Teach­ers of tease to tit­il­late


Saucy, sala­cious, sump­tu­ous and se­duc­tive, bur­lesque has un­der­gone some­thing of a re­vival in re­cent years.

Palmer­ston North has been at the fore­front of New Zealand’s neo-bur­lesque resur­gence, which is char­ac­terised by ex­otic and al­lur­ing dance rou­tines, elab­o­rate cos­tum­ing and of­ten tongue-incheek hu­mour.

Ian Har­man’s Boom Boom Room re­vues, MisRed De­li­cious aka Kerry Rodda set­ting up her Red De­li­cious Bur­lesque Academy in the city’s Taonui St in 2012, and Palmer­ston North’s Globe The­atre host­ing the New Zealand Bur­lesque Fes­ti­val in 2014 and 2015, have con­trib­uted to the genre’s profile.

Two stu­dents of Rodda’s, Tai­hape’s Lau­ren Ash­ton and Palmer­ston North’s Stacey Hayes are set­ting up Corps de Bur­lesque – School of Se­duc­tion, a bur- lesque school in the Square Edge dance stu­dio.

Since 2013 as The Bal­let School Dropouts, the pair have per­formed un­der the so­bri­quets of Tril­lian (Ash­ton) and Dahlia Dan­ger­ous (Hayes) around the coun­try, through­out Aus­tralia, USA and Canada.

‘‘I per­formed in a pop-up cir­cus out­side Stu­dio 31 in Palmy that had pole danc­ing, the Zero Grav­ity cheer­lead­ers and a PG bur­lesque.

‘‘I’d never seen bur­lesque be­fore, and a few months later I got up the courage to do a course,’’ Ash­ton said.

‘‘I’ve al­ways been a per­former and I fell in love with it.’’

She met Hayes on the same course at the Red De­li­cious Academy.

Both have won the Queen of the New Zealand Bur­lesque Fes­ti­val ti­tle re­spec­tively in 2014 and 2015.

Ash­ton said the Corps de Bur­lesque is their way of giv­ing back to bur­lesque while shar­ing their love of the art form, in an ef­fort to keep its tra­di­tions alive.

‘‘The cour­ses are de­signed to create a safe space for women to learn to love them­selves, to em­brace their fem­i­nin­ity, their sex­u­al­ity and cel­e­brate ev­ery­thing that’s good about be­ing a woman.’’

They in­clude bur­lesque his­tory, pos­ture, pos­ing, per­form­ing in high heels, the art of slowly peel­ing off gloves, wear­ing corsets, strip­tease, and tas­sel twirling.

‘‘Bur­lesque is about be­ing in­clu­sive. There is no such thing as too old, a wrong body shape or can’t dance. Any­one can en­joy and take part in bur­lesque,’’ Ash­ton said.

‘‘It’s a won­der­ful art form, and it’s fun.’’

More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able on the Bal­let School Dropouts web­site and Face­book page.


The Bal­let School Dropouts bur­lesque dancers Tril­lian (aka Lau­ren Ash­ton) and Dahlia Dan­ger­ous (Stacey Hayes)

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