Showy and 5’2″: The World Famous Pontani Sisters (2004), 55 min. Rebecca Shapiro, dir.

Third-generation Italian Americans Angie and Tara Pontani and “adopted sister” Helen Burkett began dancing together professionally during the late 1990s. As The World Famous Pontani Sisters, they present burlesque entertainment with an ironic sensibility, combining tap, Las Vegas show girl routines, 1960s go-go dancing, and other forms in a post-modern mélange. They have been described as “curvaceous punk rock Rockettes” (Philadelphia Weekly), “cornerstones of the burlesque revolution” (Chicago Sun), and “glamorous Italian Stallions that live up to the ‘World Famous’ part of their name” (Village Voice). Rebecca Shapiro’s documentary tells their story using interviews with the sisters and their families as well as performance and behind-the-scenes footage.

Post-screening discussion with The World Famous Pontani Sisters led by Joseph Sciorra, Calandra Institute.