Coming off a six-year run of her international Strip Strip Hooray! tour, burlesque star Dita Von Teese just kicked off her new burlesque variety show The Art of the Teese, featuring guest performers, costuming by Jenny Packham and Christian Louboutin and—of course—her iconic Dita-sized martini glass. She flashed us a peek in advance of her stop at the House of Blues on Feb. 21.

How is this tour different from what we’ve seen from you before? I made two shows that I’ve never done on tour or in the U.S. before, and I did them in all new ways with new costumes, new sets, everything. So that was kind of a big undertaking, but the payoff has been really good.

Do you have a pre-show ritual? There’s a lot that goes into just resetting, making sure my mood is lifted. In my backstage dressing room, I do all my hair and makeup myself, I listen to the music that I like. … It’s about setting that mood.

What do you hope audiences will take away from The Art of the Teese? It’s very important to me in building the show and deciding the casting [to have] diversity in beauty and age and ethnicity. I want people to see a show that is beautiful and inspiring, but I don’t want them just to see a lineup of perfect little pretty pin-up girls because those are not the most dynamic performers, I have to say. … What I love about the show is that I think there’s something for everyone to take away from the show and be inspired by.

And to feel empowered by. Yes, because it’s not about what you’re born with; it’s about what you make for yourself. I’m a blond girl from a farming town in Michigan. I decided I wanted to look like this, and I learned how to use the tools of the glamour beauty box to be who I wanted to be. That’s really what we love about burlesque. It’s about feathers and rhinestones and dressed-up, playful sensuality that anyone can really capture the spirit of in their own life if they want to.

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