Burlesque artist Miss LaVelle uses her platform to promote period and body positivity. Picture: Shinu John
10 Questions with Burlesque artist Miss LaVelle
By I Love Limerick Correspondent Ann Mc Donald
Burlesque artist Miss LaVelle posts insights into the life of a Cabaret and Burlesque artist on Instagram. She made her debut in Burlesque and Cabaret when she was 21 in London where she then worked as a burlesque teacher in Pineapple Studios and produced her first underground cabaret “Burlesque at Jamboree”, at The jamboree venue in Limehouse. When she returned home to Limerick she met the wonderful Lesley Anne Lidanne aka Legsy LaRue when they were both performing in Dolans Warehouse for a Galway based cabaret, The Dirty Circus.
They then joined forces to start Limerick’s first monthly cabaret show, Chez Le Cabaret in Lesley and Shay’s, Chez Le Fab it quickly became the hottest live show in town, a place for creative and queer celebration. Miss Lavelle now hosts regular Cabaret shows in The Commercial and performs all over Ireland and internationally.
She regularly posts about body positivity on her Instagram and emphasizes that Cabaret and Burlesque are about sisterhood and supporting each other. She is also a co-host on The Wild Geeze Podcast with Breda Larkin. A podcast dedicated to talking about grief and bringing a comforting humorous edge to it.
Keep an eye on Miss Lavelle’s Instagram @miss_lavelle for updates on her burlesque classes at The Dance Academy, Castletroy. Where women come to celebrate their bodies and mostly have the craic.
Can you tell us about how you got into Cabaret and Burlesque?
Growing up in Limerick a lot of my friends were using fake tan, I wanted to embrace my pale complexion and that is when I discovered 1950’s pin up art, I fell in love. Then one day I was watching “The Osbournes” on MTV and Ozzy and Sharon had a burlesque dancer who was married to ozzy’s friend Marilyn Manson at the time perform at their vow renewal party and I thought who is she and what is that? Of course it was Dita Von Teese and I was hooked.
What was your first time performing like?
My first burlesque show was my graduation show with “Burlesque Baby” the company I trained with. It was great, maybe slightly cringe for me now as I was such a baby burlesquer but overall I was a natural! My aunt surprised me by turning up to the show. I wasn’t sure if she knew what kind of a show she was in for and was hoping she would get the idea from the first few performers but I was up first… so there we go haha. She had a wonderful time, thankfully. It’s that type of support that is priceless and if you can’t get it from your own family, choose your own cabaret family.
Since you started performing, has there been a change in reaction in people when you tell them what you do?
No, people always love it and are very receptive or they don’t know what it is and I school them to a new art form and night out for them to experience in the future.
What has the pandemic been like for Cabaret and Burlesque artists?
Awful, just awful. Anyone in the arts and entertainment has taken a major hit, from the performers to the sound engineers. Luckily there have been elements of support along the way like arts council grants for some producers and mostly from the general public wonderful cabaret fans and supporters turning up and safely turning out.
Do you think Cabaret and Burlesque artists help promote body positivity?
Absolutely, it’s mostly what it is about. Burlesque in my opinion is not about being the best dancer or wearing the most sparkly and expensive costume, it is an attitude an essence. A genuine display of one’s sensual and strong confidence, an organic display of divine feminine energy and having it reflect and be celebrated by your audience.
Is there anything you would recommend someone to do to feel more confident in their body?
Come to one of my burlesque classes, I will teach you techniques on how to unlock that self love and positive body image of yourself. We have to relearn that genuinely every body is unique and beautiful due to an inaccurate and toxic standard of “beauty” depicted by today’s society and media.
Would you have any advice for those interested in breaking into the Cabaret and Burlesque scene?
Consider joining my Burlesque Belle course which will be starting up again soon, where I train you to create a burlesque persona and get you stage ready. One of my recent graduates Virgo Moon is a prime example of burlesque embodiment and the reason why I am so excited to fill the Limerick streets and stages with more Burlesque Belles!
Do you have anything that you’re working on at the moment or any upcoming performances?
It’s such a tricky time for pre planning shows given our current climate but yes, hopefully a Valentines weekend cabaret in The Commercial Bar, downstairs in The Rec Room. I have a Burlesque class coming up on Wednesday the 26th 8pm at The Dance Academy Limerick, Castletroy Shopping Center. The best thing to do is follow me on facebook and Instagram for updates or slide in to my dm’s with your email address and I will add you to my burly mailing list.
And lastly, what do you love most about Limerick?
Limerick in my opinion is the best in Ireland for their underground artist scene. There are so many incredible artists coming out of Limerick at the moment and always have. The rubber bandits, Denise chaila, God knows, Courtney Sharos, Crea O Donnell, Murli bo, Hazey Haze, Emma Langford, Michelle Grimes, Dyrt Davis, banging AfroBeats night “AfroPopCity”. We have one of the best art colleges in the country and I think that reflects on our underground scene. Limerick has character, it has a certain edge. “ You came here to the 061, so we’ll show you how to get things done.” – chaila
To listen to Burlesque artist Miss LaVelle on The Wild Geeze Podcast go HERE
For more 10 Questions stories go HERE