“Irma Gerd” stepped on Club Congress scene wearing a bird-inspired dress and holding two feathered fans on Friday night, November 10.
She started doing a funky bird mating dance.
A mix of To David Attenborough voice from “Planet Earth” and “Night fever” by Bee Gees played through the speakers in the room. Like Gerd they removed clothes, the audience roared.
of Gerd real name is Hannah Taylor, and was a burlesque dancer 8 years. She said she was excited to do the show because she earned a degree in biological sciences.
“It combines my two jams: art and science. So of course I was going to say yes, like it’s exactly what I’ve been waiting for.” Taylor said.
She said her favorite type of burlesque dancing is the weird and she wanted to show that in her performance with birds.
Taylor was among nine other burlesque dancers demonstrating the research done by LGBTQIA+ scholars. Some of the other performances were inspired by research on dirt, the sun and even forest fires.
of Gerd the exciting Birds of Paradise dance was inspired by the University of Arizona research graduate student E Tuschhoff discovered for sex-selective visual traits in animals. Tuschhof study ecology and evolutionary biology.
“I am [crossed] a bunch of different animal traits that help them cope,” Tuschhof said.
They study traits such as color, dancing and territorial displays.
Tuschhof sat in the front row as he watched of Gerd productivity. They said burlesque performances are a fun way for scientists to communicate their work to the community.
“I think it was super fun. I think Irma did a really great job of showing a lot of the swagger that a lot of male animals show.” Tuschhof said. “It’s really cool to hear how the whole crowd reacts to it.”
Pamela Pelletier is community professional at Tree Ring Lab. She was also a researcher, performer and co-producer of Queerd Science. She came up with the idea because International Day of LGBTQIA+ People in STEM is Saturday, November 18and she wanted to celebrate it in a fun and engaging way.
“[I’m] we want to make sure that we’re making connections and really engaging with underserved groups or groups that have traditionally been left out of STEM fields, so that we can eventually encourage people to see that there’s a role for them in science as well,” Peletier said.
Peletier wanted LGBTQIA+ people to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics for a chance to have their work celebrated and decided to pair them with visual storytellers: burlesque dancers.
“Their whole role is to meet with a scientist to understand their research and their area of research to translate that research in a way that can be visually engaging,” Peletier said.
Peletier was the scholar and the storyteller. Her research is about the benefits that wildfires bring to the environment. Her stage name is Posey D’Lish.
She was on stage with three other dancers. One was dressed in red clothing like fire, and the other two were dressed in earthly clothing. At the beginning of the piece, she was wearing a helmet with a brown shirt and pants. The pants had buttons on the sides so she managed to tear them open.
During the show, two of the dancers helped her undress and she ended up in a similar green outfit.
She was the only researcher who was also a performer on the show.
Peletier co-produced with the host Lola Torch, creator and founder of Hi Tiger Underwear. There was a $5 raffle and one of the prizes was a $75 gift card to Hi Tiger. There were other prizes that totaled about $1,400. All proceeds went to the Pima County Library’s Pride Division.
“The Golden Boy of Burlesque” Matt Finish also fulfilled.
Other queer science burlesque shows are happening in Denver, Philadelphia, and Seattle.
“To be able to bring weird and then science and burlesque, that’s like all I think we need,” Taylor said.
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