The ladies of Moonstruck Burlesque make their own costumes and choreograph their own burlesque routines. 

Editor’s Note: The burlesque dancers featured in this story agreed to be interviewed and photographed under the condition that The Post refer to them by their stage names.


For the ladies of Moonstruck Burlesque, their art begins with the lingerie.

“I spent six hours sewing sequins onto my panties the last time” said Ava Gold, an Athens resident who debuted with the group this summer.

But it’s not all sequins and garters — it’s considered an art form with a rich history.

Routines and stage names are inspired by everything from dance musicals, courtesans from the 1500s, pieces of fruit and a video of a mouse seducing cheese.

Currently, Moonstruck consists of about five women in their 20s and 30s who regularly come to practice on the third floor of Kantner Hall.

The group’s main way of recruiting relies on word of mouth, but most of the current members weren’t around when the group started in 2012.

“I was looking for a hobby and somewhere to fit in,” Gold said. “This is something I was looking into in Columbus because I didn’t know there was stuff down here.”

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Gold joined the troupe when a mutual friend introduced her to Rena LaMarr, one of the founding members of the Moonstruck troupe.

LaMarr’s debut as a burlesque dancer was back in 2010. She was originally drawn to the art form because of its “positive” nature.

Performers choose their own stage names, which are often inspired by unique stories.

Clementine, who debuted in the world of burlesque last Valentine’s Day, recounted a recent Facebook interaction she had with a fan. She said the person started out by complimenting a recent photo she posted.

The girl also said that she struggled with anorexia and seeing Clementine helped her appreciate her own curves.

“Burlesque for me is something that’s, like, really fun and great and has been helpful to me personally in that body positivity way… and it’s changing me but this was the first time someone was telling me it’s affecting them in that way,” Clementine said.

Each of the performers agreed that burlesque brings mostly positivity to their lives, but when they perform they will occasionally run into “crude” men.

“I had one guy try to French kiss me but the security guard grabbed him,” LaMarr said while recounting awkward moments in her burlesque career.

The group has performed on three different stages in Athens: Casa Nueva, 6. W. State St., Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery, 24 W. Union St. and The Union Bar & Grill, 18 W. Union St, before the establishment closed after the West Union fire in November. Moonstruck also has shows outside of Athens.

It’s not the only burlesque troupe in the area, but Moonstruck performers say they’re the ones active.

A hurdle to new dancers entering the scene is losing money ­– the dancers create their own costumes, which are generally expensive.

“You can spend anywhere from $20, to $30, to $300 or $400 or upwards on a costume,” LaMarr said.

She recommends shopping at thrift stores, buying decorations in bulk on eBay, and also cutting up other clothing to create costume pieces.

Luckily, LaMarr said she’s at the point where she’s making money from her art. She sells pasties, hairpieces and photos as well as doing costuming for other people.

Gold said that she was apprehensive about her family’s reaction, but everyone has been very accepting of her performing with the troupe.

“My friends love it. I had 32 people come to see me at my first show at Jackie O’s,” she said. “I felt so cool … I have support from everyone in my family and friend group.”