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Alternative Burlesque Icons

Friend of Burlexe, Aurora Galore, gives us her list of alternative burlesque icons, to share the different places the genre can gain inspiration and to give us a little inspiration too.

Aurora Galore Alternative Burlesque Icons

Burlesque to me is one way to explore artistic creativity, as clichéd as that sounds! Although we are taking some or all of our clothes off, yes, in my burlesque career the inspirations and creativity that come behind the taking of one’s clothes off is the more exciting part.

Being inspired and projecting that out into your own message and becoming your inspiration on stage is wonderful.

Many people are inspired by traditional burlesque icons and rightly so; they are all icons because of the impact and achievements that they have accomplished throughout their time.

I prefer to look for inspiration in a number of alternative places. Books, fashion, music, films, images, as well as people and places. Everything can be inspiring if it speaks to you, and brings about something in you that you wouldn’t feel without it.

My routines always start with music. I can’t create something unless I know the tone of the act and the vision sort of comes with the feeling! And the inspirations I have fit in alignment with my track!

I have two sides to my burlesque performances – there is the more daring, aggressive part, and there is also the more creepy, dark side which I use more in my fire performances. As it is a little more restricting, I try to create something different in what I do, to make it contemporary.

For this entry, I’m exploring some of the lesser traditional types of inspiration that a burlesquer might say.

Alternative Burlesque Icons

(Image from Glitterbird)

My number one icon and inspiration is Lady Gaga. She is the reason I eat, breath, sleep and most importantly perform. Aside from the costumes and songs, the most inspiring thing to me about Lady Gaga is her passion and presence on stage. She has a passionate aggression that forces you to feel it and become overwhelmed with joy and motivation. On stage she is free and raw and that is how I always like to perform.

Of course, the costumes are inspiring, however, that is also attributed to the designers – but what is inspiring about what she wears is the daring nature to wear some of those things. She wants to make a statement no matter how dramatic or futile, and she would never disappoint her fans but arriving in a mundane outfit (unless it had a purpose). She is her brand and lives it and always wants to be a platform for creativity.

The effort that goes into her shows is extraordinary and her sets are amazing. Of course, some of us mere mortals don’t have the budget for such things but it is wonderful to strive for something bigger and better in your own performance.

Listen to the Burlexe Playlist for our music inspirations.

Alternative Burlesque Icons

(Iris van Herpen from Edelscope)

Another jumping off point for me is Haute Couture fashion. I’m talking the intense, amazing art pieces that come down the runway that are meant to be walking pieces of art.

Specifically the works of Iris van Herpen, John Galliano and John Paul Gaultier. They really encompass what I love about art. Always striving to be unique in their designs. They create different shapes, silhouettes, and use unconventional ways to structure and display their creations.

Iris van Herpen has made some of the most beautifully weird things that I have ever seen and it inspires me to be different, think outside the box, and create and display something new and daring that people are not used to seeing.

See the Self Confessed Female Drag Queen for Lanvin.

Films are a big impact on my burlesque creations. One part for the visuals and one part for the concepts. Guillermo del Toro is always involved in films that are visually stunning and just one of his screen grabs can make me cry for days!

The shots and compositions are so unique and beautiful that it encourages me to create different shapes and poses in my performance that make them more intriguing.

Someone like Quentin Tarantino is also wonderful at that, as well as his visuals, he likes to break boundaries and explore topics that other people are too afraid to say. It really is a challenging thing to be that fearless.

Here are some more inspiring film scenes: 21 Grams, Pan’s Labyrinth and Shutter Island.

Literature is also wonderful for inspiration, because you create the visuals for it.

I mainly read works from the Victorian and Renaissance periods as well as Shakespeare, because to me they are the most revealing.

The Victorian age was a beautiful time of discovery, so you can almost create a discovery of your own and bring about emotions that you are not used to. With the Victorian era also came the Gothic age which was simply spectacular.

The beauty in the macabre, and discovery of the unknown are things that are to me, wonderful to explore. The ugly underneath the beautiful and the woefulness of the villain are concepts that are endless.

Renaissance literature is wonderful because there are all sorts of weird and exciting things happening. People didn’t know much, but they also know a lot. So you can fill in the blanks, but also be compelled to create a joyous and morbid atmosphere.

Trying to find hidden messages are what I did all throughout university and finding out what an author might have been trying to say but couldn’t because of certain restrictions is great – there are still things too daring for audiences and it’s good to see people pushing it in people’s faces as well as subtly hinting at things.

Enjoy 10 Great Burlesque (and Boylesque) Movie Moments.

Alternative Burlesque Icons

(Natalie Shau image from Como Mi Abuela Decía)

Make-up is lastly one of my most favourite things!

I like to always create for myself a new face, depending on the tone of an art or my current mood!

It is not because I am ashamed of myself without make up – I always think it is hilarious to arrive at a venue without make up, then come out an hour later and make people rather confused!

But rather my make-up and hair is a big part of my performance. It is my focal visual point of me and I like to be very expressive with my face, so it gives a question without me having to vocalise it.

Why would someone want to look like that? Is it beautiful, is it ridiculous?

Creating a dialogue in your performance is always great, because it makes it more interesting – I hope!

Well that’s how I make a start on what I do, but of course this is just me and wherever you find your inspiration it is never wrong! Try to always take what you see and interpret it in your own way so that you create for yourself a unique persona.

Stay Strange and Keep it Gaga.

Aurora <3 xx

Get more inspiration from the Doyenne of London burlesque with Jo King’s Top Five Most Influential Women.

(Main image from Tigz Rice Studios)

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