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WHAT’S ON

L

ila Luxx took her first burlesque class as something fun

to do with a friend, never thinking it would become her

career, but six years later she is not only one of the stars

in an international line-up of performers at the Australian

Burlesque Festival next month she is also sharing her love

of the art with a growing number of students at her own

burlesque academy.

The festival is the largest of its type in the world, a sell-

out success since it began and getting bigger every

year. According to Lila, burlesque is more

visible than it’s ever been. “Australians

are being recognised on the world stage

and it’s commonplace to find a burlesque

show on any given weekend in any major

city.” For Lila that has translated into growing

demand for classes at her Bombshell Burlesque

Academy, which have doubled in size over the last two years,

and created more performance opportunities for her.

The Australian Burlesque Festival is an opportunity to see

the best of the best in the art of tease, she says. The show is

a kind of cabaret with artists combining vintage striptease

with elements of glamour, comedy, circus and, often, the

unexpected.

Lila is a seasoned performer, growing up with a ballet

teacher mother and dancing for as long as she can remember.

She also studied acting as part of a Fine Arts degree and says

this influences her style of performance. “I love creating

character pieces with a strong narrative and my dance training

shows in my technical performance style,” she says. She also

learnt her burlesque skills from some of the country’s best

– one of her teachers is now based in the cabaret capital of

the world, Berlin, and another earned her PhD in burlesque,

Australia’s first, which she gained at Griffith University.

Extravagant showgirl costumes add to the spectacle and

Lila’s are all custom-made for her shows, often by costumiers

who also work in television and film. Many reference original

costumes of the Golden Age of the ’40s and ’50s but Lila’s

act is not all about nostalgia. She will be mixing it up for

the show at the Australian Burlesque Festival with a playlist

that includes a bold Blues number for one segment, a classic

glamour piece with a huge black ostrich boa, but another is

strictly ‘neo’, or modern, and features electropop and tracks

by Lorde and the Divinyls.

The Australian Burlesque Festival at the Tivoli, Fortitude

Valley, 26 June. Tickets from $71 plus fees. To book see

www.ticketmaster.com.au

32

| BNE May/June 2015

The Big Tease

Australia is showing the world

how to do burlesque with top

performers and the largest

touring festival in the world

Photography by KTB