Meet Bearlesque, the group of burly boys who are putting the grrr back into burlesque.

Since forming in 2005, these six UK boys have been developing an ever-growing fan base for their unique take on neo-burlesque which takes inspiration from traditional vaudeville theatre but with a virile, hairy twist.

Initially the idea developed as a result of the fun we’d had performing in the talent quest of the Bear Beauty Contest. We wanted more and it spiralled out of control from there, Luke Bear says.

There has been a massive resurgence in popularity of the burlesque scene in the UK and an off-shoot of -˜neo-burlesque’. We fit in with our cheeky blend of old-time vaudeville theatre and a fresh take on things.

The show, which features the boys performing stripteases and cheeky reinterpretations of classic burlesque numbers like Cabaret for bear-loving audiences, is being greeted with adulation.

Simon Bear credits their success to the group’s unabashed pride in their bodies.

I think we make the audience feel like you don’t have to be a Chippendale to be sexy and have fun taking your clothes off, Simon said.

We’ve had female fans tell us their boyfriends have have been a lot more comfortable with their bodies after seeing our show.

Luke adds, There’s an infectious fun atmosphere at our shows. It’s obvious to the audience that we’re having a great time performing and this gets them into the spirit of things. It’s also very different compared to most of the cabaret we’ve had here before, but not in a threatening way.

With plans to take the show to the rest of Europe and hopefully abroad, there are assurances that the troupe will be making their way to Australia.

I think worldwide domination is the ultimate goal if we’re being realistic. We’re all big lads with a lot of love to share. Certainly Australia is somewhere I’d like to perform, as I’ve got family out there and I’m desperate to go diving there too, says Luke.

We’ll definitely be putting Mardi Gras 2009 in our calendars, Simon added.

To see more fantastic images and learn more about Bearlesque head to their website, www.bearlesque.com or check out their Myspace page, http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=103023228.

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