“Who knew that burlesque could actually represent family values and a return to wholesome entertainment?” – The Pontani Sisters
If you ever wondered whether burlesque divas are made, or born, Rebecca Shapiro’s documentary “Showy and 5’2” will give you a glimpse. Her film follows the World Famous Pontani Sisters, (Angie, Tara & Helen) and their meteoric rise to fame in the universe of the modern burlesque revival.
Angie & Tara Pontani are real-life sisters who have enjoyed dancing & performing since childhood (Angie always knew she wanted to be a performer). They “adopted” third sister, Helen Burkett into their act in NY in 1999 & have been going strong as The World Famous Pontani Sisters ever since.
According to Angie Pontani, the evolution of “Showy and 5’2” happened like this, “Rebecca approached us one evening after a show, she pitched her vision and we decided to go for it. Several people had already approached us about filming us, but we really liked Rebecca’s style and vision! We didn’t have any prior connection to her before the documentary, but now we are absolutely friends. We spent so much time together over the past few years, Rebecca and her camera were a part of daily life for awhile”. The documentary even premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, but the Pontani Sisters were unfortunately on tour at the time & couldn’t attend.
Through interviews with the Pontani Sisters, their friends and family, we’re shown exactly how these hard working, talented and spunky women forged their dazzling choreography & costumes, into an act that has taken them to the very top of the burlesque world and all over the country. With over 40 routines they create as a team, these dancing, entrancing ladies have done everything from headlining countless burlesque shows & fests, to appearances on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and they often tour with guitar band, Los Straightjackets.
As for her parents’ view of them not exactly following the “traditional” route, Angie says, “They are very proud of what we do, I think they would certainly like to see us owning a few homes, buying more Gucci’s and rolling in a Cadillac, but they get such a kick out of our accomplishments, releases and TV appearances. And they love how far we have taken the act! They just worry, they are Italian-American Parents from Jersey, I think for the torture we put them through they are doing great!”
If you’re a fan of fun, sexy & satirical burlesque & you can’t catch these ladies live during one of their tours or shows (which I highly recommend), then this documentary is definitely required viewing!