Who could have guessed that one fateful performance nearly four years ago would result in an annual burlesque Christmas extravaganza? In June 2016, dancers Kim Amblad and Kady Heard performed together for the very first time. The two pros clicked so well, they decided to form their own production company, Strawberry Moon. By February 2017, they'd already launched their own Burlesque series, Tease & Tails.
"We work really well together because we come from a very similar background of dance training," Heard says. "The response [to that first performance] was so great, we wanted to keep it going. We know so many wonderful performers, and we wanted to give them a platform."
Heard and Amblad are deeply entwined in Las Vegas entertainment, so much so that their Tease & Tails events pull not only from the local burlesque scene, but from the theater, improv and dance communities, too. They've had three successful years running the bimonthly Tease & Tails inside Velveteen Rabbit, and now, the duo is preparing its second-annual Red Hot Nutcracker holiday show—"Now with more nuts!"—a four-night event set for Majestic Repertory Theatre.
"The classic ballet The Nutcracker was something that, as a dancer, you just grow up loving," Heard says. "It's a part of your life every single holiday season, so it's just really special. It's such a fun story to tell, and the show lends itself so well to burlesque."
That's because there's room for each performer to tell the classic Tchaikovsky tale while still putting their own spin on each act. "It doesn't need to be super-traditional," Amblad says.
And that twist comes in various shapes and sizes. "There's still the burlesque aspect of celebrating all bodies," Amblad continues. "Every body is a burlesque body."
This year's performers include former Jubilee! dancers, a former Moulin Rouge dancer all the way from Paris, a drag queen and more. The performers have spent the past month working on routines, coming up with costumes and preparing for the scantily clad festivities.
You could say it's an 18-and-over take on the magical land of sweets, "featuring some of the best boobs Las Vegas has to offer," according to the website, complete with festive scenery, Christmas trees and some secrets yet to be revealed. "We'll transform [the theater] into Candy Land," Amblad promises.
Above all, Heard says to show up ready to laugh. "It's definitely funny," she says. "And there's lots of glitter."
RED HOT NUTCRACKER December 20-21 & 27-28, 8 p.m., $30. Majestic Repertory Theatre, 702-423-6366.