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No pants dance party hits Babylon tomorrow!

By Katie Marsh on June 22, 2012

It’s way too hot out to party with your pants on, so why not party with them off? That’s the whole idea behind the fifth annual No Pants Dance Party, which is taking place at Babylon (317 Bank Street) tomorrow, Saturday June 23.

The brainchild of Rockalily Burlesque, one of Ottawa’s best burlesque troups, the No Pants Dance Party (or NPDP to its friends) started nine years ago as a costume party. If you couldn’t pull off a costume, you were expected to go around in your skivvies. According to Miss Helvetica Bold, Rockalily troup member and NPDP founder “Surprisingly, underwear became the costume of choice. When the party went public, the first few years were mostly attended by underwear-clad patrons, but it’s come full circle and turned back in to a costume party. People now plan their outfits months in advance! We see some very creative pantsless outfits, each year outdoing the last.”

Of course, underwear isn’t the only thing going on (or coming off) at the party, which will also serve as a fundraiser for two animal welfare organizations that provide homes and care for animals that might otherwise be euthanized: the Catahoula rescue and the Westminster Pet Sanctuary. “Most of us at Rockalily have pets. We are animal lovers. We’ve supported cancer research, sexual assault support, women’s community groups, and the humane society, in the past. This year we picked some underdog animal rescues.” Bold states that the event has “shed the initial stigma of being a hedonistic hookup event “to become” a safe space where good clean fun can be had by all.”

The event is an annual milestone in the city’s burlesque scene, and this year features both local performers and special acts from Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. The dance beats will be provided by Billz and Woo. To Bold, the five year mark is a major validation that the city’s burlesque scene – which now features five or six troups – is here to stay.

“I’m amazed that we’ve kept this going for this long. Ottawa has a real wild side and we’ve captured it. This is the longest running burlesque event in Ottawa, and that means a lot to me, and to those of us who were struggling to create the scene 6 years ago. From a marketing point of view, there are fads and there are trends. Fads fade away, while trends last and evolve with culture. This milestone is validation, for me, that burlesque is no fad. We are a sustainable art form and a valid part of pop culture, and we will continue to evolve and entertain.”

No Pants Dance Party happens Saturday June 23 at Babylon (317 Bank). Door is $10; pants check is $2.