Fans of the Va Va Vixens — Louisville’s most popular burlesque company — are used to seeing a lot of talk about Valentine’s Day from the sexy group, but they may not be quite as accustomed to hearing about Christmas and other December holidays.
That might change on Thursday, Dec. 8, when the Vixens return to the Headliners stage with “Va Va FestiVus,” a new show featuring plenty of holiday cheer — and presumably a little holiday rear as well.
Lisa Frye, the producer and director of the Vixens, has a definite Grinchy-ness she doesn’t hide, but it’s really a timing issue that kept the Vixens away from the winter holidays.
“We have not done a Christmas show in five years, because it is so close to our February show,” Frye tells Insider. In order to have a Christmas show and a Valentine’s show in one year, the troupe has to prepare for both shows, rehearsing them simultaneously. “It is almost excruciating to put two shows on together,” she says.
Valentine’s Day is huge for the Vixens; there’s no way they could cut it.
“Definitely Valentine’s is our biggest show by far,” Frye adds. “It more than doubles any show we do, any other time of year.”
So Christmas had to go, and Louisvillians have had to settle for less sexy holiday traditions.
Jenna Bain joined the troupe a year after their last Christmas show, in 2012. She grew up dancing, she was on the dance team in high school, and she continued to perform in college at JCTC and UofL. In addition to loving dance, Bain has another big fixation.
“I am the biggest Christmas fiend ever,” she says. “I get super into all the festivities, and I make presents for everyone, and I really wanted to bring the Christmas show back to Vixens.”
Bain jokes that a little arm twisting may have been involved in convincing Frye to do a winter show. She says the idea to resurrect the Christmas show was partly content-based. “We had a bunch of cute ideas that could only be used in a Christmas show, and we wanted to make sure they got used.”
Frye relented on her ban and gave the show a green light.
“I guess we had that amnesia,” Frye says, “so we decided to go ahead and do another Christmas show.”
Once the decision was made, it was time to give the holiday that Vixen feel. The process started with Frye diving into all the holiday music she could get her hands on.
“Because I’m not a huge Christmas fan personally … digging through the songs was a little excruciating,” she says, but her pain is your gain. “It also makes me a little bit more objective, because it makes me want to find something that’s really good, instead of just the same old, same old.”
In recent years, the Vixens have incorporated a larger number of group dance numbers in their shows, often with a more theatrical thrust, but they’ve cooled it down for this show.
“This one is definitely a lot more centered around actual burlesque,” says Frye, who promises there are still plenty of aerials, circus acts the Vixens helped popularize in Louisville.
The Vixens also are known for their quirky sense of humor. It’s displayed in the framing device for this show.
“We have Kristina Kringle, who is Santa’s daughter. She’s newly married to this man who is in line to be the next Santa,” explains Frye. In the Vixens’ story, Santa Claus is a title, passed from one mortal to the next. “They have a fight about that because she’s a lot more ready to be Santa than he could ever be.”
While much of pop culture’s concept of the holidays are centered around families, sexying up Christmas has a pretty firm place in the zeitgeist as well.
“Everyone always sees those Christmas Misses Claus lingerie get put out at Victoria’s Secret and all that stuff, so we are trying to … put sex appeal into the festivities and the holiday spirit,” says Bain.
Bain admits it has been tough rehearsing two shows, since, just like five years ago, the Vixens already are hard at work on their Valentine’s Day show. “I mean, it’s been kind of hectic … but I think it’s worth it.”
Catch all the sexy Santa action this weekend at Headliners, 1386 Lexington Road. “Va Va FestiVus” only runs Dec. 8 to 10, so get your tickets ($20) with a quickness. Doors open at 7 p.m.