The Layman’s Guide to Burlesque Classes in Texas.
By : Shoshana
Whether you were inspired by attending a local burlesque show, and want to hit the stage yourself, or you are just looking for a creative workout there’s a local burlesque class and instructor that is just right for you. The trick is finding the perfect fit.
Ginger Valentine uses her 15 years of dance training to serve as headmistress of Ginger Valentine’s Burlesque Charm School. Novices and seasoned performers welcome.
Monday & Wednesday evening classes are held at The Ruby Room (Fair Park in Dallas) and sessions include “Bumps and Grinds” and “Classic Burlesque Striptease”. You may buy classes in series, or drop in for $20.
Tuesday is “Burlesque Shimmy and Tone” at Move Studio in far north Dallas.
Miss Malicious of The Lollie Bombs and Texas Performer of the Year 2009 teaches “Burlesque 101” at 7pm every Monday evening at Lady of America Gym on Mockingbird at Abrams. Malicious covers everything from classic burlesque moves and basics to full burlesque routines. Class is free with gym membership ($30/mo) or drop-in for $15.
Delilah Muse, nationally renowned flamenco dancer, has dove head first into the world of burlesque! Her “Get Your Sexy Back” Burlesque class at United Dance Academy caters both to new mothers wanting to get back in shape & expectant mothers looking to stay sexy and fit during pregnancy. Classes are on Saturdays. $55 per Month or $15 per class.
One of Dallas’ oldest cabaret troupes, The Velvet Kittens teach a wide variety of cabaret style and burlesque classes at the Verandah Club in Dallas. Classes and workshops change monthly. Four Class Series is $60 regular registration.
Honey Cocoa Bordeauxx has been on the stage since age two. She brings her expertise to the Green Space Arts Center every Monday night for Burlesque Aerobics. Classes are $10 for TWU or UNT students and $15 for non-students.
Honey will also be starting at class at Sole Groove Dance Fitness in Flower Mound later this month!
Austin Academy of Burlesque’s headmistress is none other than Miss Coco Lectric, co-founder of The Jigglewatts and Hot Rods and Heels Texas Performer of the Year 2010. Lectric covers everything from classic techniques with boas, gloves, and stockings, to advanced choreography and full routines. Classes range from $10-$15 and are on a drop-in basis and are held at Galaxy Dance School and Lucila’s World Dance Studio.
Grace Truvant founded Lady Grace Academy, Houston’s first school of burlesque just over a year ago. The classes are taught in series and students may choose from a wide variety of subjects such as “Classic Moves of Burlesque” (Truvant is a New York School of Burlesque associated instructor), “Advanced Burlesque: Creating Your Character”, and “Exotic Essentials”. Fees variety based on studies choosen.
Dallas Burlesque Festival, billed “The Sexiest Show in Big D” took place last month at the Historic Texas Theater in Oak Cliff, one of the oldest sections of Dallas. Only two years old, the festival, produced by Elisa Davis, Ginger Valentine, and Black Mariah, grew by leaps and bounds over its inaugural year. While ticket sales for 2010 were about the same as 2009, the festival spanned two nights, which meant all festival goers had the luxury of their own seat. The sold out production grew to host over 50 performers spanning seven states and two countries. The DBF gals also decided to add a featured performer to the line-up, Angie Pontani of New York headlined the festival. Due to the 1000 plus attendees in 2009, the media was ready this year and gave Dallas burlesque lots of attention the week prior to the show.
While Friday night’s showcase was hectic and had some technical setbacks (the wrong music was cued up and took seven minutes of silence to fix, at which point the crowd became agitated, the producers were also thrown a last minute curve ball when the fire marshal was called in due to questions about the venue’s safety, which resulted in ticket holders being turned away.) By Saturday night the Dallas Burlesque Fest crew, in a large part due to stage manager Nick, got all of the kinks ironed out. Saturday night’s performance was nearly flawless, and the energy of the crowd was amazing! Pin Curl was on hand to ask festival attendees to share their experiences. Here’s what we learned:
Jessica Dawn, from the audience perspective:
I arrived Friday night eagerly anticipating the event. Both Pixie and I were excited to attend as audience members instead of working the event, either off or on stage. When I arrived, there was confusion at the door with the different lines you needed to be in and though it was a cold night to be left waiting a half hour for the house to open- it was neat to listen in to those in line with us and what they were anticipating the event. The Friday night showcase was performers bustin’ out the crowd favorites. The show was a little rough with a couple of snags which the emcee, radio personality Jesse- handled with flare and aplomb. I had a friend with me who had never been to a Burlesque event before and she (of course) fell in love.
Saturday night was less line confusion but still a long cold wait for the house to open. A group behind me that had not been to a burlesque event before worried whether or not it would not be worth the wait. I reassured them it would be, but I’m not quite sure they believed me.
I have to say Saturdays showcase was FABULOUS. Many of the acts, routines and performers, were new to me, which was quite a treat. The production on the second night was much tighter and seemed to run very well from the audience perspective. The sound quality this year was a vast improvement from the year before as was the closer attention to crowd control. It was easy to see that the team had learned a lot from last year’s event and applied it skillfully to this one. At the end of the show I did run in to the couple that had stood with me in line and I asked them if they had thought it was worth the wait in the cold. Their faces lit up with smiles, assuring me it had been and they were very excited about next year’s show already.
Jessica Dawn’s favorites? Angie Pontani’s veil routine Friday night, and Roxie Moxie’s Saturday night routine, about which she remarked- a Vodun who kills herself at the end- gotta love it!
Jessie, the festival’s emcee
Terror aside I had a ball at Dallas Burlesque Festival. Emceeing such a huge show over the course of two nights was totally out of my realm of experience…as a dj I am usually hidden in a small studio where it is just me and a mic. It is a totally different animal to be thrust in front of a paying crowd AND have to be entertaining; which is probably why I spent both days TREMBLING and slightly horrified. But once I was in the Dirty Martini/Ellingson inspired Wonder Woman gown it was all right.
Highlights for my role include the Cat Butt Gum intro for Athena Fatale, seeing Angie Pontani’s dazzling bongo number live, ohhhhh and Lily Wilde’s explosive dance routine…. that was MOM upside down for sure….WOW! Small wonder she earned a standing O.
Mostly I LOVED the goofball Jigglewatt boys who kept screaming “GOD BLESS AMERICA“ during Fridays show. That was actually helpful because the crowd was kind of rough and unresponsive. They gave me someone to focus on and to play with. I got them good on Saturday when I wore the lacey see-thru Immodesty Blaize gown with the Swarovski merkin. They were screaming again as I came out on stage so I looked down at my bedazzled merkin and then, stared right at them and said “you know… if my cooch were a rifle it would go BLANG BLANG!” and I blasted a few very pronounced rat-a-tat-tat pelvic thrusts in their direction…the incredulous yet radiant look on their faces was worth its weight in rhinestones. Hilarious. They were cool too because they helped us raise some additional money for Patriot Paws Service Dogs and comedy attempts aside, that was really the passion that fed my participation in this wonderful event.
I am eternally grateful to Ginger Valentine, Elisa Davis & Black Mariah for inviting me to be a part of Dallas Burlesque Festival. I would love to do even more on the scene and in any capacity be it as an emcee, pantie wrangler, seat-pointer-to-er, program hander outer, dressing room fixer upper etc… the ENERGY and the art of burlesque really captures the primal essence of what it is to not only be feminine but also to be powerful without having to apologize or downplay it. Burlesque celebrates the female body in ALL of its forms and that is an electrifying combination that is as beautiful as it is intoxicating. I am woman hear me RAWR!
Vivienne Vermuth, performer in Friday night’s showcase and make-up artist Saturday night
At 6 pm on Friday Feb. 5th, the Texas Theater was fairly quiet, except for the low hum of crew bustling about setting up. The only signs that the biggest burlesque event in Dallas was about to happen was a white screen, that had clips of Bettie Page and Tempest Storm rolling. They smiled their Mona Lisa smiles, as if they knew the festival was going to be amazing – and they were right!
Burlesque festivals – To the dancers, it means a chance to hone their skills, strut their stuff, and meet other like minds from other parts of the nation/world. To the audience it means a chance to see a WHOLE LOTTA STRIPPIN’ GOIN’ ON, and a lot of different interpretations of burlesque, from classic to modern and beyond. This was my second run at DBF, having performed in the inaugural fest the year before, and I was determined to leave my big, glittery pawprint! This year I performed in the Friday night showcase with a new sea-inspired routine to Styx’s “Come Sail Away”, complete with glittery Guitar Hero controller, and helped backstage as a makeup stylist alongside LaDonna Hearne and Ruby Redlocks for the fashion show models on Saturday. This allowed me to enjoy the fest from all angles, and meet people on all sides of the show, as well enjoy the entire showcase on Saturday.
Without a doubt, this years’ fest certainly had something for everyone. There were great local artisans showing off their wares . Being in line with offering all side of burlesque, the fest featured pole dancers from The Girls’ Room in Dallas on stage before the shows, and local models took the stage in fashion shows both nights for Electrique Boutique and Jupiter Moon 3 custom corsets. The burlesque acts also varied greatly; some of my favorites included Viva La Muerte’s (Chicago) tribute to Creepshow, Angi B. Lovely’s (Dallas) aerial silks, …The emcee for both nights was the lovely Jessie Jessup, and she kept the audience laughing and cheering on the ladies onstage. The audience was outstanding, and I think Dallas has gained a new legion of burlesque fans!
The biggest and sincerest applause goes out to the entire cast and crew who put this together, and to the three producers (Elisa of the Ruby Revue, Ginger Valentine, and Black Mariah) for putting on this fest and upping the ante with each year. All in all, the show was a rousing success, and I know I walked away from it feeling fantastic! Met some great performers, got to talk to a lot of fans, and generally had a great time! Can’t wait til next year – can you?
Rouby Joule, Performer
I was honored to perform in both the 2009 and 2010 Dallas Burlesque Festivals, and though the 2009 show was a smash hit, I thought this year’s show took it to another level. I love how the Dallas community of photographers, producers, designers, models and performers comes together to support this festival, and this year it seemed more focus was channeled toward the performances themselves. It was wonderful to have such a seasoned and capable tech crew running sound, lights and stage managing. The theatre itself was a bit on the chilly side, especially in the dressing rooms, but it’s a historic building after all. It was a small price to pay for such a beautiful stage. Having some reserved seating for the performers was a big plus, as we learn so much from watching each other, and from feeling the energy of the crowd all around us! The audience was very enthusiastic and responsive, seeming to gobble up every act like candy. I got to perform both Friday and Saturday nights, and the show and crowd on both nights was outstanding. Some new fans even made the trip from Houston for the show. I must say that having female producers who are also performers gave a rare spirit of camaraderie and heart to the entire event. We were all invested in it together, body and soul.
Jennifer, Jupiter Moon 3 Corsets, Vendor
Dallas Burlesque Festival was an absolute blast. Even as a vendor, I had a great time. The energy was fantastic, people were really enjoying themselves, and the performers were top notch. I am so glad it was a two night event, because with that many people in attendance, it would have had to run all day to cram them all in to a one day event! I personally had my best night vending, twice over; I was a happy camper! I also had a fashion show to kick off the evening, and I couldn’t have been happier. I had eight great ladies modeling for me, and it went off without a hitch, especially for not having a single rehearsal! It was a great little fashion show, and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it. All in all, it was a fabulous show, I have only heard wonderful things, and I sincerely hope to do it again next year!
Article & Photos: Ginger Valentine
It’s been a few weeks since my trip to New Orleans for the First Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival and I am already missing the city. I can’t help it; those who’ve been there will understand. However, my objective is not to get too sentimental but instead share with you dear reader, the details of my latest adventure.
When I first arrived at the Westin, I had to dash across the street to the theater at the Harrah’s Casino for a tech rehearsal. I walked the stage while they tested my music. After 20 minutes and pausing to give fellow performer and Texan Ruby Joule a quick kiss on the cheek, I was free for a couple of hours before I had to get ready for the Mondo Showcase later that evening.
It was pouring rain (as it did off and on for the entire weekend), but luckily we had access to a car so Rose Darling and I (plus our gentlemen) took off to a fabulous spot on Magazine Street called Joey K’s. I ravished my roast beef po’boy in a most savage manner but no one seemed to mind too much. After lunch it was time to go back to get gussied up for the New Orleans Rum Party at the Westin Bar. At this point, my mind was already focused on that evening: The Mondo Showcase. Soon it was back to the room to gather my things and off to the theater.
I was so honored to have been selected to perform in this showcase, especially with so many performers that I admire and love. I don’t remember much from my show except waiting in the wings and listening to my intro. I couldn’t believe how much love was out there in the house, and I couldn’t believe that I was there about to do my number. After that I don’t remember much until after I’d finished my act. They had a really nice flat-screen monitor backstage so we were able to watch the show. Michelle L’amour blew everyone away with her heart number. That was the highlight for me.
After the show, Rose and I met up with Mia Vixen from San Diego and the Chicago crew (Michelle and her Starlets) at Coop’s on Decatur where I had a well-deserved Abita beer and fried shrimp po’boy. It was late when we got there, and nobody else was in the tiny restaurant, but in less than a minute we filled it with hungry strippers and friends.
And then finally, sleep.
Saturday I jumped out of bed early considering how late I fell asleep. We walked around the Quarter for a bit and had some breakfast (I use this term loosely) at The Napoleon House. We wandered a bit after lunch and window shopped at Trashy Diva and Fifi Mahoney’s and then we stumbled into the Daiquiri bar. Daiquiris are really popular in New Orleans and there are bars everywhere dedicated only to daiquiris. We each tried the Tiger Teaser (named after the LSU Tigers) which seemed to consist of Everclear and some kind of citrus. Saturday afternoon included more fun with beignets and coffee with Michelle and the Starlets at Café du Monde and then drinks at Tujaque’s.
After we stumbled back to the hotel room, I only had a couple of hours to sober up with coffee and a shower, get dressed and help Rose Darling with her hair. I must be super woman, because I got all of it done, Miss Darling’s hair looked fabulous and we took our seats for the Queens of Burlesque Show just as the house band was starting up.
The Queens of Burlesque Show was the best show I’ve ever seen. All of the ladies were so polished and beautiful. Each act was a little mini production all on its own. I strongly encourage any aspiring burlesque starlets to see as many top-notch performers live as much as possible, you learn so much. I was cheering for my Minneapolis sweetie, Ophelia Flame, but I was very excited to see everyone else too. Perle Noire was crowned the winner and deservedly so. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much energy and power in a striptease act. Catherine D’lish received 1st Runner Up and Lola Van Ella from St. Louis was the 2nd Runner up for her campy and naughty cake and frosting number.
After the Queens show, we dashed off to the House of Blues for the Late Night Burlesque Bash to cheer on fellow Dallasites: La Divina, Scarlette Switches and Rose Darling; Vivienne Vermuth looked dazzling as a stage kitten. Coco Lectric from Austin also performed as well as my friend from Denver, Fannie Spankings. The House of Blues was packed with fans and the girls gave them their all. Catherine D’lish capped off the show by setting the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest feather fan dance. It was certainly a sight to see.
There was one more show on Sunday, but we had to pack up and head back to Dallas. It was such an amazing journey and I’m so glad that my first national burlesque festival was in a city that I love so much. I can’t wait for next year, whether I’m going as a fan or performer, I am certainly going back and I can’t wait.
We asked Ginger Valentine to share her insiders’ tour guide to New Orleans as well as her favorite Louisiana recipes. Here’s what she had to say:
I lived in southeast Louisiana for about five years, and what an impression it left on me! Trips to New Orleans were frequent, and before I knew it, I had fallen in love (really fallen) with the city. I will never be the same. To keep my sanity I visit at least once a year. The following is a very short list of some of my favorite places to visit for food and drinks. I hope if you plan on going to the upcoming New Orleans Burlesque Festival that you will check out some of my favorite spots – you’ll probably see me there devouring a po’boy or giddy from one too many Pimm’s Cups.
Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club
This is the queen mother of all dive bars everywhere. Located near Tulane and Loyola in Uptown at 7612 Oak Street, this bar is nothing more than a glorified shack where you can get beer like Schlitz in a can. The bar is an old house and it’s in the middle of a residential area. It’s hard to tell whether it’s a home or bar. They say they open at seven, but things don’t really get going till 1 a.m. At my first sojourn to this truly locals-only bar, I found myself in need of the ladies room. You can imagine my surprise when a bartender led me to the end of the hall where there sat an exposed toilet. Ha-ha, joke’s on me. That one was just for show; they do have a private bathroom. Use it if you dare.
Café Du Monde
Sandwiched between the mighty Mississippi River and the French Quarter you will find Café Du Monde French Market on Decatur Street. Open 24/7, this is my favorite late-night spot for a quick pick me up after too many sazeracs and hand grenades. Famous for their scrumptious beignets (so much more than just a French doughnut) and café au lait with chicory, Café Du Monde is always packed no matter the hour. There is a perennial dusting of powdered sugar throughout, so think twice before wearing black.
That famous red and yellow hotdog cart that you find parked throughout the French Quarter is more than just ordinary street food – it’s a Crescent City tradition. Sure, some may scoff at a greasy hotdog bought from a vendor, but this has a literary connection that permanently endears them to me. Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Confederacy of Dunces is part tall tale and part love song (albeit wacky one) to New Orleans. The main character, Ignatius Riley is briefly employed by Lucky Dogs, and what ensues is some of the funniest shit I’ve ever seen in literature. I suggest picking up a Lucky Dog and taking it to the corner of Canal Street and Bourbon where you’ll find a bronze statue of Ignatius Riley parked in front of the old store front of the D. H. Holmes department store.
You want tradition? You want unique cocktails and the best damn muffaletta you can wrap your hungry mouth around? Then you want to go to The Napoleon House located on 500 Chartres Street in the French Quarter. Built in 1797, story goes that this was a residence intended for Napoleon Bonaparte after his exile, but he died before he could move in. Now it’s the most famous place to get a muffaletta (call it a “muff” if you wanna blend in, but try not to giggle like me) and one of my favorite cocktails, Pimm’s Cup. The building really hasn’t changed much in 200 years, be sure to check out the cash register at the bar. And the bartenders wear arm garters there, which I think is really romantic.
If you want to get rowdy (I mean really rowdy), and don’t mind hitting up a tourist spot (but hey, I’ve even known some locals to have fond memories of this joint), then you have to go to Tropical Isle to get a Hand Grenade. Order the big one in the commemorative cup. About half way through your drink, you’ll swear it’s talking to you. Yes, it’s obnoxious and cheesy, but that’s usually how I like to start out my visit in the Quarter, but then again, I kind of turn into a hedonist once I’m in the 504, so I’ll just say I can’t help it.
Not far from the French Quarter, you’ll find Mother’s Restaurant on 401 Poydras Street. This is a cafeteria-style deli that serves po’boys so good it’s hard for me to express my feelings without using profanity. When you go to Mother’s this is what you get: The Ferdi Special. Baked ham, roast beef, debris (crusty bits of roast beef that fall off during the roasting process) and gravy crammed in between two perfect pieces of crusty french bread are the key players in the Ferdi Special. I’ve stood in the line that wraps around the block (hungover and in the rain!) to eat a Ferdi special, and I’d do it again (and again) in a heartbeat.
Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop
If you keep walking down Bourbon, and then walk a little more, you’ll come across one of the oldest bars in the country. Built sometime before 1792, this bar is lit by candle light, and it’s easy to imagine yourself transported back 100 or so years ago, that is until your cell phone rings. They have all the usual New Orleans cocktails here, but I suggest trying a sazerac. This whiskey cocktail is one of the oldest cocktails (which is why it’s great to order it here) and it has such a yummy and distinctive flavor that you’ll always associate with the magic of New Orleans. I think this place is a piano bar too, but I can’t be for sure. I could have had one too many drinks and found myself singing along to a song that only I could hear.
Click here for Ginger Valentine’s Red Beans and Rice recipe.
Red beans and rice is a staple of Creole cuisine. It’s easy to fix, inexpensive and good for you. Traditionally, this dish was prepared on Mondays because everyone did laundry on Mondays. So while the ladies were busy hanging up clothes on the line, they could simmer a delicious meal on the stove without having to interrupt their chores. Lots of cultures have some form of beans and rice dish, but this one is my absolute favorite. So here’s my recipe that I have adapted from some of the great cooks I met during my tenure in Louisiana.
Red Beans and Rice
(Serves your family, and then some!)
1 pound of dried red kidney beans
1 small white onion, chopped
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt (about 3 Tablespoons)
Black (about 3 Tablespoons)
Cayenne (1-2 Teaspoons)
1-2 Sprigs of thyme
1-2 Bay Leaves
Cooked white rice
Andouille sausage, Tasso ham, or smoked sausage
Chopped fresh parsley
Sort through the beans to remove pebbles and grit. Some people suggest soaking the beans for various reasons, but I never do. Just make sure no one will be breaking a crown on an overlooked piece of pebble.
In a large pot add the beans, 2 ½ quarts of water (Or about 10 cups; I had to look that up, I never measure at home), the chopped vegetables, and herbs and spices. Basically, dump everything into the pot.
Bring it all to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 ½ hours. Then add the sausage or ham and cook for about 30 more minutes. Serve with cooked white rice, chopped parsley and hot sauce (Crystal’s is my recommendation). If your beans are too “soupy,” use a potato masher or the back of a large spoon to mash up a quarter of the beans.
You can also add a ham hock or bone to the water and beans before cooking, which will really make it taste really authentic. Also try subbing half of the water for chicken stock.
Did you know?
In Creole cooking onion, bell pepper and celery comprise the “Trinity.” The French have their mirepoix (carrots, onion and celery), which they use as a foundation for all their dishes. But in Louisiana, it’s all about the Trinity.
The fabulous Ginger Valentine recently came into the Through the Looking Glass Studio for a Wizard of Oz shoot and to talk MGM, Delores Del Rio, success, and her passion for tornadoes. Photographs & Interview: Shoshana.
What was your original idea to make dance a career, and how did it evolve into burlesque?
Originally I wanted to be a ballerina. However, along with my yearning to portray dying swans and sylphs, I was always, always interested in striptease. I was into burlesque before I even knew what it was. In fact, when I was a kid, my idea of “stripper” was an image of a glamorous woman, with exquisite costumes teasing the audience as she peeled off layers. I can’t say for sure, but I think this image was planted in my head from watching the old MGM cartoons.
How did you choose the stage name of “Ginger Valentine”? Do you ever talk about her in third person, that is has she developed a character different than your own?
Valentine was always a given for me. I’ve collected things with hearts my whole life, and I also picked it because I used to be a huge Rangers fan as a kid and remember the Manager, Bobby Valentine. I thought it was a good name that could almost appear as if it were really mine. Ginger comes from Ginger Rogers, of course. Obviously, I’m no red head.
I don’t talk about myself in third person, because I’m not manufactured and I don’t see my burlesque identity as existing “outside” of myself. With me, what you see is what you get. Sometimes, you see a lot. wink, wink
You are one of a handful of full-time burlesque dancers in Texas. What prompted you to go full time & when did you quit the “day job”?
Well, before I was doing burlesque full time, I was a freelance writer, so I never left a real “day job.” I was able to switch to burlesque once I opened up my Burlesque Charm School. I am very proud of my classes, and more importantly my students. The income from my classes allows me to pursue this full time. Otherwise, I’d have to do something else to supplement my income at this point in my career.
What was your parents reaction? Your significant other’s reaction?
Everyone is very supportive.
Describe some of your earliest experiences with owning your own business.
Well, my earliest experiences with self-employment began when I was writing full time. I’ve been doing burlesque full time for about 6 months. There’s not much to describe, unless you want to know what kind of pajamas I work in.
What are some of the perils of owning a business, where you are the product you are selling and the gig is pretty much a 24/7 job? Are you good at creating personal time?
You hit the nail on the head. When you have your own business, you are pretty much always at work. When I was in corporate America (for about a year), it was so easy to come home and turn off my brain. Now, I’m answering phone calls, responding to emails, working on costumes, rehearsing, performing or teaching around the clock. Of course it all comes in waves. I’m really learning to take time off when I have it. Some weeks I work 80 hours, sometimes less. But my mind is always cranking. Now that I’m self employed, it’s a lot harder to go to sleep.
How do you explain your surge in popularity with both the press and the public, when you are new on the scene?
I have to say that since I’ve debuted as a soloist, I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the opportunities that have come my way. Some people call it luck, but my secret is hard work and a positive, open mind. Also, this is my full time job, so I take it very seriously, just as if I were a nurse or engineer. I feel that I should be surging in popularity, otherwise I should think about hiring a publicist! I have to say a big thanks to Karyn at The Girls Room for giving my Charm School a shot and for all the gorgeous women who have taken class with me. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have the time to do what I do, because I’d probably be in an office somewhere pissed because I can’t update my blog…
The public vote made you a finalist in the Hot Rods and Heels Texas Solo Performer – Best One to Watch category. If you win, you’ll hold a title within one year of your solo debut. What are your feelings on this?
I’m thrilled and excited to be nominated. I’m in very good company too. Rose Darling and Courtney Crave are both dynamic performers, and I’m lucky to call them my friends.
Do you ever run into people who confuse burlesque with modern “gentleman’s club” stripping? How do you set them straight? Is there a big difference?
Not as much as people who ask me to distinguish the two. I get a lot of “so, what’s the difference?” While both are under the umbrella of exotic or adult entertainment, burlesque performers are fundamentally different from dancers in gentlemen’s clubs in that they do not give lap dances, or receive tips. Also, very few burlesque performers go completely nude or topless. In addition, more emphasis is placed on the performance, costumes and the tease. Gentlemen’s clubs are more focused on business transactions in my opinion, whereas burlesque is more about entertainment and pageantry.
What’s your fascination with tornadoes? Have you ever been in one; would you seek one out?
Tornadoes! When I was a kid, I totally wanted to be a meteorologist. All of my friends know what a weather nerd I am. I’ve always dreamt of tornadoes, and I still do. I’ve never been in one, but I would definitely seek one out. I’ve always wanted to spend a summer with a storm spotter driving up and down the Plains in search of super cells. Some people get their rocks off by jumping out of airplanes. I like to chase storms.
What were your favorite childhood movies?
Sleeping Beauty, Who’s That Girl, The Phantom Toll Booth, Annie, Oklahoma!, Love at First Bite
Who are your favorite vixens (modern or past)? [I'm using vixen to describe women who inspire through their sex appeal]
Delores Del Rio, Veronica Lake, Michelle L’Amour, Sophia Loren, Lauren Becall, Immodesty Blaize… there’s so many, but these are some current favorites. Especially Delores, because she’s a Mexicana! I also have to add that some of my favorite vixens live in our very own Dallas: Rose Darling, La Divina, Courtney Crave and Karyn Pentecost, owner of The Girls Room.
What inspires your numbers? Describe the process of coming up with a new performance piece.
I stick to classic striptease, and rarely use sets or large props (at least at this point). Usually what inspires me is music or the idea for a costume. I do have a few character numbers as well. In July, I’m debuting a flight attendant number and I’m really excited because my sponsor, Tara to the T is making my costumes. My process varies depending on what comes first: concept, music or costume…just depends.
If you could, what’s one thing in the last year you would change?
I wouldn’t change a thing; it’s kind of part of my personal philosophy.
What is the future of burlesque in Dallas?
I can only speak from my perspective, but I think it will only continue to grow. I am very optimistic about burlesque in Dallas because I meet so many enthusiastic fans. Also, there’s a lot of talent out there and so many people who work so hard to produce fantastic shows. I think we will keep growing, and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it all!
What is in store for Ginger Valentine?
In the near future, I’ll be in Chicago for a 3-day workshop with Michelle L’Amour called Stripper’s Holiday. It’s just going to be 5-6 performers, and I’m really looking forward to it. At the end of the workshop we’re performing at a fundraiser for the Burlesque Hall of Fame with Michelle and her Chicago Starlets. I’m very excited!
After that, is Hot Rods and Heels. I’m performing and as you mentioned earlier, a finalist in the One to Watch category. I’ll also be giving a mini workshop on the shimmy. Oh and my new merchandise line by Tara to the T will be ready and for sale at that event. I’m really proud of that.
After that, the sky is the limit! One thing I aspire to do next year is debut at Miss Exotic World.