Hard vs soft. Feminine vs masculine and dominant vs submissive. Oddly enough this dichotomy is both animal instinct and yet pivotal to human interaction and understanding. Its something that crosses the boundaries between instinct and consciousness, comfort and discomfort.
The problem I run into as a fetish performer who also does classic burlesque a la Sally Rand is that I straddle the fence both sides from hard style to soft. Some people will be offended when I do my full out hot wax show but will love my soft feather fan show. The difficult thing is I do both styles as they are intrinsic of my mind set and personal tastes. I can’t just do one style all the time as I NEED that harder edge to balance out the stress and familiarity of shows that I’m often doing.
More veriety keeps up interest for both the performer and the audience. One subtle key to performance success is when you know a crowd is bored from familiarity, do a show thats a guarantee of the unusual. Our purpose is to entertain, not be babysitters and keep delivering mundane and boring repetition of the same show all the time. Don’t be surprised when your audience stops coming because there’s nothing for them to see.
The chance to go to Dubai this year for the Middle East Film and Comicon popped up and frankly I couldn’t turn it down. I have travelled across much of Canada and some parts of the US, exploring the Middle East is admittedly a fascinating adventure. I have always had a deep interest in foreign cultures as both my parents are immigrants to Canada and English is a second language to both as well. I was born in Canada but was always encouraged to learn about my German/Hungarian/Russian/French background and also interact with the varied cultures that have such presence in different parts of Vancouver.
The earliest international culture I remember encountering was through the 1986 Expo with the exhibition of the Pharaoh Tutankamun tomb relics. I was only a child but that stuck vividly in my mind for its beauty and striking elegance. I was fascinated with traditional design and history ever since.
My mum was the one to introduce me to Hungarian folk tales in both traditional art and the spoken language as she took the time each night to read to me. Fist she would read a page in Hungarian then read what she just read in english. Page by page, chapter by chapter, every day. I loved hearing the soothing sound of a different language and feeling connected to my mothers culture through such a simple thing. Since then I can usually identify Hungarian being spoken around me though understanding the language is a bit harder. She considered the language to be not worth learning so I never learned to read or speak it fluently.
It is interesting how ancient cultures are both prized and dismissed as archaic and yet modernity is only a blink in the cycle of society moving forward and reinventing itself using the tools of the past. When we forget our roots what tends to happen is a loss of identity and stagnation of creativity. Things become hollow when the meaning has been sucked out of it. It is a delicate balance between past and present but we should better maintain that for us not to self destruct without foresight.
I was gifted a stage costume a few years ago that is very vintage in design and still in excellent condition. An old school sequin and voluminous pink and gold Genie that I didn’t quite know what to do with as I always wear thigh high boots on stage to protect the knees, I took it to my good friend who is an amazing sewing goddess and was thinking of making the pants into a skirt. Cutting them up, re sewing them and adding panels to give it new life. Somehow it was never done as the right sequins never showed up to inspire the transformation.
I recently thought about trying it instead with pointe shoes as that would eliminate a full boot underneath and give the pants their original intent of flowing movement and ease of use. I haven’t actually tried them out yet so shall do that during my upcoming work week during practice time on stage when its not yet open in the bar. Best place to learn new show addition and ease of movement. One thing I WILL definitely need is a new pair of bottoms as somehow the original pair was epically mangled possibly by being stretched over the original wearers child’s head when they got hold of it for a sparkly wearable toy for some reason.
Going back into ballet training after a major pelvis injury is an incredible experience. You can’t hide any body weakness or pretend that something kind of works. Going through classic warmup exercises really helps the body to re stabilize and re familiarize with physical muscle memory roots.
I quit at age 11 which was when pointe training was beginning and so have a very rudimentary skill level knowledge of pointe work for a full performance. Its fascinating coming at it now as an adult and a full time stage performer with years of very different movement experience and adding that into ballet training. Its no longer about learning systematic choreography but integrating classical movement style with flowing musicality.
A vital part of having a trainer is their experience and ability to say when movement looks wrong and is incorrect. When performing it is often wise to film ones own performance to get an understanding of how the show looks vs just doing it without actually knowing body alignment. When in training the feedback is direct and so is innovation. The key is a lot of practice.