The first thing you'll notice about the campy dance duo Cherdonna and Lou is their incredible heads. Cherdonna's announces itself first, with riotous blasts of blush and lipstick, and the theater of her eyes extending up, Divine-like, past her natural brows to make a glittery show of most of her forehead. Above the eyescape sits the classic Cherdonna Shinatra hairdo: a jet of dark hair-sprayed bangs rubbing up against a huge, swooping blond hairpiece. Compared to Cherdonna, Lou looks possibly sedate, even when wedged in an American-flag bodysuit, his pompadour bubbling upward, a thin line of facial hair lining his upper lip and running along his jaw, natural in all respects until you realize it's made of deep-blue glitter.
Cherdonna and Lou burst onto the Seattle dance scene in 2009, when dancers and friends Jody Kuehner and Ricki Mason came together to make a dance to Olivia Newton-John's "Xanadu" for a Velocity fund-raiser. After the piece's rapturous reception, Kuehner and Mason made things official with a name. "I knew I wanted to be Lou Henry Hoover, after the first lady," says Mason. "I told Jody, 'Pick a name that sounds good with Lou.'"
Before long, Cherdonna and Lou were performing all over, finding homes in both the burlesque and modern-dance scenes. In April, they workshopped their new work out out there (A Whole Night Lost) at Velocity, and now they bring this trippy dreamscape of a dance piece to Bumbershoot. Just like her head, Cherdonna's performance will dazzle you with its deeply committed outlandishness. (Cherdonna/Kuehner wraps up the show with an old-school lip-synch that blasts past irony to something old and new and pure.) But the dancing is what makes the whole thing work, most impressively when Lou/Mason takes a solo—this twentysomething Seattle woman spends several minutes moving in a way that suggests a late-career soft-shoe hoofer in the Catskills. It's hilarious dance magic.