If, for one reason or another (and it’s okay if you don’t want to mention his name), you’re feeling a bit left out of the whole Valentine’s Day thing, it may be a great time to consider options other than bingeing on those discounted chocolates in the cardboard heart boxes.
It may be time to go “bellesque.”
It may be time to go to Clearstory in the Pajama Factory complex at 1307 Park Avenue, Williamsport, on February 18 and enjoy a day of “Lady Love: A Divinely Feminine Event to Ignite Your Spark.”
Lady Love is the brainchild of Ravyn Lunatique, owner of Bawdy and Soul Studio at 1063 West Fourth Street, also in Williamsport, and a teacher of belly dance/burlesque (bellesque), and Lisa Andrus, Andrus Hospitality LLC, coordinator for the use of the Clearstory space. It will be a day of workshops focused on—you guessed it—the ladies.
“If you’re single, you may be thinking ‘here’s another day that doesn’t belong to me,’ or maybe your boyfriend forgot Valentine’s Day,” says Ravyn. Or maybe that’s not the case at all. Maybe you just want to learn to belly dance. Perhaps your spiritual self needs a bit of R&R. And it could certainly be possible that your latent burlesque abilities are just now ready to manifest themselves.
“I think when women choose to do burlesque, they think of it as classy stripping,” explains Ravyn. She has a little gentler take on it, at least for beginners. “It is really for your inner little girl, to feel pretty and fancy and say ‘look at me.’”
She adds that “exploring your sexy options” is a good thing to do after Valentine’s Day.
When you think burlesque, what might come to mind are ladies like Mae West and Gypsy Rose Lee and Blaze Starr, dripping in camp and draped in not much more than colorful feather boas. Burlesque is properly defined as a literary, dramatic, or musical work intended to cause laughter by poking fun at, or caricaturing, the manner or spirit of a serious work. It is a kind of performance art that can include stripping, or not, but definitely does include theatre, comedy, satire, music, and the somewhat nebulous “adult entertainment.”
“A burlesque performer is displaying her version of sexy, whatever it may be, and the audience can either take it or leave it,” Ravyn says.
Ravyn started doing burlesque about six years ago and has been teaching it for almost as long. The belly dancing came a little later—at a time when she was contemplating a burlesque performance and was just a tad anxious about the prospect of being relatively unclothed in front of strangers and wanted to drop a few pounds. She took a belly dancing class and a couple of workshops and was hooked. She had an affinity for the movements and found that she was able to take the dance and “break it down and teach it.”
“Both belly dancing and burlesque are treasures for the modern woman,” Ravyn affirms. “Both help you be accepting of your body. Burlesque takes the distinctly feminine movements of belly dancing...and makes them bigger and more sensual.”
The two forms of dancing, she says, “have been the dual yet parallel roads that have ultimately led me back to myself.”
Intrigued? Then set aside 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on February 18 to pamper yourself at the Divinely Feminine Event. It’s just five dollars to get in and five dollars for each workshop, all offered in an amazing location (www.pajamafactory.net). Ravyn describes the venue as a “super beautiful space.”
“It’s open, airy, with lots of windows, and a serene feeling. It is very spa-like.”
Lisa Andrus says there will be at least ten vendors on site, including Medusa Inc., Divinity Qi, and Strangeheart Studio. Real Life Catering, a food truck, and Life’s Flavors, a new catering endeavor based in the Williamsport Community Kitchen, also sited at the Pajama Factory, will be on hand to take care of the body-nourishment part of the day.
The Pajama Factory complex was built between 1883 and 1919 by Lycoming Rubber Company. Various companies have used the space in the ensuing years, including its namesake, the Weldon Pajama Factory. Mark and Suzanne Winkleman purchased the buildings in 2008; their plan has been to establish a space for a creative community.