Cassandra Jane presents Miss Burlesque Australia 2013 Grand Final.
The Best of Burlesque compete for Miss Burlesque Australia and Mr Burlesque 2013 Titles.
Sunday May 25th at Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne.
Victoria and Queensland have crowned their finalists, completing the state finals in the Miss Burlesque Australia competition. And now, tickets are on sale for the Miss Burlesque Australia Grand Final, to be held at Melbourne's Athenaeum Theatre on Saturday, May 25, 2013.
Over the past two months, the best of Australia's burlesque have participated in the Miss Burlesque state heats, giving world class performances and narrowing the competition down to seven finalists from around the country to battle it out for the coveted title, as the crown will be handed over by last year's winner, New South Wales beauty, Briana Bluebell.
Now in its fourth year and highly regarded worldwide as one of the biggest and best burlesque competitions, Miss Burlesque Australia will deliver a truly unforgettable night of dazzling costumes, glamour and storytelling as the finalists perform their cutting edge routines in the Classic, Neo (post 1960s) and Unique (the performers' own interpretations) forms.
And for the second consecutive year, six male finalists will vie for the Mr Boylesque title, taking the reins over from the inaugural winner, 'The Black Prince of Burlesque Underground" – Raven.
Both Raven and Briana Bluebell will return to the Miss Burlesque Australia stage as special guest performers on Grand Final night.
A highlight of the Miss Burlesque Australia competition is the glamourous Gown Parade, and costumiers from around the country will be working overtime, sewing Swarovski crystals, sequins, feathers, silk, satin, organza and netting, each aiming for their respective clients to outshine the others.
To attend a Miss Burlesque Australia event is like entering into another world, with many audience members themselves getting into the spirit, dressed in costumes from bygone eras – from 1920s flappers to 1950s rockabilly chicks.
Their enthusiasm for the burlesque performers is infectious and the interaction with the 'stage kittens", egged on by the naughty but witty MC Rita Fontaine, adds to the whole experience.
The performers are judged by a panel of peers and industry experts, based upon a set criterion that includes elements of presentation, confidence, personality, the flow of the routine, storyline, costume, music and relevance to the era. The winner of Miss Burlesque Australia 2013 will receive over $10,000 in cash, prizes and sponsorship.
Miss Burlesque Australia Finalists are:
Miss Burlesque NSW – Kelly Ann Doll
Miss Burlesque VIC – Becky Lou
Miss Burlesque BRISBANE – Bella de Jac
Miss Burlesque GOLD COAST – Strawberry Siren
Miss Burlesque WA – Agatha Frisky
Miss Burlesque SA – Luna Eclipse
Miss Burlesque TAS – Lucy Sky Diamond
Mr Boylesque Australia finalists are: Mr Boylesque NSW – Prince Enigma
Mr Boylesque VIC – Jack Lad
Mr Boylesque QLD – Travis Scott
Mr Boylesque WA – Jon Madd
Mr Boylesque SA – Jack London
Question: What is Burlesque?
Briana Bluebell: I've always liked the simple definition of it being 'the art of the tease'. Burlesque is about teasing your audience and entertaining them through your choice of music, costume and storyline. In its simplest form it combines stripping with theatrics and sometimes comedy.
Question: How did it feel to win Miss Burlesque Australia 2012?
Briana Bluebell: Rewarding would have to be the word. I worked really hard for it and even took a break from competing the year before so I could really focus on the following year. I remember being side of stage and everyone had been given a place or title but me so I knew I was the winner and I teared up a little behind the curtains and sighed knowing 'Yes, it's mine'. I had my emotional moment back of stage so when I came on stage to receive the crown I was just really happy and I believed I really deserved it.
Question: What have you achieved with the title, over the past twelve months?
Briana Bluebell: My first stop was Vegas a month after the show and I performed in the Movers and shakers Showcase opening night at the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend. It was so much fun and it was great to be able to take my new title over with me. I threw myself into the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour dreamcoat with Chatswood Musical society which runs from the 10th-18th May to improve my singing and explore other avenues of entertainment and it's been a fantastic experience. I have also been busy working on my new Cabaret show which will be launching in September as part of the Fringe Festival. I can't wait to show everyone what I've been working so hard on. I've created all the costumes, hand-picked the performers and produced the entire 1.5hr show and I'm very proud of it.I'm also working on a small couture fashion label.
Question: How will you feature in the Miss Burlesque Australia 2013 Grand Final?
Briana Bluebell: My role as the reigning Miss Burlesque Australia is to assist the competitors backstage in any way I can whether it be a safety pin, some last-minute sewing or words of encouragement. I will be performing a handover routine after the last of the competitor shows for a final big bow out before the 2013 winner is announced. I've been working hard on that show too and I can't wait to show it off!
Question: What should we expect from a Burlesque performance?
Briana Bluebell: When you go to see a burlesque show I think you need to be open-minded and remember it's just a bit of fun. Yes it's a career for some of us but you can always expect a comical show in the line-up unless it's a specific theme. You can also expect to see a huge level of variety. Our Australian community is a real mix of styles because everyone is influenced and inspired by different things so audiences shouldn't expect to see a line-up of pretty girls with perky boobs and pink feather fans - they should expect girls of all shapes, comedy, even a bit of audience involvement, magic, acrobatics - you name it and at least one performer does it!
Question: What does Miss Burlesque need to become Miss Burlesque Australia?
Briana Bluebell: To meet the criteria you really need to have the whole package. For me this means that you also have to have commercial capability. Whilst many in the community may disagree, the reality is that if you want to represent Australian Burlesque your shows have to be of a high and professional standard which the public can also enjoy. Our industry is competitive so you want to be sellable to a variety of clients and promoters world-wide. Sometimes this may mean commercialising what you do a little to suit some shows or events. That doesn't mean you can't keep your style but you have to know when you can or can't perform certain routines. The key element for me is the 'wow factor'. That overall amazingness which is created by using the right music, costumes, theming and choreography.
Question: What originally inspired your interest in Burlesque?
Briana Bluebell: I saw a cute little show in London called 'Miss Polly Rae and the Hurly Burly Girlies' with my friends and it was so cheeky and raw at the time and we just loved it and thought let's do this at home. When we got back to Sydney we discovered there was already a growing scene and so my friend started a group and I performed with them for a while until I finally decided to pursue a solo career allowing me to explore burlesque more and improve my skills without being creatively limited.
Question: Do you make your own Burlesque costumes?
Briana Bluebell: I design all of my costumes. Some elements are made to order and the rest I create myself. I have studied millinery and fashion and enjoy the whole creative process. My favourite part is adding the final trimmings and rhinestones. It's so exciting to see it all come together.
Question: Can you tell us about your fashion line?
Briana Bluebell: Bleu couture clothing is a new concept I have come up with that combines the beautiful silk dyed fabrics by Silk Bazaar with my own designs. I will be creating stunning gowns and some casual pieces for both evening and daywear. They will be ultra-feminine and glamorous. The fabric flows beautiful and I can't wait to release my first designs later this year.
Question: What inspires your designs?
Briana Bluebell: I have always preferred an elegant style of clothing. I generally tend to follow my own taste rather than the current trends. I like to observe the trends and take some inspiration from them however I am more interested in what looks good on me. So when I design I am always inspired by looks that are timeless and clothing that you can put away in your wardrobe and continue to wear season after season. Feminine, Classic, elegant with a hint of glamour is key for me.
Question: Where can we purchase and view your fashion line?
Briana Bluebell: My collection will be released in time for Spring and will be available online and at various clothing stores. More information can be found at www.bleucouture.com in the meantime.
Question: What advice do you have for others who want to become involved in Burlesque?
Briana Bluebell: If you want to be a performer you have to really research what you are doing. Even 5 years ago the scene was a lot less competitive than it is now. You really have to learn and practise what you do and you cannot expect to get your name out there in two months. You have to work hard and be aware that there are plenty of others out there doing the same thing. From a hobby perspective there are lots of fun events and classes you can take up. I would recommend Bobbies pole school for fun pole and burlesque classes and if you really want to learn the art well Blush Dance School is a great option with some fantastic workshops for those starting out. Some performers also do hens parties where you can dress up a bit and have some fun and you can also obtain their details from Blush. Some fantastic annual events are the Australian Burlesque Festival which features a variety of performers state-wide and also The Dome, Surry Hills in NSW every Friday night is a fun one as well.
Interview by Brooke Hunter