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Burlesque Idol: Stripping down to basics with Sarina del Fuego

Heather Wallace

Eight luscious performers will take to the stage to compete in the Canberra leg of Burlesque Idol Australia next weekend.

Now in its seventh year, Burlesque Idol sees performers in Adelaide, Newcastle, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney and of course Canberra compete in their hometowns, with winners coming together for the Grand Finale in Sydney on 31 March.

Gorgeous Sarina del Fuego, co-producer of the show and international showgirl, took some time out to chat about what Canberrans will be seeing. Not so long ago Sarina and I were housemates, so imagine this conversation taking place as we sit crossed legged on the floor, a bottle of wine between us, glueing diamantés in concentric circles onto nipple pasties. Just a regular night in for a burlesque dancer and an arts writer… 

Is there a theme the performers interpret?

We don’t have a theme. We’re a competition show that doesn’t put restrictions on what the performers choose to do, apart from the length of time with the act. We’re strong believers in becoming more accessible and continue our welcome to all no matter what gender one identifies with.

What does it mean for new performers to take part in Burlesque Idol?

Support, a fun new experience, some really great venues most people dream of performing in, a chance to find a new fan base and become part of the Idol family.

All performers are able to contact the producers for advice at any stage, they get their own personal posters made for them and feedback after the night from the professional judges if they choose to take it. The winner of the Grand Finale is given a paid spot in an international show in either the UK, New York or Las Vegas.

Burlesque Idol Australia

Burlesque Idol Australia

What will Canberra audiences see this year?

Eight fabulous burlesque starlets battling it out to take the Canberra title. Guest judges performing. Great prizes worth more than $500 for our audience in a best-dressed competition and a raffle, as well as the chance for the audience get to pick the night’s winner!

FUN, VIBRANCY, COMEDY, ELEGANCE and so much more.

Our Canberra starlets are:

  • Artemis Seven
  • Autumn Temptress
  • Eve La Reine
  • Night Temptress
  • Possum Galore – the feral tease
  • Rebelle Velveteen
  • Valerie D’Ville
  • Nyx Hellfire

As a seasoned burlesque performer, how do you feel when newcomers brave the stage for the first time?

Exhilarated – our performers have some stage experience, it’s never their first time once they get to Idol. However, it is often their first time in a theatre set up and that is a completely different experience for them and a joy to witness. Nerves can come across on stage but Idol performers put on a brave face and smash the show and we are always so proud.

What changes have you seen in burlesque in your career? 

Burlesque is always different and varied, sometimes you even notice different trends or styles between each state. Changes across time are rather subtle and I’m not sure you could pinpoint them. Changes to the community or seeing performers come and go when they retire from the stage are more evident. I enjoy seeing mainstays grow or try different directions with their routines or productions.

Lola LaBelle

Lola LaBelle

How do you go about preparing a new routine?

It starts with different things, sometimes it is just a costume design idea I’ll have and then music and choreography come next or a song I hear that I fall for and then visual or movement ideas will come out of that. Other times it will start with a concept or prop and I’ll build everything around that.

What advice do you have for performers starting out?

Research! Don’t directly copy anyone who came before you, be that costuming, routines or stage names. Then follow your dreams.

Who inspires you as a performer?

Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Monica Bellucci, and the music of Nina Simone. Vicky Butterfly, a UK based performer who graced Canberra stages last year at Idol and of course my co-producer Lola LaBelle.

Sarina Del Fuego

Sarina Del Fuego

You changed my life when you gave me your curling tongs, what’s the one thing you can’t do without as a performer?

It’s hard to say any one thing; I mean, doing without a suitcase would make travelling to shows very difficult.

One thing I can’t do without on my face is RED Cosmetica lipstick.

One thing I can’t do without on the road is Yorkshire Tea.

One thing I can’t do without after a show is glass or three of bubbles.

One thing I can’t do without on tour and during the creative process is MUSIC.

One thing I can’t do without after a performance is coconut oil to get the makeup off!

So there you have it.

The basics to being a glamorous travelling burlesque star. I only have one final question: how do I unglue these diamantes from my fingers?

the essentials

What: Burlesque Idol
Where: Canberra Theatre Centre
When: 11 March 2017
How much: $35-$65
Purchase tickets and find more information here

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Heather Wallace

Heather’s career in arts and heritage PR spans 15 years, with highlights including working for Sean Connery at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and promoting Australia’s World Heritage places. Her blog, Myths and Misadventures, (http://mythsandmisadventures.blogspot.com.au/), is about life lessons we can learn from the Romans. You can follow her on Twitter @Missmythology. More about the Author

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