Our friends over at Revelist just compiled a list of famous black burlesque dancers and it’s been making us think about our own favourite burlesque performers of colour and why there still seems to be a little less obvious equality than we might wish for in the headline acts of burlesque events.
Back in the 1990s the neo-burlesque movement took the rather staid world of ‘stripping’ by storm, bringing new stories, new acts and a completely new and empowered focus to the world of burlesque.
1. A few years later we found ourselves watching Chocolat the Extraordinaire onstage and were impressed by her powerful performance and the uncompromising blackness of her performance. Sadly, we haven’t seen her around much recently, although she’s written some excellent articles on the role of colour in UK burlesque.
2. We also fell in love with Sukki Singapora (whose father is S Indian Singaporean and whose mother is white British) and her irreverent style of burlesque which owed nothing at all to the ‘ladyboys’ genre of Asian burlesque, being instead an incisive performer with a willowy style and a razor-sharp wit. She’s exactly the kind of performer who would delight in a punk rock burlesque dress!
3. Of course we can’t forget Fancy Chance - who was voted Alternative Miss World and London’s Top Tranny in the same year! With a circus skills background and a penchant for dragging up as Prince, Fancy Chance is one of the funniest, as well as one of the most barrier challenging, performers of recent years. Her latest act combines burlesque with heart-stopping stories of her early life - abandoned on the steps of a South Korean police station, she never knew her mother and has made her home in both the US and the UK. She’s also famous for hanging by her hair!
4. And finally, Miss Knock Out Noire, a black performer who may (or may not) hail from Oslo. We’re not quite sure where she hangs her hat but we’re very clear about how she performers - very much a knock-out act with an unashamedly high octane approach to burlesque.
One key feature of many of the performers of colour we celebrate is that they value bespoke burlesque costuming - all too often the standard costume sizing isn’t ideal for everyone which is why we offer a wide range of bespoke costumes like our black lace corset which can be tailored to be a perfect fit for you.
And it seems we’re not alone in exploring the margins of burlesque - Australia news recently profiled a boylesque dancer called Bobbie Sox - a former bricklayer - who reports having gashed his arm with an axe and burnt friction holes in his stage clothes through his highly energetic performances!