Question: Your background is in stage and film, what made you decide to become a

Burlesque performer and with the Burlesque class, when did you start this

venture and why?

Rather than go by one label I prefer to be called actor and performance artist who assumes

many roles in different mediums, whether it be a Shakespearian play, in a Burlesque

performance as a dancer and performer or a teacher of Burlesque.

A few years ago, I did a pole dancing course for fun and then a striptease course back to

back. the liberation and freedom I felt afterwards was immeasurable and a seed of a

creative business idea started to emerge.

In 2006 I enrolled for Certificate IV in Small Business Management through a government

scheme and presented them with an idea for a pole dancing and dance teaching

business. The idea was rejected as they saw it related to the sex industry!

I decided to modify my business outline, omitting the pole and striptease elements

and made it more about dance, fitness, movement. physical theatre and drama and

called it Dance 4 Fitness.

Upon finishing the course, I started reflecting about how my first business idea was

rejected and how other peoples viewpoints and judgements effect us. Also, how

stereotypes and labels are limiting thought patterns.

I began to research women and their roles in history, censorship versus liberation

and the women themselves who performed burlesque and those that expressed

themselves in expressionist nude dance throughout history.

Burlesque in America was inspired by an English troupe called Lydia Thompson and

her British Blondes in 1860’s, who danced in their underwear, played around with

gender and also performed in mens clothes. People were queueing around the block,

to try and get into the show! At that time, Burlesque was a popular entertainment art

form based around dance, musicality, comedy and the art of the tease, derived from

vaudeville shows.

In 2008, a Burlesque performer doing a PHD in in Burlesque was visiting from interstate to

teach a workshop and there was an opportunity to perform at a live venue.

I devised a rough outline for a solo act, chose the music and made part of the costume

myself at the last minute, actually sewing my skirt, just before I literally went on stage!

The act was highly improvisational and the audience were so close I could reach out

and touch them!

All of the other perfomers did striptease acts where they peeled off costume layers

revealing a partially nude body. I wanted to show the myriad of emotions from

light to dark, the pleasure and the pain through my physical body, in a series of

poses and gesture, experimenting with stillness and erratic, uncontrolled dancing.

Years later, upon reflection I realise there were elements in my performance different

genres including the grand gestures of Elizabethan theatre, expressionist dancing and

commedia dell’arte.

I became Madame Pearl, a turn of the century Parisian prostitute, the words of the song

‘Bring On The Men’ evoking emotional responses in me, which I then physicalised.

I ate strawberries, symbolising seduction and sweetness and threw some into the

audience. Afterwards a lady came up to me excited, saying one landed in her

champagne glass and could she have a photo with me.

I was delighted to be mentioned in a review as one of the highlights of the show

and receiving feedback from a male perspective. I discovered Burlesque peformance

doesn’t have to be about beauty and glamour or revealing nakedness. Burlesque as

an art form is undefinable, and can be interpreted in different ways.

Externally we can appreciate the beauty, vintage glamour, and costumes of burlesque

but upon analysing the art form it goes to a much deeper level, and is a study of the

complexities of the human condition, gender roles and subversion.

Question: What genre or genres of burlesque do you consider your work to be?

Theatre Art! I have performed in bars and party atmospheres and don’t enjoy it. As an

artist I desire my audience to be quiet and absorb the performance in its entirety,

without any interruptions! The immediacy of intimate live theatre is the medium I prefer

to work in and my theatre art reflects imagery from theatre and film I have seen before.

I use bohemian, carnival, gypsy, circus, vaudevillian aspects, mythical figures Goddesses

from Greek literature; Aphrodite and the Sirens, Biblical figures such as Eve, Delilah,

Salome and Jezebel, Sapphus and Succubus.


Question: Who are your major influences?

Life, the universe, beauty! Books I have read and film I have seen depicting periods of

history; the Renaissance, Restoration, Belle Epoque, the roaring twenties in Europe, a time

when cities like Berlin, Paris and Shanghai were cities of hedonistic sin and pleasures of

the flesh were celebrated! Moulin Rouge at the turn of the 19th cenury!

I am influenced by those who have expressed themselves through heart, love and passion

throughout history. The genius of Shakespeare, Mozart, Michaelangelo, Botticelli,

erotic literature by Marquis de Sade, and Anais Nin, expressionist dancers especially Anita

Berber who was a german actress, expressionist and nude dancer in the twenties.

Femme fatales and powerful women from history also fascinate me, witches, also

actresses and dancers, Mata Hari, Lola Montez, Josephine Baker, Lili St Cyr,

Gypsy Rose Lee, Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe.

The Victorian era fascinated me because women were encased in a corset so

tightlaced they couldn’t breathe, which seems so symbolic of women throughout

history not having a voice and looked upon as a chattel, property for a man and for


Novels such as ‘Dracula’, ‘Jekyll & Hyde’, and ‘Jack The Ripper’ all hold an eroticism,

evoking power, passion and madness which I use as an inspiration in my work.

Modern day performance artists “The Burlesque Hour” are inspiring as they delve deeply

into the female body and desire, their work is always thought provoking, confronting and


Dita Von Teese whose has brought back glamour, and sensuality to the modern day and

Ursula Martinez from the United Kingdom, whose work is refreshing and funny, the full

body nudity she exhibits in her stage acts are natural and tastefully done. She is totally

at home in her own skin, has a good laugh at herself, and doesn’t take herself too

seriously which is so refreshing!

Question: Where have you performed?

As an actor I have performed at theatres in New Zealand and Melbourne, The Athenaeum,

La Mama, Chapel Off Chapel and St Martins Theatre.

As a Burlesque performer I have performed in a variety of settings; bars like Miss Libertine

and Libation, hens and birthday parties, magazine launches,

Question: Are there any upcoming shows?

I am currently rehearsing a Shakespearian project being devised by a young talented

theatre creator, which will be performed at Donkey Wheel House at the end of September.

After that I will continue with a performance project I have on the go, a work in progress.

Eventually I am aiming to assemble a professional team to collaborate in devising this

idea into an orginal piece of theatre performance art to travel to fringe festivals in Australia

and overseas.

In my career and work, I want to explore and take risks. and to create fully realised

characters, exploring the human psyche and archetypes, not just the light and dark

but the different shades in between. Experimenting with written word, and poetry, using

haunting music, ethereal lighting, original stage and costume design to create a very

special experience for an audience.

Question: There seems to be a growing amount of women taking up this art form, why

do you think its so popular and whats the appeal?

Burlesque appeals to women because it allows a woman the opportunity to express herself

through the medium of dance and theatre, building self confidence and a sense of

empowerment. The atmosphere in a burlesque class is supportive and the group energy

enables you to move through any blocks or fears holding you back.

In society, where humans are told to hide the emotions, to keep our sexuality under wraps,

and not stand out from everybody else, Burlesque does exactly the opposite! Its about

expressing yourself through the body and the mind, experiencing the joy and rapture

of the soul, learning to not judge yourself but to live in the now, and in a state of simply just

being! True beauty comes from the soul, and from within!

At the end of my Shimmy & Shake Burlesque courses the transformation in the students

is evident as they emerge more confident and happy with themselves.

I firmly believe Burlesque is beneficial for every woman, and especially relevant for

actors and other performers, enabling them to deliver organic, alive, connected and engaging


Shimmy & Shake Burlesque classes take you on a journey liberating the mind and body,

allowing freedom of expression of the physical sexual self, but also freeing the mind from

any old, outdated modes of thinking in relation to women and their sexua

We are passionate about providing dance fitness

Scroll to Top