Friday, May 13, 2011


Miss Burlesque 2011

The Miss Burlesque competition is back, presenting the finest, fittest and fairest maidens in the land. Paul Andrew finds out what's in store, and what's next. with event organiser Cassandra Atkins.

It is often said that the most erotic body of all is one partially clothed, it’s the power of suggestion,” suggests Miss Burlesque organiser Cassandra Atkins while stitching a great violet crystal onto one of her own form-fitting stage costumes, “it’s all about what is secret and hidden, what can’t be possessed, it’s the imagined that matters in Burlesque.”
Atkins has spent thirteen years semi-naked seducing audiences of women and men with her sensuous stage routines as a professional "strip artist" in championships around the world. 

“I love being a strip artist and I imagined running a competition of my own at some point”,  the performer reveals,” Industry professional Jac Bowie and I were brainstorming one day; a comp that would work well in today’s climate,  and we came up with the Miss Burlesque title. Neo- burlesque is so popular now, there is no competition like this anywhere in the world, so we said let’s do it. What’s exciting for us is that the new Burlesque is less about the strip, more about the tease, about the humour.”

Atkins cites a list of Burlesque legends including US artist Lily St. Cyr as mentors.

“Lily was a legend because she understood mystique, that beauty emanates from the inside. The body in the right shaped costume with the right bits showing is a lot more sensuous then the naked body on its own. It holds the mystery and keeps you thinking and wanting more. It’s like the chasing game of love, if you give them what they want too soon then you’re no challenge at all, the seeker finds you dull. Keeping yourself covered leaves the special someone, or an audience always wanting more. “

“The dream now is to hold the first ever Miss Burlesque International by 2013, “ Atkins adds. “ We are in the process of franchising the ‘brand’ to producers overseas. Miss Burlesque Canada and South Africa are set to start in 2012. We are in talks for a number of countries in Europe and the USA. Miss Burlesque has been successful here in Australia, and hopefully eventually, an international title.”
“When we organised the first Miss Burlesque last year we received a lot of scepticism, people putting the competition down, saying the burlesque community doesn't need a competition, that performers shouldn't be competing against each other, it will only produce bad for the industry not good, it won’t help your career if you win and on and on and on. I could see some of their points but the truth remains our whole life is a competition, why not have some fun with it.”

“We watch sport on television and in news programs there are competitions around us everywhere. We have proved these people wrong. In my life I have never seen so many women in a competitive environment working together as one, supporting each other, being involved in their community and using competition as an opportunity to grow, to make friendships. Watching the WA entrants drinking cups of tea, hand sewing, gluing beads, stitching, helping one another in a sewing circle sharing stories and experiences was so gratifying for me, a sense of belonging. These girls made me cry from happiness. “

“Oh,” Atkins adds as a final note,“keep an eye out for Mr. Burlesque, that’s next year’s epic.”

Miss Burlesque 2011
Thornbury Theatre Saturday May 14

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