULTRY, BOLD & UNIQUE, Miss Marquez is a colorful and creative artist that I love to follow. Between, Empowerment in Heels, Marijuana Madness and her own performances, she’s perfect for events, shows and more!
According to her website, her official bio reads, “Miss Marquez a.k.a Alyssa Marquez took her first dance class at the age of 3. She then spent her life training in classical ballet and has been performing as a professional dancer since high school. It was, however, Miss Marquez‘s natural affinity for the classic vaudevillian era of entertainment where she found her passion in the art of Burlesque. Miss Marquez has a nostalgic appreciation for the burlesque performers, Hollywood starlets, and cultural sex symbols who pioneered the way to allow Burlesque to become a growing and more mainstream form of entertainment. Since 2012 Miss Marquez has enjoyed bringing her tantalizing antics as a solo burlesque performer to some of the nations most illustrious venues including Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque Club, Houston Hospitality’s No Vacancy and Harvard and Stone, Harvelle’s Jazz and Blues Club est. 1931, Cliftons Cafeteria, Highland Park Bowl, Employees Only, and Apotheke LA. Miss Marquez is the creator of Empowerment in Heels, a weekly Burlesque Class designed for Empowerment. An opportunity for Bodies of all skill levels to experience the Power and Beauty of Burlesque. Miss Marquez is also the producer of LA’s newest Burlesque Show MARIJUANA MADNESS, the tale of Cannabis prohibition during the Jazz Era utilizing the recent legalization of recreational Cannabis to elevate the audiences experience. “
8. Opera Gaga – The Singing Aerialist
THE HIGHLIGHT OF ANY SHOW is Opera Gaga. Point. Blank. Period.
According to her website, her official bio reads, “Marcy Richardson, aka OperaGaga, is an opera singing aerialist known around the world for her iconic work marrying opera, pole, aerial arts, and burlesque. Based in New York, she has appeared as a soloist everywhere from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, to many of NYC’s premiere entertainment spots for nightlife entertainment, including Company XIV, Duane Park, The Slipper Room, DROM, House of Yes, Le Poisson Rouge, Dixon Place, Secret Loft NYC, Sid Gold’s Request Room, Hot Box Girls Vienna & NYC, Spiegelworld, AERA Dance, Cirque Central Entertainment, Virginia Opera, Opera Columbus, LE Miami, and more.”
9. Bentley Rebel – The Original DaddyMa
THE EPITOME OF FLOW AND POWER, Bentley Rebel will change your life one performance at a time.
According to his Instagram bio, Bentley is the “Creator Of FLOWOLOGY,”
an ORGANIC ARTIST, Dancer, Pole Instructor/Champion and Choreographer who teaches at The Fit Factory in New York.”
10. Zelia Rose – The No.1 Most Influential Burlesque Artist In The World
CAPTIVATING, BEAUTIFUL & EFFORTLESS, Zelia Rose is the darling of Burlesque.
According to her website, her official bio reads as, “2019’s #1 burlesque performer of the top 50 worldwide (21st Century burlesque) was awarded to Zelia Rose, a well recognised leader & visionary in the burlesque, cabaret and drag world. From working alongside Dita Von Teese, and touring the world as a solo artist Zelia has established herself as Australia’s most in demand showgirl. “Rose steals the stage” as written by The Age news paper, and this illustrious talent has graced many from theatres, festivals and productions worldwide. In 2015 she won “Best Debut” in the reputable Burlesque Hall of Fame, Las Vegas to a standing ovation. She is also the title holder of Miss Burlesque Australia 2014. Her extensive skill in Dance & Vocals and choreography compliment her big stage persona and repertoire of highly conceptual acts that are sexy, dynamic and truely compelling.”
11. Theydy Bedbug – Trans Nonbinary Drag Creature & The Bug Bite You Beg For
ENTERTAINING, INVENTIVE & CREATIVE, Theydy Bedbug will open your mind with their captivating and unique acts, while opening your mind about all things gender.
12. C’etait BonTemps – The Pastel Priestexx of Burlesque & Drag!
KIND, CALM & POWERFUL, C’etait Bontemps is also known as the Babi Boi of Burlesque & Drag.
His bio reads as such, “The Pastel Priestexx of Burlesque & Drag! BK, NY.📍He/Themme 🙇🏾♂️ BNA nominated EMCEE ✨ Half of @bontempslaceprod!“
Anteus Mathieu, aka C’etait Bontemps, is a Non-binary drag and burlesque performer living in Brooklyn! A Florida transplant, he has been working in nightlife for 6 years. His brand of drag melds the worlds of feminine and masculine performance in both sexy and sometimes uncomfortable ways. His goal is to push the boundaries of drag and burlesque as performance artistry to explore gender identity, sexual agency, and just plain weird shit.”
13. Flirt Vonnegut – Philadelphia’s Seductive Satirist
FUNNY, SMART & SEXY, Flirt Vonnegut is one of my absolute favorite MCs. MCs are basically public speakers, cheerleaders and comedians all rolled up into one. Its a tall order and Flirt is one of its masters!
His bio reads as such, “Award-winning emcee, host of @dobothshow, @darksideburlesque, and #FantasyBasement. Silver-tongued and suspiciously wholesome, Flirt Vonnegut is Philadelphia’s always arousing orator. As preeminent host for monthly Honeygasm Sundays and reliable emcee for both The Bare and the Bold productions and Broad Street Burlesque, Flirt Vonnegut is a distinct presence in the Philly burlesque scene.”
14. Jeez Loueez – The Honey Badger of Burlesque
POWERFUL, SASSY & SULTRY, Jeez Loueez needs know introduction.
Her official bio reads as such, “JEEZ LOUEEZ is an award-winning performer known as The Honey Badger of Burlesque! A lethal combination of drama, hilarity, and killer kinetics, Jeez Loueez is a powerhouse that’s taken stages across the country by storm. Whether donning a mohawk and her patented “Stank Face”, or serving up classic, glamorous striptease, she’s a consummate force that’s become one of the most memorable personalities of modern burlesque. Jeez took home the titles of Miss Viva Las Vegas in 2012, Shimmy Showdown Champion in 2013, and Southern Fried Burlesque Queen in 2014. She’s been voted into the Top 50 Burlesque Industry Figures since 2010 and broke the Top 20 in 2013 and 2014, currently ranked as the #5 burlesque figure in the world. In 2018 she named one of the Top 10 Most Influential Figures of the Decade. A skilled improviser with impeccable comedic timing, Jeez Loueez also charms as an emcee as seen at Burlesque Hall of Fame and Viva Las Vegas among other notable events. A lover of all things behind-the-scenes, she’s the creator of Jeezy’s Juke Joint: A Black Burly-Q Revue which travels throughout the midwest in addition to being the only Black burlesque festival in America. She’s been involved in the Show-Me Burlesque Festival in her hometown of St. Louis since its inception in 2010 and currently serves as their Associate Artistic Director and Education Coordinator. Jeez also co-produces LEZ DANCE, a monthly LGBTQ dance party in St. Louis (Voted Best Ladies Night 2015), and The Hot Box, a queer pop-up party in Chicago. In addition to event planning and production, Jeez Loueez works as a dance instructor teaching hundreds of students locally and internationally throughout the year. Her classes and productions have been featured on Autostraddle, Ebony.com, Windy City Live, and the upcoming season 2 premiere of the Netflix Original series ‘Easy’.”
15. Miss Rara Darling – The Snack That Smiles Back
OTHERWORLDLY, EXOTIC AND SPELLBINDING, Rara Darling is a pint size powerhouse that commands her own orbit.
According to her website, her bio reads as such, “Rara Darling is a New York City based Burlesque Performer, Event Producer, & creator of mind-blowing cabaret style spectacles! Known as the “Snack that Smiles Back,” Rara Darling’s burlesque style ranges from energetic campy to sultry classic to outrageous and raunchy neo-burlesque. No matter the style Rara sees each performance as an opportunity to tell a story through subversive movement and striptease and she’s not afraid to push boundaries in doing so. Producer of shows like Snack Theater, an extravagant and immersive cabaret theater show at the Chelsea Music Hall, and Keepeasy Sundays, a weekly live jazz burlesque show at The Keep, Rara works tirelessly to create opportunities for performers to elevate their work and believes the work that the drag and burlesque communities produce deserve the opportunity to shine and be seen by the masses.”
16. Mistress Lilith – Performance Artist & ProDomme
COMMANDING, KINKY AND SENSUAL, Mistress Lilith demands respect and worship.
According to her website, her bio reads as such, “Mistress Lilith is a professional dominatrix and performance artist with an expansive array of skills and talents. She is based in Philadelphia, but travels all around the country. She began her training as a dominatrix 4 years ago, and has since continued to hone the art of BDSM through workshops and mentorships with industry professionals. She also has 6 years of experience as a nightlife entertainer in strip clubs, night clubs, at private events, corporate events and festivals. Her performances are as unique as they are unforgettable, as she is known for her avant-garde, boundary pushing style. Currently, she is the producer of the provocative and revolutionary pole dance show known as Inversions, sessions regularly in Philadelphia, and has a residency as a performer at Nineteen27 Speakeasy in Ocean Casino Resort.”
17. Delysia LaChatte – The Feline Fatale Of Burlesque
SULTRY, EROTIC & POWERFUL, Delysia La Chatte is alluring and mysterious.
In her own words, “My name is Mia. I am a young African American woman from the South Bronx, working in the fields of visual art, fashion and performance. It’s been my life long dream to own my own business and express my personality and independence through fusing my three passions. The result is La Chatte’s Meow! La Chatte’s Meow owes it’s name to my stage moniker Delysia La Chatte. As Delysia La Chatte I am the featured dancer and choreographer for the immersive theater company Speakeasy Dollhouse. I’m noted for my critically acclaimed performance as Josephine Baker in Midnight Frolic at the historic Times Square Liberty Theater. Recent work includes choreographing and co-directing the immersive sensationThe Illuminati Ball, regular performances with Prohibition Productions, Bathtub Gin, Birdland Burelesk, Duane Park , Shanghai Mermaid and many more. When I’m not hanging out with my dog Kevin and cat Frank (who help me run my business) you will find me performing weekly in venues across NYC.”
18. Madame Romanova – Amsterdam Queen of Burlesque
SNAKE CHARMER & MAGICIAN, Madame Romanova is beyond a triple threat! And her speciality! High Glam, Luxury!
Her website, her bio, “Internationally acclaimed Dutch Burlesque performer Madame Romanova has acquired several titles during her career
- Queen of Classic Burlesque at Amsterdam Burlesque Award 2015.
- Best Classic Act at Italy Queen Burlesque Festival 2015.
- First runner up Burlesque Queen Rouge 2014.
- First runner up Burlesque Queen Paris 2012.
- Romanova was the first Dutch Burlesque performer at the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend(BHoF) in Las Vegas, which is the most prestigious and respected burlesque event in the world!
- Romanova was chosen to be a show architect for Montblanc’s private event in Rotterdam and the main showgirl for Piper Heidsieck’s promo tour 2011 in Belgium.
Romanova’s passion for Burlesque was born from the idea of ’empowering woman’. Her biggest inspiration in creating Burlesque acts is women with a strong personality, a femme fatale, a style icon with a blueprint on the history, such as Cleopatra, Mata Hari and Sally Rand. Women who are stubborn feminists fighting for their rights, but at the same time they are loving mothers, sensual and feminine.”
19. Mel Hyde – The Moody Bombshell
LOVELY, SPICY & GRACEFUL, Mel Hyde is a Femme Fatale dream.
20. Evon Michelle – High Kicks, Hair Flips & Cartwheels
GLAMOROUS, BOLD & ACROBATIC, Evon Michelle is a high energy, show stopper that exudes Beyonce vibes and feels.
Her website. “Whether it’s a high-energy dance number, or a chilling vocal and piano performance, Evon Michelle is guaranteed to entertain crowds of all ages!”
21. Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière – First Canadian and First Indigenous Queen of Burlesque
DARK, DYNAMIC & DAZZLING, Miss Lou Lou la Duchesse de Riere in a reigning queen, burlesque performer and aerialist.
Her bio reads as such, “Montreal’s own Miss Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière is a sweet seductive performer who has been singing, dancing and acting for over 15 years. Despite her girlish demeanor, she has several years of tantalizin’, teasin’, and rump shakin’ under her tiny garter belt. Skilled in knife throwing, Martini downing, and sharp shooting La Duchesse is an exotic force to be reckoned with.”
22. Midnight Moon – The Wild Rose of Lisbon
SEDUCTIVE, SULTRY, & SALACIOUS, Midnight Moon is the perfect kind of performance spice.
Her Instagram profile reads as, “The Wild Rose of Lisbon, International Burlesque Performer, Fully Fashioned Queen, Dressmaker and Milliner.”
23. MisSa Blue – The Female Sword Swallower
MIND BLOWING & JAW DROPPING, MisSa Blue is a Fire Artist, Sword Swallower and Burlesque Performer regarded as “The Queen of Fire and Knives.”
Her bio reads as such, “MisSa Blue currently ranks No. 1 ‘Most influential Burlesque industry figure in Europe and No. 21 world wide. Generated by 21st Century Burlesque Magazine. MisSa Blue the iconic Variety and Burlesque star who has gained international recognition through her high end sword swallowing performances. Since launching her career 2010 in London she continuously headlines Gala events, Variety shows and Burlesque festivals around the world. MisSa is playing a leading role in Germany’s GOP Theatre production ‘Freaks’, is frequently interviewed by platforms like the BBC, seen on TV and recently spoke on TEDx on her success story of becoming a performer. She has an active voice globally supporting black Performance Art and is pioneering in the Burlesque world with her invitation as first sword swallower to perform at The Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas!”
24. Ravenessa – The Witty Titty From The Big City
GEEKY, FREAKY, & SENSUAL, Ravenessa is a true chocolate bombshell.
Her bio reads as such, “Ravenessa is NYC-based burlesque dancer who creates dazzling and hilarious performances.”
25. Genie Adagio – Classic Burlesque’s Quiet Storm
POWERFUL, SMOLDERING & ON POINTE, Genie Adaigo is a Showgirl and Ballerina.
On Instagram, her bio states, “Dancer, choreographer, model, New York City”
26. Ivory Fox – The Pin Up of Pole
Pint Sized, PinUp, Circus Freak Ivory Fox is one of the most talented and entertaining performers out there with a specialty in handstands, among other side show and aerial talents.
Her bio states, “Ivory Fox, known as ‘The Pinup on the Pole’, is a professional pole performer who specializes in burlesque pole. She is known for her clever and athletic routines that deliver humor with a heap of sexy.”
27. Daisy Desnuda – The Naked Thespian
THEATRICAL, ROMANTIC, & VIVACIOUS, Daisy Desnuda is a true darling.
Her bio states, “Daisy Desnuda is a NYC born and based burlesque performer inspired by theater history and pop culture. Delighting audiences with satirical storylines, precise musicality, and playful striptease, this darling up and comer has graced the stages of Bizarre Bushwick, Branded Saloon, Coney Island USA, Crystal Lake, DROM, La Flaca, Freddy’s Bar and Backroom, The Keep, Parkside Lounge, and Toro Tapas & Tequila since April 2018. Daisy is a certified ecdysiast with the New York School of Burlesque, holds a bachelor’s degree in theater administration from Baruch College, and is an operations professional at BAM, a center for avant-garde performance art.”
28. Sammy Picone – Movement Is My Therapist
GODDESS OF FLOW, GRACE & STRENGTH, Sammy is the latest influential aerialist that has everyone looking at pole dancing in a different way.
Her bio states, “Sammy began her pole journey two years ago. When a medical diagnosis left her in search of an alternative means of mental and physical healing, pole dancing came to the rescue. Pole has been her most reliable form of healing ever since. The meditative and therapeutic qualities of pole dancing are what Sammy strives to open students’ eyes to through teachings. Outside of pole, Sammy is currently a graduate student at the Tri- State College of Acupuncture. She hopes to be able to one day use the practice to help pole dancers– and athletes in general– when dealing with injury.”
29. Miscallaneous DomTop – The Femme Dominatrix
KINKY, FEMME & DOMINANT, Miscallaneous DomTop is a powerful force on stage.
Their Instagram bio states, “Burlesque Performer, Dominant Crossdresser and Model.”
30. Juliette Electrique | The Dainty DareDevil
DAZZLING, GLAMOROUS & CHEEKY, Juliette Electrique is a quirky and sassy showgirl.
In her own words, “I am The dainty Daredevil, A classic showgirl with a twist of danger and a hint of vaudeville.”