Burlesque is experiencing a mini-revival in Wollongong, as women pursue the lost art of the sensual performance.
Three Illawarra performers will compete at the semi-finals of Miss Burlesque NSW in March, supported by a community of burlesque schools, regular performance nights, dancers, and fans.
While the ultimate aim behind burlesque performance is a sensual striptease, performer Isla View says it is about much more.
"It's a celebration of femininity, enjoying our bodies and putting ourselves on stage to make other women feel good about their bodies too," she said.
Ms View will compete at the Miss Burlesque semi-finals in Sydney, after only taking up the performance style a year ago.
"The biggest positive for me is confidence," she said.
"I'm a size 14 and have always been quite curvy, but being a young woman it helps me feel confident in my body shape."
Fellow performer Aurora Night echoes that idea, saying women come to the performances to feel more confident in their own bodies.
"It's nice to see women enjoying who they are, with no hang-ups about body image," Ms Night said.
"The audience does feel empowered by seeing women of all shapes and sizes performing, and loving the skin they're in."
The Risque Bizniz School of Burlesque regularly hosts shows at the Charles Hotel in Fairy Meadow, while the Velvet Heist pops up at various venues through the region. Industry nightclub in Wollongong, too, will begin a burlesque night from February 21.
Far from being a male-dominated audience, Ms Night said women made up a vast majority of the spectators at burlesque shows.
"I think it would be about 80 per cent women in the crowd, and men dragged along by their girlfriends or wives.".
Ms View said women came to see how they could be more confident in their body shape, no matter how they looked.
Aurora Night, Isla View and fellow performer Diamond D'Amour perform at the NSW semi-finals at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville on March 7.