What Burlesque Means To You – Our Readers

Howard May 30, 2016 What is Burlesque
Victoria Sadler, aka Victoria L'Etoile

Last year, we ran a ‘What Burlesque Means To Me…’ competition for Banking on Burlesque which charts the real-life story of banker, Victoria Sadler, to burlesque dancer, Victoria L’Etoile.

What Burlesque Means To You

To win a copy of Banking on Burlesque, we asked you what does burlesque mean to you and Victoria chose her favourites. Once again, we are blown away by the power of burlesque and how it touches people in different ways.

Here are the winners and why…

The Winners

Lexi Luscious

When I first became interested in burlesque it meant the pinnacle of beauty to me. I had only seen some videos of Dita Von Teese and some photos but that was beauty.

“Perfect skin, tiny waist, big boobs; not the way a plus size girl like me looked. But I thought I should. Then I saw burlesque and these girls all had different shapes and I was intrigued.

“When I finally admitted I wanted to perform my confidant smiled and informed me that he would love to see me do it. When I started training I discovered a way to hold my body that made me confident. I found control of my sexuality, something I didn’t know I had before.

“The first time I took the stage I nearly cried out of fear that they would call me fat and laugh. All they did was cheer. Burlesque gave me the confidence in my appearance and in my personality.

“It makes me feel sexy even though society doesn’t think a girl my size is. It has helped a socially awkward girl make friends. It has introduced me to the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. It has given me new idols like local performer Queenie Von Curves. It has given me new skills not just dance but costuming. Burlesque means confidence in who you are inside and out.”

Victoria says: “I particularly loved her comment: “Burlesque means confidence in who you are inside and out.”

Watch our show’s cast and burlesque friends answer ‘What is Burlesque?

Sarka

“When I learned about burlesque everything in my life clicked, it suddenly made sense. Burlesque keeps me sleepless for 10 months already. And I don’t care, there’s a thing called coffee.

“It is an art form that makes me feel alive. Thanks to burlesque I found myself, I found ME. I realised I actually have boobs and I can shake them no matter what.

“I am daydreaming more than ever and I dance to the music playing in my head any time there is a mirror in the room and no music playing. Thanks to burlesque I love my body and starting to love my soul as well.

“It’s sometimes hard to be who you are but with burlesque you are amazing all the time. Burlesque means to me… a chance to live a sexy, exciting life. And I love it!”

Victoria said: “Given what happened to me, and my double life, her comment, “It’s sometimes hard to be who you are but with burlesque you are amazing all the time,” resonated with me.”

Watch Michelle L’amour answer ‘What is Burlesque?

Philip de Kock

“Burlesque carries an odd meaning to me as I am no burlesque performer but it’s part of my life most days. You see, I am married to an up and coming but ever so brilliant (no bias here) burlesque starlet – Sapphire Supreme.

“She has been part of the South African burlesque scene for just over a year. I had been exposed to burlesque here and there but only after being immersed in world of elaborate costumes, feathers, fans, fascinators, garters, stockings, false eyelashes, killer heels and way too much glitter, have I realised the meaning behind burlesque.

“My wife has been quite lonely for a while, I am her best friend and vice versa, but for a woman I think female company is essential. I am not always enough.

“The bevy of ladies that surround my wife have been phenomenal, they support, aid, tease, encourage, annoy, praise and love one another like sisters. In particular the troupe she belongs to (Black Orchid Burlesque), has built up her confidence, self-esteem and helped her to come to appreciate her body the way I do.

“I have been a keen photographer for a few years and have often taken photos at events but nothing too serious. Late last year I was asked to take some photos of one of the shows as the regular photographer couldn’t make it.

“It was really tough as the burlesque performances are extremely varied and lighting too limited, the beautiful hues of blues, purples, red and greens. The feedback on the photos was unexpected.

“I was asked to do a few more shows until my Facebook and Instagram pages were almost totally covered with burlesque photos. I decided that it was more practical to move my burlesque photos to a Facebook page (Burlesque Prevue).

“I now spend my weekends/evenings doing shots, editing photos, building props and carrying costumes. I get to spend my free time with some of the most delightfully interesting women.

“After I read your brief “what does burlesque mean to you?”, I spent the rest of the day contemplating my answer. Gratitude is the key meaning for me. Thank you all, for adding a touch of colour to my life!”

Victoria said: “How lovely to see an emotional response to women doing burlesque from a man, and a reminder that burlesque is universal and not just limited to women. I was moved by his very simple comment that “gratitude” was key. And I too am full of gratitude for burlesque.”

Read: Thank You Burlesque from our Producer, Howard Wilmot. 

Much Love to the Runners-Up

Meanwhile, here are a few of the other entrants that made our hearts sing:

Jilly

“I’d have to say that it is hugely important to me. I have a passion for lingerie and spend a lot of time, writing about, describing, blogging and buying lingerie. At first, I thought maybe I was vain and shallow, superficial and vacuous, putting forward an image of femininity that was no higher than pretty underthings.

“But I have come to realise with lingerie and with burlesque that it is a celebration of what it means to be a woman because confidence, empowerment, seductive artistry can be, should be the realm of women everywhere.

“Burlesque reminds us of both the soft, seductive aspects of being a woman but also the powerful,serious aspects too. It is in the merging of both these things that burlesque teaches us that women are never to be dismissed. Vive la Burlesque.’

Fabia aka Signorina Fabialosa

“Burlesque maens to me… Burlesco is the Italian parody meaning to mock, make fun of oneself. Being Italian, I know only too well how to take a joke, especially when a man on the underground says, “I will get between you three”, referring to my huge breasts LOL.

“Burlesque is an escape for me from my day-to-day life as a mum and carer to my darling son. I love to entertain, tease and turn on my audience, knowing that they can NOT touch me and I have the power over them, not the other way around.

“I am a femme fatale perfomer, I have a very high sex drive, so when I’m performing, this does show through in my performance and my mother was a stripper in the 60s, so I was bought up around burlesque in my household as young girl.

“They say life is a cabaret and this is so true! I love cabaret and burlesque. I have gone full circle from being a world disco dance champion dancer from the age of eight years old to fourteen.

“Then after seeing Jo King on BBC Three in 2006, teaching burlesque to nurses, that was it. I knew that I had to take classes and the rest as they say is history…”

Alistair Burns

“It means I get to see beautiful women from many backgrounds giving their all and showing most of it in a celebration of feminine beauty and seductiveness.”

Watch performers and Chaz Royal at London Burlesque Festival answer ‘What is Burlesque?