Posted by Jules V Moorhead | Posted in burlesque, Meet the Variety | Posted on 17-06-2015
Like many people who get into burlesque, Baltimore-based producer and performer Tapitha Kix started out as a fan. After a friend invited her to see Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey at Creative Alliance, she was hooked. After attending many shows in the audience, a twist of fate put her on stage when a kitten had to back out of a show at the last minute and Tapitha was game to fill in. “That night, I thought to myself, ‘I should be on stage!'” Tapitha said. “Being onstage is what makes me truly happy.”
After rejecting a few stage names, an ex-boyfriend christened her Tapitha Kix, but as the famous song from Gypsy says, “You Gotta Have a Gimmick.” Having a background in tap and dance, Tapitha knew right away what would set her apart. “I do a style of dancing that (to the best of my knowledge and research) no other burlesque dancer does — pointe tap, which is tap dancing on the tips of my toes in a pair of custom-made ballet pointe shoes fitted with metal caps.”
Once Tapitha discovered pointe tap — practiced in vaudeville in the 1920s and ’30s — she knew she’d found her niche. But she doesn’t want it to define her as an artist. “I don’t want to be a one trick pony,” Tapitha explains. “I’m trying to expand myself as a performer and do more regular pointe and modern dance/jazz/hip hop. I’ve always said that as a performer who does not fit the American stereotypical standard of what a ‘hot’ woman looks like, I have to work extra, extra hard to impress the audience. I can’t just stand there and prance around looking hot and pretty. And that’s okay. I want to work hard to impress my audience. I want to surprise and delight them. And believe me, when people see me dance, they are surprised.”
In addition to performing, Tapitha is also a founder and producer of Twisted Knickers Burlesque. After finding it difficult to find casting opportunities, she decided to create shows herself. She and some friends, including Hot Todd Lincoln, got together and Twisted Knickers was born. Today, Twisted Knickers is Tapitha and Todd with a rotating cast of regulars and guests. While Yellow Sign Theater has been their primary home for years, the are currently expanding to other venues, such as the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, and Church & Company in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore.
If you want to catch Tapitha and Twisted Knickers, their next show is The Burlesque Sing-a-Long at the State Theatre on July 10. “Performers will dance with lyrics projected on a big screen for the audience to sing along with karaoke style.”
Twisted Knickers also has a more theatrical-style show slated for July 18 during Artscape called The Grind and the Glitter, a tale of an up-and-coming burlesque dancer set in 1957. “Expect to see something unlike the Knickers have ever done!”