Can we even talk about burlesque without mentioning the iconic movie starring Christina Aguilera and Cher? Burlesque is a sensual form of dancing that focuses on the art of tease. Think feathers, glitter, high heels, gloves and a whole lotta shimmying your way to a whole new form of body love.
If you’ve ever wandered what the fuss is all about, I hear you! My lovely client Harlee Stark contacted me about creating a custom lingerie outfit for her burlesque dance performance, and you can bet your glitter pasties I jumped at the chance - not only to create something special and unique, but also to learn more about this dance sensation piquing my curiosity.
In today’s interview, we chat the nitty gritty of all things burlesque dancing - what it is, who it’s for, and why you might like to give it a go.
Without further ado, here’s Brisbane’s newest burlesque babe Harlee Stark!
Who are you and what do you do?
Heya! My name is Harlee Stark! I’m a baby burlesque performer and my day job is running a cute catering business.
For those who don't know, what is burlesque?
People always ask me this and I love explaining how it can be so many things. Burlesque is the 'art of tease’ and for a performer there is such a huge range of styles to adapt that into; showgirl, neo, comedy or political. Whatever you want really, as long as you have that element of tease.
How did you get into burlesque and why do you love it?
Weirdly enough, since I was in high school I had always wanted to open up my own burlesque/cabaret bar. Starting classes was always something I wanted to do, it just took me a little while to get off my booty and do it. Burlesque is extremely inclusive and I love the versatility you have to create your own act. I feel very feminine and elegant when I’m onstage too which is a real dopamine booster.
What's your process for picking an outfit for your performance?
Sometimes a costume idea comes first and that’s what I base a routine off or vice versa. If the costume doesn’t come to me first, it’s usually;
- Determining Act Setting/Theme
(eg. 50’s housewife at home in the evening)
- Colour Palette & Costume Style
- Figuring out the logistics of ‘elegantly’ taking it off during the performance.
- Making it look sparkly and extra.
I’ve found majority of my costume pieces on Depop (secondhand clothing app) and I like using local business, such as Lazy Girl Lingerie to support.
Any tips for someone thinking of starting classes but doesn't know where to start?
Just start. Enrol in local burlesque classes or find some online if in-person classes are unavailable. Starting something new is always daunting but that’s why burlesque is so wonderful; we’re all about that inclusiveness babyyyy!
Any hints on what's next for Harlee Stark?
I will definitely be focusing a lot more of my time and energy into creating acts and taking classes this year, learning new skills and polishing off techniques. I’ve been taking burlesque classes for about a year now and this is my prime time to get up on stage and perform and find out who Harlee Stark is and what she wants to achieve.
I hope you adored my chat with this burlesque superstar, and that perhaps it gave you a little courage to try something new - I know Harlee sure did inspire me! I can highly recommend The Bombshell Burlesque Academy in Brisbane & Burlesque L’amour in Sunshine Coast for fun, inclusive lessons for a VERY beginner level such as myself.
So what are you waiting for - show me how you BURLESQUE!
Photo Credits: Cam Attree Photography
Lingerie: Harlee wears a custom version of the Lolita Lingerie Set .