The Garter Girls are a performance art collective from Calgary, Alberta. Our practice repurposes existing traditions of burlesque performance and comedy toward an investigation of the body and its relationship to contemporary situations.
As performers, our body becomes both media and subject matter, in a spectrum of interpretations from visceral to metaphoric. The striptease-as-artform allows us to create an artifice of gender, exploring what it means to possess and perform the female body in conventional and non-conventional ways. Our feminist project proposes that we work autobiographically and democratically, offering a featurette-based program for anyone interested in performing with us. Because we pursue a rich comic tradition that sees satire as a force for social change, even our lightest routines reveal a razor-sharp wit. It is our ethical position that cultural assumptions be subject to perpetual re-evaluation, so we apply burlesque tactics to propose to our audience different ways of seeing identity and physicality. The use of movement, costume, sound and lighting allows for a multifaceted practice. This aids in the creation of an environment that involves the audience as participants in the execution of the piece.
Fusing these approaches into suites of short performances, we recontextualize the theatre or performance venue from a place of entertainment to a site in which considerations political, social, sexual, and epistemological can be unpacked or exploded.