We’ve known Anna Fur Laxis pretty much as long as we’ve been working in burlesque. Back in the early days, she created us this blog on cheesecake burlesque.
We caught up with Anna Fur Laxis recently for the first of our new collaboration series and this is her story.
The Anna Fur Laxis story
“I went to learn rope dart. It’s a Chinese martial art, a weapon with a metal dart attached to one end of rope which you shoot out from your body. There was a chap doing rope dart with silk, so, I went to train with him for a week. Then I went and trained for a fortnight.
I wasn’t very good at rope dart but I fell in love with China.
It’s weird, if you know Shanghai the spot isn’t glamorous at all, but I remember the moment that things really felt different for me was on Nanjing Road on the steps down to the Metro. It’s the biggest shopping pedestrianised street. If you live in Shanghai, you don’t ever go there.
But when it gets dark, the street is lined with huge neon signs and I remember standing there at the top of the steps with people passing me and I felt at home, I never feel at home.
So I did everything I could to get back there, taking all sorts of contracts until I got a three-month contract with Cirque Le Soir. I took that contract with absolutely no intention of coming back to the UK.
You see, I’m good at starting again. Maybe it’s because I’m autistic. In burlesque, that’s good, it means ‘I’m quirky’. In England, I look like I fit in. I look like I know all the social rules, though perhaps I actually don’t. But in China, I felt this sense of freedom and relaxation because none of those rules mattered. It was like, ‘Isn’t she weird? But she’s a foreigner, she just doesn’t know. Look at that white face!’
After about a year, Cirque Le Soir came to an end – they’d extended my original contract (I’d been employed as a knife thrower even though there was nowhere to actually throw a knife in the venue!)
We were given two weeks’ notice and I remember going home and sitting on my sofa in the dark with my jaw on the floor. I’d just signed a new rental agreement for my apartment, and I didn’t want to leave but I had this realisation that there was nowhere in the city for me to work.
But when you’re in a situation like that, you realise pretty quickly you have to create work or you go home. And I love Shanghai. It’s a city of opportunity – full of people doing all sorts of interesting things and people open to doing interesting things.
So that’s how I founded The Shanghai School of Burlesque….”
Connect with Anna Fur Laxis
We’re always looking for new collaborators, so if you would like to collaborate with us on your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustrations by Burlexe creator, Howard Wilmot.