Yellowknifer finds her cool in Brrrlesque, takes to stage in Australia

How a 'shy person' overcame her fears and brought her first ever Brrrlesque act across the ocean.

‘You don’t give up on the things you love,' says Dana Bowen

Dana Bowen discovered her love for burlesque in Yellowknife, where she lived for three years. She moved to Australia this spring. (Tara Marchiori)

Dana Bowen never imagined herself on stage, adorned in a white corset, stockings, and a 1920s-style headband, strip-teasing for an audience.

A self-described "shy person," Bowen said she has "always shied away from the spotlight."

Yet, there she was during her first winter in Yellowknife — performing burlesque in front of hundreds of people.

"It was really surprising, I think not just to me but everyone who knew me."

Bowen says she was always a 'shy person' and 'have always shied away from the spotlight.' (Tara Marchiori)

Bowen moved to Yellowknife in 2014 and decided to attend a burlesque workshop to try something she normally wouldn't do.

She recalled the experience as "really uncomfortable" but auditioned for Yellowknife's Brrrlesque show anyway.

"When I first met [Dana], she was definitely very shy, wasn't super outgoing, very reserved," said Sadetlo Scott, who became friends with Bowen at the workshop.

"Both of us had come out of our shell," added Scott, who's performed at the Brrrlesque show for the past three years.

Brrrlesque, advertised as the "hottest show in town," has become an annual winter must-see in Yellowknife.

Hundreds of tickets sell out online in a matter of minutes and it's grown over the years — the last iteration included to 27 acts, and dozens of cast and crew.

'I'm shaking so much'

When her first performance was just moments away, Bowen said she got the jitters.

"I'm shaking so much," she recalled. "Then as soon as I got on stage it just all came so naturally."

Dana Bowen performs at a Brrrlesque dress rehearsal in Yellowknife in February 2015. (Walter Strong/Submitted by Dana Bowen)

She sang and danced to the 1940 Cole Porter song, The Laziest Gal in Town.

"It's basically about this woman who has all these suitors and she's interested in pursuing them, but she's just too lazy," Bowen said.

Since joining the Brrrlesque show, Bowen has learned how to be comfortable with her body and show others that she's happy exactly as she is.

Her first performance led to another, then another.

"I was hooked after that."

'Sharing it with the world'

Bowen left Yellowknife for Melbourne, Australia, this past spring for work and she once again found herself on stage.

She was connected to a local burlesque show called Tassel and Tease.

"I didn't expect to do it over here," said Bowen. "But I had a friend say to me … 'you don't give up on the things you love.'"

Last week, Bowen performed the very same act she did during her first Brrrlesque in 2014.

"Her act … is just so original, so quirky, something none of us expected. It really spoke to her character, so I love that she's sharing that with the world now," said Scott.

Just like that first time in Yellowknife, Bowen found her performance in Australia to be nerve racking.

But, like that first time, "as soon as I was off stage, I wanted to do it all over again," she said.

With files from Alyssa Mosher


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