A Bloody Good Time

The Blood Ballet Cabaret and the Search for Carmen Sandiego

As another school year begins, the summer’s wild nights and whirlwind vacations are well behind us, but what better way to beat the back-to-school blues than to be transported for an evening to the many places we’d rather be instead?

On Sept. 25, The Blood Ballet Cabaret presents Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, a titillating parody of the educational video games that were a staple of most ’90s households. The salacious Miss Bloody Mary Anne, aka Kamee Abrahamian, stars as a sensual Carmen Sandiego in a jet-setting burlesque performance that promises to push the envelope in the cabaret’s traditional style.

The Blood Ballet Cabaret incorporates music, theatre, dance, and circus performances ranging from aerial contortion to fire -ooping into teasing comedic acts that are as whimsical as they are seductive. The Carmen Sandiego show will feature skits with an international flavour, transporting the audience to India, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, and the United States, among others.

All of the cabaret’s performers are trained actors, dancers, and circus performers, and their professionalism shows in their playful but immaculately put-together acts. Abrahamian, the main founder, producer and dancer for the cabaret, has fourteen years’ training in ballet, a background that feeds directly into her transition to burlesque.

When Abrahamian was told, at age eighteen, that she would have to shed roughly 30 pounds from an already svelte frame in order to continue dancing ballet professionally, she chose to give it up instead.

“I love ballet [but] I wanted to keep the body that I have now, that I had when I was 18,” Abrahamian said. “It was difficult at first, but I found my place back onstage.”

In many ways, burlesque seems to have been a natural, if unexpected, transition for Abrahamian. Far from presenting striptease purely for the sake of it, the Blood Ballet Cabaret promotes positive sexuality, liberation from modern beauty standards and intelligent, playful performances.

“We have all kinds of body shapes in our show,” said Abrahamian. “I have women coming up to me afterwards and saying, ‘I feel so sexy just by watching you [all] onstage.’ It’s really empowering. ”

The cabaret’s philosophy is to embrace the playfulness and naturalness of female sexuality through their performance.

“[Sexuality] is natural. Burlesque is a way for us to convey that to other women, and to be proud of it. Because it is a power, and it’s a resource, and we should feel no shame in using it.”

“[Sexuality] is natural,” said Abrahamian. “Burlesque is a way for us to convey that to other women, and to be proud of it. Because it is a power, and it’s a resource, and we should feel no shame in using it.”

Abrahamian has also performed burlesque in New York, Panama and Tokyo, and plans to bring her burlesque to South America through a summer tour. In the meantime, however, she hopes to bring a new format to the BBC to accommodate her evolving artistic vision and that of her performers. This Sunday’s show will be the last of the cabaret’s year-long monthly performances at The Belmont and promises to be a spectacular sendoff for Abrahamian, who plans on moving to New York while she searches for ways to adapt the troupe.

“I want to change the show. I’m going to cut out the host, I’m going to cut out the stage. I want the audience to be more involved with the acts, and we also want to try to send out a message and not just a theme,” she said. “I’m [also] looking to collaborate with some environmental groups.”

For the time being Abrahamian is taking her show on the road, but she promises that Montreal has not seen the last of the Blood Ballet Cabaret. However, the Carmen Sandiego show may be the last performance in the “classic” Blood Ballet Cabaret style, so it’s well worth turning out. Abrahamian plans on performing, for the last time, the Russian-themed skit that launched her burlesque career, bringing the cabaret’s first incarnation to a symbolic, as well as literal, close.

“[It was] my first act in Montreal. And it will be my last act in Montreal,” she said. For now.

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? / Sept. 25 / Le Belmont (4483 St. Laurent Blvd.) / Doors at 8:00 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m. / $10.00 More info at bloodballetcabaret.com

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