‘Shocked, But Also Turned On’: Student Experiences at Lingerie

Hear from students who attended The Tabard’s termly Lingerie show and learn about its history.

by Hannah Shariff | 11/3/21 2:10am

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by Mia Nelson / The Dartmouth Staff

Every term, a line snaking across the lawn in front of The Tabard eagerly awaits entrance to a one-of-a-kind performance: Lingerie. The quarterly dry show hosted at the co-ed fraternity includes a variety of events performed by talented volunteers from all class ages. From burlesque to breakdancing, the performances are all meant to support and bolster values such as body positivity, inclusivity and open-mindedness. 

Tabard social chair and Lingerie organizer Leeza Petrov ’22 made it clear that the only limit is one’s imagination.

“There are really no limits,” Petrov said. “We have risk guidelines that are like, no open flame, no bodily fluids and no penetration, but other than that it’s very much open to what you want to do.” 

“No limits” encapsulates the origins of the prime campus event. According to Petrov, beginning in the ‘80s as an invite-only drag show — a history still seen in the unique runway format of the stage inside the house — Lingerie is one of the oldest events that Tabard hosts. 

“It’s sort of like expanded and changed and become many different forms. But fundamentally, the values of it have stayed the same,” Petrov said. 

The recent performance on October 20th was one of the first times the event had been hosted since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which indoor house events were not allowed. That changed this summer, when the show returned to the house for the first time.

According to Petrov, the task of planning Lingerie was not easy, especially as new members did not have much guidance from senior members.

“It was just really hard to unearth everything — from the history to even looking at old forms — because all the seniors had graduated,” Petrov said. “Now, we’ve managed to sort things out, but the most important thing was the no phones policy.”

The no phones policy is intended to allow performers to be fully immersed and comfortable within the space, without feeling vulnerable or exposed. After the pandemic, Petrov and other Tabard executives were worried that the excitement over the return of the event would prompt people to break the policy, but were pleasantly surprised by the crowd’s reactions. 

“Our audience members did a great job of self-policing” Petrov said. “There was one point where someone tried to take out a phone, and everyone was like: ‘Hey! No phones!’ That was really cool to see.”  

A week before the event, Tabard asked for volunteer performances through a campus-wide blitz. To prepare students for their performance, Lingerie holds a dress rehearsal an hour before the event on the stage in the house during which risk management and the structure of the show are reviewed. Performers are also given the opportunity to walk through their events, working with the show’s DJ and MC to make sure they understood their cues. 

The doors open at 11 p.m., and many audience members — most of them new to the Lingerie experience — found the event surprising. For Chandini Peddanna ’25 especially, the show was unlike anything she had ever attended. 

“It was amazing and uncomfortable. I was definitely shocked, but also turned on,” Peddanna said. “It was weird, but so cool at the same time.” 

Anell Paulino ’25, who went to support a friend performing, also shared similar sentiments surrounding the show. 

“[At Lingerie], you can be whoever you want to be without judgment,” Paulino said. “It’s a space that you sometimes desperately need to be in, especially at Dartmouth.” 

“[At Lingerie], you can be whoever you want to be without judgment. It’s a space that you sometimes desperately need to be in, especially at Dartmouth.”

Inside the house, the space was completely filled with people eager to see the show. Outside, however, was a different story. One student, Quealy ’25 — who only goes by their last name —, did not expect the line for the event to be so chaotic. They mentioned that there was a lot of “pushing and shoving,” with lots of attendees cutting the line. 

Even for students who were able to get in, the experience inside was equally challenging. Peddanna said that she ended up falling to the floor, almost getting trampled by the crowd. 

Because Lingerie has historically been a popular event, there are usually coordinators in place that handle the door and count how many people are able to be let in. However, Petrov said that some people were unscrupulous in their attempts to get to the front of the line. 

“We had really strict people on the door,” Petrov said. “Obviously, we aren’t going to have security or people standing in the line making sure that people are being fair, so it’s disappointing that people weren’t upholding basic human principles.”

However, some students felt that there was a lack of communication from Tabard about how many people would be let in, with some students like Quealy not knowing whether to leave the line.

“We were there for, like, 30 to 45 minutes after the time it was supposed to start because nobody really told us what was happening and if we were supposed to leave,” they said. “Finally, we just decided to go.” 

According to Petrov, Lingerie has been seen to some as an “exclusive” event in the past due to the length of the line and the limited number of people the show is able to admit due to the small space available. However, she and the other organizers of the event are looking to make sure that all who wish to attend Lingerie are able to. 

“We really do want it to make the event inclusive, and it hurts to see people calling the event exclusive because that is something really against our house values,” Petrov said. “It’s something that the executive board is having active discussions about to see if we can make it better for the winter.”

“We really do want it to make the event inclusive, and it hurts to see people calling the event exclusive because that is something really against our house values. It’s something that the executive board is having active discussions about to see if we can make it better for the winter. ”

Although many students waiting in line were unable to get in, they still hope to experience Lingerie next term. 

“My friends that didn’t get in were really sad about not being able to go. But even though they were disappointed, they still plan on lining up next term,” Paulino said. “For minorities, it’s really a space for us to relax and celebrate ourselves on campus. So I think everyone is excited about being able to try again next term.” 

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