La Tana del Coniglio. The international boylesque Ritto Wanderlust talks about doing a masculine burlesque

Cover photo: Elsa Vidigal

Italian version

Ritto Wanderlust is the international boylesque star of La Tana del Coniglio, a theatrical event on burlesque and retro music organised by Veruska Puff and Sul Filo di un Sogno. The show will be on 12th November at Teatro Concordia in San Benedetto del Tronto, Le Marche region, Italy (tickets here).
Boylesque is burlesque done by males or who recognise as one. Ritto Wanderlust (the surname has a german pronunciation, original name Rogério Costa) started his career as a licensed actor with a bachelor’s degree in dance. He always worked in musical theatre, which characteristic instilled in his way of doing burlesque. Ritto, in his gimmicks, incorporates more masculine features, taking the risk of being seen as a stripper. He sensually undresses with a solid creative style. The performer loves the burlesque spectators because they are cheerful and appreciate his shows.

How did you start doing boylesque?
I was teaching Burlesque Chair Dance, and one day I decided to take my students to see a Burlesque Festival in Lisbon. I saw for the first time a boylesque, Dito Castro. I found it fascinating and felt like doing it too. I contacted the creator/producer of the festival, Lady Myosotis, who gave me the opportunity and guidance to start as a boylesque. The first show was on December 22, 2018. Since then, it has been a long road of learning and growth.

What attracted you to this art?
The freedom of creation, glamour and magic attracted me. Also, I never had a project created by me where I could explore my ideas. I thought that parody would be the right way to develop my creations since it is an art that embraces various artistic strands and styles. In burlesque, I can travel, seduce, and enchant the audience. Besides, I always wanted to donate moments and produce happy memories for those who watch my work. And I found that opportunity as a boylesque.

Lusitano’s costume sketch

Tell me about your favourite gimmicks done by you.
My favourite gimmick is the Lusitano. It was the first creation in which I started with a drawing. I had to think about the fabrics and harmony between all the elements that would have to compose the costume, the right songs, and the most suitable performance. It is a strong and very intense show. It was designed to represent my country, and because of this, I felt a great responsibility when I did Lusitano’s act. It took much work, but I got what I wanted.

Is there many boylesque in Portugal and around the world?
In Portugal, at this moment, we are two boylesque and two draglesques. Around the world, there are many, but not as many as the ladies. Fortunately, more and more men want to find themselves in burlesque.

Was it challenging to be accepted as one at first?
Thank God I’ve always been very well accepted by my colleagues, but the fight for work is still significant because the market is small, and many people don’t know that there are men doing burlesque. So, I believe I have an essential function in Portugal: to re-educate the audience.

Burlesque Chair Dance in Ginásio Korpus

Why do you think heterosexual cisgender men are reluctant to approach burlesque?
I believe that heterosexual men still live the prejudice about burlesque: it is a feminine or gay art. This is not true. It is an art and not a sexual tendency. That’s one of my fights and one of the reasons why I try to develop my work in a masculine way. I want them to realise that they can also do burlesque and defend their masculinity.

What do you expect from Veruska Puff’s La Tana del Coniglio (The Rabbit Den)?
I know it’s a big event, and I hope I can live up to it. I wish to see my dear Veruska satisfied with my work and the audience with a smile on their face.

Cisne on tv

Do you want to give some anticipation about your show on La Tana del Coniglio?
My show is a tribute to Fred Astaire, full of glamour and masculine sensuality.

What are your following shows?
I will act in Portugal in October in places like Maxime Hotel and Spain’s Barcelona Burlesque Meeting and Festival. The night after La Tana del Coniglio, I will work in Rome and Porto Burlesque Festival in Portugal.

Donatella Rosetti

Photo: Márcio Silva

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