"Classy but sexy" is the motto of the Billtown Burlesque troupe, which will bring its show to Club Z, 321 Pine St. at 9 p.m. Saturday.
The troupe is unique to the area, being the only burlesque group in Williamsport.
"Noche de Estrellas: New Talent Revue," will showcase the new members that the troupe has acquired since first forming in 2011. Isaac J. Conner, directing manager of the troupe, said they have been working hard on perfecting their performance for this night.
"We want to show the new talent that has joined us," he said.
The doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is $5 at the door.
Conner co-founded Billtown Burlesque in the spring of 2011 after moving to the state from the West Coast. He used burlesque performances he had seen as a model for the group.
"We watched all these films and found that burlesque is over the top," he said. "I loved everything about it, the expression. Even before we started rehearsing, so many people were interested."
Conner has found that in times of economic hardship, people are turning to outlets such as burlesque troops and roller derby, both of which have found a place in Williamsport.
"We have gone through ups and downs with interest, but we always thrive during economic downtime," he said.
Robyn Shanahan, one of the troupe's main dancers, had an interest in burlesque for almost 10 years when she went to an audition.
She has now been in every Billtown Burlesque performance and also performs teasers at other clubs to stimulate interest.
"It's sexy, but leaves something to the imagination," she said.
Shanahan infuses belly dancing into her routines.
"I initially did belly dancing to prepare for burlesque, but I became obsessed with it. I'm always mastering the technique," she said.
Shanahan loves the stage, although she dealt with a bit of a stage-fright problem.
"It's such a rush, but once you get going, you can create a persona. I always knew I had these inner personalities, but I never had an outlet for them. With burlesque, you get to develop these characters. You feel accepted on stage," she said.
The stage name that Shanahan goes by is "Ravyn Lunatique."
"We're kind of schizophrenic," she said, "Burlesque literally means, 'to make a spectacle,' so we are always brainstorming things to keep the audience engaged."
Billtown Burlesque combines many forms of art into their show, including music and poetry.
"We have an MC and we do everything from satirical skits, vaudevillian shows, and we've also incorporated poetry by Tristyn Divo," Shanahan said.
For member Stacey Hornberger, burlesque was a way for her to get back into dancing, something she had done for 15 years.
"I had done tap, ballet and jazz," Hornberger said. "I danced with my family as well."
After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Hornberger couldn't perform immediately, but helped the group in other ways, such as with make-up for the girls, using her cosmetology background.
Now, not only does she perform, but she, along with Jesse Houser, have taken on the positions of being creative directors. Hornberger, who's stage name is Lilly Von Rivet, has performed strip teases in past shows.
Each member of the troupe has taken on dual roles, including Jenn Johnson with graphic design and Trystin Divo helping with stage presence and modeling. The troupe also is proud of the family they have grown to love through burlesque.
"We're not catty, we respect each other," Hornberger said.
Conner said the group is a mix of novices and newbies.
"We have a hodge-podge of people involved Some people have years of experience, and the newer members are learning a lot from rehearsal," he said. "Some of are former strippers, they can continue their sexiness is a different way. This performance will help people be who they are."
Billtown Burlesque also has started to travel for performances, including trips to Washington, D.C., Baltimore and York. In order to scope out potential performance sites, the troupe would perform "teaser shows," to gauge an interest.
"We email them, call them, and then physically go there and show them what we have to offer," Conner said.
The troupe ultimately wants to teach classes on burlesque, including courses in dancing and stage presence. Shanahan already teaches some classes, and is on her way to making a profession out of dancing.
For the performance on Club Z on Saturday, 5 percent of proceeds will go to the March of Dimes, giving the audience a chance to give back to the community.
"All your senses will be enhanced," Conner said of Saturday's performance. "You can expect sexiness, but also you can expect to think and laugh and just have a good time."
For more information about Billtown Burlesque, visit www.facebook.com/BilltownBurlesque.