Moulin Rouge for Urban Audiences

Tania MacWilliam
Profiles

March 24, 2011

*PDF of newspaper article and photographs here

Sugar free but just as sweet, these delectable treats won’t go to your waistline.

The Saucy Tarts are a Toronto-based can-can troupe who perform in local burlesque shows and will be offering a workshop series of four 90-minute classes at the Xing Studio in Toronto’s College and Bathurst area. Students will receive six hours of can-can training and learn the history behind the art.

There are five core members in the troupe: Absinthe Tart, Cherry Tart, Cinna- mon Tart, Marzipan Tart and PoisonBerry Tart.

They wear their names like a badge of honour, said Absinthe Tart, whose name was inspired by the mysterious liquor.

Cinnamon Tart was named for her fiery red hair. Cherry Tart’s name is a nod to The Atomic Cherries, a burlesque troupe to which she previously belonged.

It is more than a name that defines who The Saucy Tarts are. Most of all, they are unique.

“We’re not the Rockettes,” said Cherry Tart.

“We aren’t identical. Our personality shows on stage,” said Cinnamon Tart.

While their performances are inspired by vintage Paris can-can, they offer a modern take to appeal to an urban audience.

They perform to traditional music but can also be found high kicking to harder music like Marilyn Manson. It’s about finding the balance between tradition and progression.

One thing that’s required in both traditional and modern can-can is stamina.

“You have to jump, kick and run around in five pound skirts and heavy boots,” said Cherry Tart.

Moulin Rouge is the inspiration behind their costumes, which Cinnamon Tart designs herself.

The brightly coloured frocks are designed to show as much skin as possible, without baring it all.

What can you expect to see at their show? Legs, legs, cleavage, frilly knickers and more legs.

They don’t feel the need to compete with burlesque performers who shed their garments.

Their high-energy and tightly choreographed routines are enough to make their audience “lose their shit,” said Cherry Tart. “They love it.”

While the crowd sometimes shouts “Take it off,” for the most part the audience appreciates what can-can offers, said Cinnamon Tart.

It’s less about the strip and more about the tease with “High kicks, skirts flipped over our heads, cheeky, peak-a-boo, now you see something, now you don’t,” said Absinthe Tart.

Getting ready for a performance only takes Cherry Tart 30 minutes. Her focus is on the makeup. “More is more,” she said.

“Sometimes it takes me an hour just to do my hair,” said Cinnamon Tart. “But the biggest part of the costume is the glitter. ”

We get to be different characters on stage,” said Absinthe Tart. “You are yourself, but amplified.”

They will be performing at the Lunacy Cabaret at 1300 Gerrard St. East in Toronto on April 2. For more information contact thesaucytarts@gmail.com.

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