As you may of seen Little Lady Luscious has handed over the reigns of Luscious Cabaret to two of her recent advance burlesque graduates Bella Rose & Allegra Whispers. Every student’s burlesque journey is different so we asked them to tell us about theirs and whoa were we blown away by their stories. We begin with Bella Rose …
My first introduction to the world of Cabaret was pretty epic, as it was when I went to watch the Moulin Rouge. The lead dancer at the time had been taught by my Gran who runs her own dance school, so my family and I were lucky enough to go to Paris to watch her in all her showgirl glory. As an awkward 12-year-old I remember initially feeling a bit embarrassed about the number of boobs on show, but I soon got over this and became totally mesmerised by the costumes, showmanship and glamour.
I booked the burlesque beginners course at Luscious Cabaret before I could change my mind and can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
Fast forward a few years and I was sitting in a bar with fellow performer, Bootsy Bonafonte, who was my dance school buddy growing up. She was telling me how she’d started taking burlesque lessons with someone called Little Lady Luscious and that she thought I would really love it too. I remember thinking how awesome this was, but that there wasn’t a chance in hell I could be brave enough to put myself out there like that. A few months later I watched her perform at the Luscious Cabaret and was so incredibly proud of how she owned the stage and her body that I nearly signed up to the course there and then. Sadly, the next day I was dancing round my bedroom in my underwear (as you do), caught a glimpse of my body in the mirror and thought ‘who the hell would want to see that?’, so this idea was pushed firmly out of my mind.
The turning point for me was getting married… random timing I know! As a self-confessed organisation freak, I’d spent months planning every detail of our wedding so knew I was going to have to get a hobby to fill the ‘wedmin’ void. After a few whatsapps to Bootsy from my honeymoon lounger, I booked the burlesque beginners course at Luscious Cabaret before I could change my mind and can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
I remember my first lesson like it was yesterday. Donning bright lipstick, a polka dot head scarf and red Jimmy Choos (my wedding shoes), I rocked up to Academy Mews Studio having no idea what to expect. I was then greeted by Emily – AKA Little Lady Luscious – who was so incredibly welcoming and lovely, then I was strutting around the studio like Beyoncé before I knew it, wondering why I hadn’t done this sooner. Over the next few weeks I learned the basics of burlesque, created a stage name (after a drunken brainstorm with my husband) and a routine that I would soon be performing in front of a live audience. As a small-boobed, big-bummed girl I was incredibly self-conscious about my body and had no intentions of doing a full strip, maybe a sexy dance at best. However, after some encouraging words from LLL, a bit of Dutch courage and an incredibly supportive audience, I found myself standing in front of a cheering crowd, sporting red star nipple tassels (and not much else), feeling more alive and fabulous than I had ever felt before.
I feel proud of what I’ve achieved and think to myself,
‘wow you really owned it then.’
My first performance was in November 2017 and I haven’t really stopped since. After taking more lessons, including the Luscious Cabaret Advanced course earlier this year, I’m now performing regularly across London and have been chosen to perform in both the Bristol and Glasgow Burlesque Festivals, which I’m super excited about.
For me burlesque is not just about the buzz of performing, it’s about being part of an amazing community and empowering others to feel good about themselves. I’ve met some incredibly inspiring people, made some awesome friends and generally feel so lucky to be part of something so inclusive, creative and special.
It’s also really helped me with my body confidence. I used to genuinely hate my bum but have been told by a lot of people it’s one of my best assets on stage, so have learnt to embrace it, along with my other imperfections. Likewise, I look at photos from past shoots and shows and instead of immediately picking faults, I feel proud of what I’ve achieved and think to myself, ‘wow you really owned it then.’
My latest adventure is co-producing the next Luscious Cabaret with my burlesque sister Allegra Whispers. We’ve cast some of the best up-and-coming burlesque and cabaret performers across London and have had a lot of fun along the way. The show is on Friday 2ndAugust at The Albany, Great Portland Street and tickets are only £5 if booked in advance. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/luscious-takeover-tickets-62321002797
So, to wrap up, if anyone is thinking about giving burlesque a go… DO IT!! It’s genuinely the best thing I’ve ever done, and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Also, come to our show… it’s going to be awesome 😉x
If Bella Rose has inspired you to give burlesque a go, head on over to our burlesque beginners burlesque page … https://lusciouscabaret.com/beginners-burlesque/