Tranny Zukko finds burlesque freeing

Claiming it as one of the most attended burlesque festivals in the world, the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival is back for its eighth year in May.  Among those appearing this year is Vancouver male burlesque dancer Tranny Zukko.

A member of Vancouver’s Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society, the Boxers are Brief Male Burlesque group in Victoria and his own troupe Dirty Vanities, 22 year-old Zachary Wood (aka Tranny Zukko seen in the photo right by Baron S. Cameron) has been performing burlesque since 2011.

“I studied theatre at Douglas College for two years and in 2010 I did a show at the College where some burlesque performers saw me and asked me to perform with them in Screaming Chicken,” says Wood.  “After I started with the group I knew it was what I had to do and it just started to grow from there”.

Finding burlesque more freeing than traditional theatre, Wood says getting involved in the genre has led him to the person he is today, finding strength on stage and being able to express himself on his terms.  But despite being accepted readily into the world of burlesque, Wood does admit being a male dancer is still a bit of an oddity, something he is determined to change.

“It is not about gender, it is about the performer,” he explains.  “It is harder for a male burlesque dancer to do something sexy or dramatic because for whatever reason seeing a guy take his clothes off is seen as funny.  I’m not trying to make people laugh, I want to be sexual and serious sometimes.”

Wood will have an opportunity to show what he and his Dirty Vanities can do as part of the May 3 showcase at the Vogue Theatre on Granville Street that will feature what he calls “16 gorgeous, strong, fierce women” in a number that is “very different and fresh to the burlesque scene”.

The showcase evening is one of two nights at the Vogue Theatre on Granville Street that will also include the reigning Queen of Burlesque, Australia’s Imogen Kelly, and Russell Bruner who took the prize for “Best Boylesque” at the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s Tournament of Tease in Las Vegas last year.

The 8th Annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival opens on May 2, 2013 at East Vancouver’s Rio Theatre with three selected burlesque producers each getting an hour to produce a show complete with live musicians.

“There really is something for everyone with burlesque,” insists Wood.  “My favourite thing is to look out at the audience and see a whole range of different people: friends my age, some white hairs, the jocks who come out to see their girlfriends and the people who really get into it wearing a corset, bunny ears and a tutu.”

Vancouver International Burlesque Festival
Rio and Vogue Theatres, Vancouver
2 – 4 May 2013

Visit http://www.vanburlesquefest.com for tickets and information.

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