Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Roses by Different Names

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Roses by Different Names

Article excerpt


Riveting Roses at Shocka-Con

WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday WHERE: Beni Kedem Shrine Center,

100 Quarrier St.

TICKETS: Adults $25. Weekend badge (includes three days) $50.

INFO: 304-345-3674 or

Penny Maple wrinkled her forehead when she was asked about the difference between burlesque and stripping. Maple, the founder and leader of Riveting Roses, said there's a phrase that covers that.

"Strippers dance for the money. Burlesque dancers strip for the applause, she said, adding, "Stripping is more of a capitalist kind of thing. Strippers are selling lap dances or drinks.

The troupe will make their public debut Friday night at ShockaCon in Charleston, where they will neither be selling drinks nor lap dances.

Maple said good burlesque dancers aren't selling anything. They're telling a story, though she acknowledged that an uninspired burlesque performer could just be artlessly taking off their clothes while an artistic stripper could be doing something more than just working to collect dollar bills.

"It's complicated, Maple acknowledged.

Without speaking for any other burlesque performers, she said she has always striven toward art.

The Riveting Roses are not Maple's first foray into burlesque. She helped found Wayward Girls School of Burlesque in 2011, which began as a kind of evolution from Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, a monthly figuring drawing class that mixes pop culture, art drawing and alcohol at different locations around Charleston.

In the beginning, Maple said when she and the other burlesque performers first got started they hardly had any idea what they were doing.

"I never had a burlesque mother, she said. "I never had anybody show me what to do. Most of what I learned, I got from reading.

Maple grew up in Clay County, loved dance from as far back as she could remember, but taking dance classes just wasn't practical or really financially viable. She didn't start studying dance until she was a senior in high school.

After graduation, Maple went to New York University for two years and studied dance education, but she worried that teaching dance wasn't something she could make a living at. So, she changed majors and didn't perform for 10 years. …

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