Some of Adelaide’s young burlesque beauties are back — more dazzling, glamorous and empowering than ever after two sell-out Adelaide Fringe seasons. (Image source: Adelaide Fringe)
By Bec Gaitaneris |@bec_gaitaneris
It’s back! The most wonderful time of the year — and I don’t mean Christmas.
Now celebrating its 60th year, Fringe 2020 is set to be the biggest yet.
Anyone who thinks of this risqué entertainment as just nipple tassels and stripteases needs to think again.
As the #MeToo movement has continued to surface worldwide, prompted by a hashtag that went viral on Twitter in October 2017, more and more women are embracing their sexuality in bolder, more outspoken ways than before.
For those performing on stage and in the audience, burlesque is an art form built on a strong foundation of female empowerment and feminism.
From ballet to burlesque, 20-year-old Tayer Stead is one of many young dancers who are using this art form as a means of expressionism.
Ms Stead has been part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival since 2014.
“I have been dancing in the Fringe on and off since 2014 and the opportunity first came up through my childhood dance school,” Ms Stead said.
“I am lucky to have this opportunity each year and it’s even more memorable sharing the experience with some of my closest friends. ”
Ms Stead is a current student of Stage One Dance Studio and is trained in all dance genres.
At this year’s Fringe Festival, Ms Stead will be performing with Adelaide Entertainment Group.
Samantha Adams created this unique group to support the performing arts community within South Australia.
Ms Stead and her fellow dancers instill commercial influences on the traditional burlesque style, showcasing female empowerment.
“We dance to many well-known songs, which really get the audience going,” Ms Stead said.
“It is a very liberating feeling to dance and perform for an audience in such an entertaining environment.
“There’s no better feeling when the audience gives us great feedback and knowing the lead-up and hard work that has gone into the choreography has paid off.”
For any successful performance, there are many staples of a good performer — passion, power, commitment, drive, practice, continuously learning, and confidence is a must.
Dancing from such a young age, Ms Stead knows that dance is an art form that requires fierce and sustained dedication.
When putting together an act, Ms Stead choreographs group and solo routines.
She says putting together a show requires long hours, dedication and confidence in yourself — not just confidence in your body, but your creative visions and personal sense of style.
“We make sure we have a wide range of styles, tempos, and costumes so that we can keep our audience entertained! After that it is a lot of rehearsal until we are ready, ” she said.
To many, burlesque evokes images of Moulin Rouge, nudity, nipple tassels, and fishnet stockings.
However, with the #MeToo movement and young dancers like Ms Stead who are recognising change, burlesque dancers are now embracing the art form and presenting sexy in alternate ways and thus change the commonly displayed version of sexy.
“One of my biggest challenges as a burlesque dancer is trying not to worry about how people will portray you when you say you perform in a commercialised burlesque show,” Ms Stead said.
“While our show is not as risqué as traditional burlesque, there is still a lot of stigma around expressing female sexuality.
“The last thing anyone wants is to be looked down upon because you’re doing what you love.”
Having danced for her entire life, Ms Stead says she still finds it daunting performing in front of her family, even though they are her biggest support.
Ms Stead believes SEVEN is a must-watch show if you are in the mood for something empowering, sassy and wildly unpredictable!
“The girls and I have such a good time on stage and last year a lot of the feedback we received was about how entertaining it was to see,” she said.
“We always include some surprises and routines that are playful, sexy and engaging.”
The Adelaide Entertainment Group celebrates all forms of burlesque, creating a night as entertaining as it is enticing for its audience.
Ms Stead wants her audience to feel like they are actively taking part in the experience.
While SEVEN’s style offers classic burlesque, with a commercialised twist, Ms Stead promises to bring her love of dance to the show.
She is hoping to enjoy performing each of her six shows alongside her beautiful friends and is confident that there will be high-ticket sales.
“We know the audience will have as much fun as we do, so sell-out shows would be amazing!” she said.
Ms Stead and other young dancers who perform burlesque are showing they love their bodies, and that being sexy doesn’t have to be a shameful thing.
It is an art form that perhaps society has forgotten how to appreciate.
To find more details about this event, or Adelaide Entertainment Group, head to the Adelaide Fringe website.