Monday, 18 July 2011

Burlesque Peformers of the South West - Part 2

In the second part of our Burlesque Performers Profiling, we are taking a look at the ever so glamorous and vibrant Geisha Go Disco.


Geisha please tell us a bit about yourself, your style and what you do.

I'm a burlesque dancer, agent, writer and producer of "Coco Boudoir" and "Geisha Go Disco presents...".  In my performance I use a lot of 1950's bump and grind techniques, fan dancing and tassel twirling but I tend to take a lot of visual inspiration from myths and legends as well as religious iconography.

All of us girls know how important it is to have a great makeup collection, what is your ultimate makeup must have? And why?

A strong, long-wearing foundation to base the rest of your colours on is so important.  I have oily skin with uneven tones so I love MAC Studio Finish and Mineral Powder.

'Burlesque' covers many era's of clothing, which would you say is your favourite era of clothing? And why?

I love skin tight wiggle dresses so probably the mid 50's era.  It just matches my shape!

Have you ever had an Idol? Who was it and why?

I don't have an idol as such.  I admire and take strength from public figures like Queen Elizabeth I, Madonna, Coco Chanel, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Katie Price and Michelle L'Amour.

Photograph by Bertrand Vessier

How did you come up with your stage name?

GeishaGo Disco was a male, cross-dressing fairy I invented for a dark fairy story I was writing a few years ago.  He was the good guy in a power struggle against his female evil twin, Geisha Go Death.  When my hard drive crashed and wiped all my work, I stole the name for myself.  It symbolises rebellion.

Stockings, all the way.

Photograph by Bertrand Vessier

How did you become involved in the Burlesque scene?

I was going to shows a lot in Melbourne back in 2005/2006.  I was trained in music industry management and, from 2001 onwards, watched the interest turn from rock, punk and metal shows and club nights to more creative and interactive events, including fashion shows and burlesque.

Back then, burlesque shows were produced by troupes that would perform the whole night's entertainment between themselves.  Sometimes it was four girls; sometimes it was up to ten. Sometimes they would do a double act, then some solos while the other girls changed costumes back stage, then end in a full troupe act.

We used to go to shows by Man's Ruin Burlesque, The Voodoo Trash Dolls and Hi BallBurlesque and there was a great mix of classic, neo, fire skills and really obnoxious tassel-twirling cheesecake.  

I planned to start performing back then as part of a double act.  But I decided to move to the UK and didn't end up actually training in Burlesque until 2008.  Burlesque works differently now, both here and in Australia.  There are a lot more solo artists, I guess because there is more competition, girls need to get paid and costumes are so expensive that costs are difficult to recoup in a troupe. 

Where do you get your inspiration from when choreographing a new show?

The 1950's Irving Klaw dancers like Lily St Cyr and Bettie Page are big inspirations, as far as my pelvis is concerned.  I was trained by Venus Noir from Bristol so a lot of her teachings are still present in my more classic movements.  Tuesday Laveau also teaches me a lot about faster, more tribal bump and grind techniques.

Geisha Go Disco performing the Kali Goddess Dance with Tuesday Laveau

Tassels or Pasties?


Is there a particular brand of clothing or designer you prefer to wear?

Actually I just landed an endorsement from my favourite corset designer Heresy Clothing, so I'm really excited about that.  She pads her corsets to make them super tough.  My new one is going to withstand a nuclear apocalypse! Obviously I love Deadly Is The Female too, especially the StopStaring range.  I recently took seven dresses into the change room (chosen by Claudia Kapp) at Deadly Is The Female and I think only one of them didn't suit my shape.

How many pairs of shoes to you own? and which is your favourite?

Not that many! Maybe eight pairs?  My favourites are a pair of red mary-janes my boyfriend bought me for Valentine's Day last year.  I also have a lush pair of glitter gold triple strap mary-jane heels from Vivienne Westwood by Melissa from Mee Boutique in Bath.

What style advice would you give to anyone wanting to achieve the Burlesque look?

Throw all your modern day fashion and posture rules out the window.  Embrace your waist, because modern high street has taught us that our waist is somewhere around our hip bones!   Use a reliable hair spray (you can't go wrong with Tresemme Freeze Hold which a lot of dancers swear by) and back comb your life away!

and finally ...

What other projects do you have in the pipeline? Where can we see you next?

I've got a new act coming up at the end of 2012 which will be my biggest yet.  It's based on a Native American story about the Sun.  I'll be taking some special skill classes to prepare for it.  Also, Coco Boudoir will be hosting a special one-off big Christmas show which we'll be investing a lot more money into and calling in our very best contacts.

Wow, we can't wait to see that act!  Sounds like it’s going to be pretty impressive.  And the Christmas show sounds like it's not to be missed either!

Thank you so much to Geisha Go Disco for taking time out to answer our questions, we'll look forward to seeing more of you in the future.

Next week we will be profiling another of our fantastically talented Burlesque Performers in the South West....stay tuned!


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