Love You Burlesque would be nothing without all of the fabulous ladies who come and dance with us. Even more so, without our incredible tutors. Here at LYB, we thought that you’d like to meet our tutors to find out what makes them shimmy, teach and what it is about burlesque that gets them hot under the collar! This week you get to meet a self-confessed sass-pot, the stunning Miss Fey au Lait…
1. Tell us about your burlesque or performance background…
As a child, I loved dancing, I attended weekly classes from the age of 3-22 starting in tap and ballet then medalling and competing in Jazz and Jive and later Street Dance. I choreographed my first group routine aged 10 and could regularly be found at a school disco practicing routines rather than talking to boys like my friends. I was offered a job dancing at the Ministry of Sound in London in the late 90’s but turned it down to study (one of my only regrets in life!) but I did dance at BCM’s in Magaluf for a season – in a cage hung from the ceiling!
As a Burlesque dancer I have been performing for over 5 years now. I started at a competition where I won my heat and since then have performed for some of the greatest producers in the UK. My highlights would be being asked to perform at a Private members club by the Legend that is Jo King and dancing at last years London Burlesque Festival.
2. What was it about burlesque that made you want to take part and teach?
I have my sister to thank for inspiring my Burlesque journey. I was a post-natally depressed mum of 2 who had lost her sparkle. For her Hen do we went to a cottage in Oxford for a weekend, friends had arranged for a Burlesque dancer to come and give us a 2 hour workshop and I loved it – when I got home I Googled classes and after completing my first course the Tutor asked me to start teaching. I loved how all the women attending were different ages, sizes and shapes and all as fabulous as each other.
3. How do you think burlesque helps cultivate a positive body image?
Society keeps telling us what the perfect woman should look like, but seriously the women in the magazines don’t even look like that! I’ve always yo’yoed with my weight and here was a class/community that finally says you are enough, you as you are do don’t need to change just be you!
You just need to attend a show to see how Burlesque cultivates this, all sizes and shapes and all totally rocking it.
4. What is your favourite thing about burlesque?
I love the diversity of acts at shows, when I attend newbie and established shows I’m always blown away by the originality and creativity that comes alive on stage. I’ve seen an awesome act where the performer had a salmon on her head, acts in homage to Austin Powers, a crazy lizard sending up David Ike and the Queen, but also acts that have moved me to tears and others that really challenge the way you think.
From a personal perspective I love being backstage at a show, the getting ready and watching the transformations, the camaraderie between your stage mates, sharing tips, tit-tape and lash glue! I have learnt so much backstage and always pass this on to my class ladies.
5. What’s your favourite song to perform to?
This is random but I was asked to produce an act for a video game themed show – I was a bit of a computer geek as a child in the 80s, so came up with an act using the theme tune to the game PaperBoy – in it I swear at the audience and hurl rolled up newspapers at them – its so much fun, not at all sexy but totally hilarious.
6. Have you ever had any wardrobe mishaps mid-performance and how did you recover?
I have had so many malfunctions I couldn’t possibly list them, corsets that didn’t want to come undone, zips getting stuck, I even had a glove refuse to come off (how do you get stuck in a glove?!?!?!) I’ve had my music cut out mid-performance lots too.
My tips are just keep going, I’ve finished routines to the audience clapping and singing along with no music playing and turned what could have been a disaster into an epic experience, it’s also the reason I like to teach routines with freestyle elements in them – it means that you can trust yourself to keep going and not get flustered, and if all else fails make a joke of it you will get the audience on side and an even bigger applause !
7. What do you enjoy about being a tutor for Love You Burlesque?
I love the ladies, I love walking into a class and teaching a fab routine and seeing it come alive in front of me, I love the other tutors and their enthusiasm and friendship, and I love seeing the friendships develop and confidence building in class.
I have made lifelong friends, gained confidence, fulfilled a lifelong dream of being a dance teacher – what’s not to enjoy!
8. When was the time you felt most empowered in burlesque?
I was asked to teach a workshop at a festival one year, I had over 100 ladies in a tent on their knees all bumping and grinding – it was great looking out from the stage to see them all with big grins on their faces all enjoying themselves.
From a performance perspective, I have refused to work for a producer that failed to provide a safe environment for the performers. I think Burlesque empowered me to stand up for myself
9. If you could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about taking up burlesque classes, what would it be?
DO IT!! Do it NOW!!!