Rated XIV: Burlesque company opens new spot in Bushwick

Seeing pink: The opening show of Company XIV’s new season features a bullfight with a sexy matador.
for Brooklyn Paper
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Burlesque has new home!

The baroque, burlesque dance troupe known as Company XIV has bounced from spot to spot over the last eight years, with stints on the banks of the Gowanus Canal, the Irondale Center in Clinton Hill, and various spots in Manhattan, leaving a trail of feathers, glitter, and sequins in its wake. Now, Company XIV has settled into a new home in Bushwick — a neighborhood with energy and daring that matches the semi-clad company, said its founder and choreographer.

“The challenge with choosing a new permanent home is finding a neighborhood that has the right vibe and energy,” said Austin McCormick. “Luckily this part of Bushwick is full of bars and entertainment venues. We’re near the House of Yes and Lot 45. It’s a good fit for the kind of immersive theatre we do. Since we moved, I’ve seen lots of familiar faces, as well as lots of new people. We just signed a long-term lease. We hope to be there for a long time to come.”

The troupe, known for its sexy adaptations of fairy tales and other works, often mixes elements of ballet, circus, opera, and puppetry into its saucy shows.

The company has just launched its new season in the Bushwick location: starting with a revival of “Ferdinand: Boylesque Bullfight,” a sexy, all-male adaptation of Munro Leaf’s 1936 children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand.” This version re-imagines the classic story about the lazy, nap-loving bovine into an erotic spectacle featuring a ferocious bullfight between Ferdinand the bull and a scantily-clad matador.

Audiences responded well to the show in the last season, according to McCormick, and having a stable location has allowed him to tweak the show.

“The revival is our chance to refine it and perfect it,” he said.

Next up is a perennial Company XIV favorite: “Nutcracker Rouge” its annual holiday production, in which McCormick soups up the framework of the popular ballet and “trims the tree” with eclectic musical styles and enough sensuality for 1,000 sprigs of mistletoe. The show will run through the holiday season, from Nov. 15 to Jan. 13.

Last in the season will be the March 29 world premiere of “Queen of Hearts,” McCormick’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Given the hallucinatory nature of many of the choreograp­her’s previous visions, this one would appear to be a match made in a very surreal heaven.

“I’m excited to be starting an all-new show,” he said. “There’s a lot you can do with a well-known tale like this. It’s familiar, but the specifics are open to a lot of creative interpretations. It suits the immersive nature of our work well. I’m already working on a new ‘Drink Me’ cocktail tie-in.”

“Ferdinand: Boylesque Bullfight” at Company XIV [383 Troutman St. between Wyckoff and Irving avenues in Bushwick, (866) 811–4111,]. Through Oct. 28; Thu–Sat at 8 pm; Sun at 6 pm. $55–$79 (VIP couch for two $260).

Posted 12:00 am, September 17, 2018
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