Class Overview

Course Experience Level: All

Course Overview: A look at early Black Burlesque through a glimpse into the lives of the Bates Sisters, three brown-skin showgirls who helped innovate exotic dance from the American carnival stage.

About the Instructor

Leslie Cunningham

A raconteur with a journalistic background, Leslie Cunningham is an artist, writer, documentary filmmaker creator and owner of TRIBES Entertainment, a boutique digital media company based in Durham, North Carolina known creating daring and entertaining narratives through a variety of digital platforms. A graduate of the documentary arts program at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in Durham, NC, Leslie’s collection of engaging documentary film, including two feature films, have screened on public television, online and at film festivals in the U.S. and internationally. 

Leslie’s latest feature film, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, is a three-part educational documentary about her grandfather’s popular traveling revue that significantly impacted Black entertainment in the mid-20th century.  The film is part of a larger multimedia documentary project called The Harlem in Havana Project in which aims to revive the show’s rich burlesque history.