Writer-producer-director Deirdre Allen Timmons examines the classic art of burlesque -- "strip-tease" as opposed to "stripping" -- in this interesting, sometimes funny, and occasionally poignant documentary. Ten ordinary women in the Seattle area, ranging in age from early 20s to early 50s, take a six-week course in taking off their clothes in front of an audience as a way to boost their self-esteem and strengthen their sexual confidence.
As a movie, it's nothing extraordinary -- a conventional, even bland, documentary approach is used -- but the subject matter itself offers something unusual. And more important, the director manages to give us a look inside the psyches of a few of the students who on the surface mostly appear to be "ordinary" people. Why would they want to get up on stage in sexy costumes, gyrate to music, and then show off their not-necessarily-slim bodies?
That's the fascination of this film: the question of why they do it and what they gain. Through interviews with class instructor Miss Indigo Blue, her assistant The Shanghai Pearl, and all of the students, Timmons helps us see that accepting one's body as a sexual object and taking ownership of its use in that context can be truly empowering. In the end, her movie exposes more than just skin; it exposes humanity.
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