Interview with Sophia Rose

Hey Sophia Rose glad to have you here. The first question I would have for you is when and how did burlesque become your passion and exert of artistic expression? (History behind the music/artifice.)

Hello, thank you for having me. Well, I got into the whole culture of burlesque and the 1920’s – 1950’s many many years ago when I was about 13 and I was quite taken by the musician Marilyn Manson, and of course, he was married to the queen of burlesque, Dita Von Teese. I saw her featured in on of his music videos doing her signature “martini glass” routine and ever since then I was in love with what I found out to be burlesque. From my obsessions with Dita Von Teese, I then learnt about the fantastic music and culture that goes hand in hand with burlesque and all about its history and heritage. I find it a fantastic way to express an inner part of myself that, otherwise would not usually show within my day to day life. I have adopted the 1950’s fashion style and look within my normal day to day routines but my on stage persona gets to play out all the little fantasies that all of our heads are filled with. In the same way that alot of people find writing music or creating art as a release and expression of their inner self and almost like a form of escapism from reality , I find burlesque and the routines I create a way of showing the world my creative output and my inner persona.

How are you feeling this year, any big plans for 2010?
I am VERY excited about 2010 indeed. 2009 was such a fantastic year for me burlesque wise but 2010 will be bigger and better. I have some dazzling new routines up my sleeve on a large scale and am excited about all of the wonderful opportunities I have so far been presented with to perform at some amazing shows and events along with more photoshoots and promotion work. I also have started up my own burlesque circus night in Bristol called Ooh La La! It is a mixture of my favorite burlesque and cabaret starts from all over the uk mixed with some great circus acts such as fire eating, glass walking, on – stage body piercing, cage dancers, stilt walkers and lots more. That along with some amazing dj’s and on floor magicians, my aim has to be to create a type of night time wonderland, breaking away from the conventional sit – down cabaret burlesque show sI have been to before. I like to think I have created a little Ooh La La! bubble where the audience have something to look at all around, constantly being visually stimulated. I am hosting this even at the Bristol Bierkeller, renowned for its rock and roll roots. It is every second and last sunday of the month, with its opening party on March 14th. I will include some details at the end of this interview as to where people can find out more about this event. Other than that, I am just taking a few months out at the start of 2010 to make sure my brand new acts really do take peoples breath away, kick starting at Ooh La La! on March 14th! I am also planning to mix some ballet and acrobatic elements within my future routines so this year for sure will also be a learning curve for me.

Could you talk a little more about your burlesque dancing?
Well the great thing about burlesque is that, it is a creative out-put like I said before for the dancer themselves. But burlesque can be whatever you want to make it. Originally it started as strip tease cabaret but it really can be anything you make it these days. My particular style is still quite traditional, I am a big fan of the original sally Rand style Fan dance ( no pun intended ) , and I like to wear quite traditional style clothing and under garments. My hair and make up is again, very traditional with lots of 1950’s pin-up style hair-do’s and my signature Russian red lips. The routines themselfs are very seductive and contain very few cutesy elements but always have a rock and roll edge to them. I am a massive fan of the girls at The Crazy Horse in Paris so I have taken elements of their take on things and woven bits and pieces into the core elements of my routines. Of course, my routines all have one thing in common… glamour! 110% glamour all of the time is a must, and my new routines certainly have a massive injection of that! But… you will have have to wait and see!

So what is the motivation behind your whole movement?
My motivation mostly stems from the rush you get while your on stage while performing. Its like a drug. I crave that rush every time i step onto that stage or sometimes, while even on my way to a show. Every time is has to be bigger and better. I love playing dress up and taking to the stage in these outrageous outfits that have no other place apart from the stage really. It goes back to the little girl in me who loves to dress up and prance around. I also love the feeling of everyone clapping and applauding you at the end of the show and when people come up and congratulate me and say how much they admire my guts and talent. Its one of the biggest compliments someone could ever pay me.

Who are some people you would like to work with?
Well obviously, my dream would be to work with Dita Von Teese! She is my ultimate idol. I love every element about her so much. I have some very good friends and contacts within the industry and would love to perform with the likes of Vicky Butterfly or Chrys Columbine as they are both on top of their game and are as elegant and beautiful as each other. I would love to have a headlining show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris or at The Crazy Horse in Paris or Vegas. I am always looking for new and exciting photographers and costume designers to work with too. So my peepers are always open. I would love to go on tour with a proper rock and roll band and dance while they play around the world, that would be a dream, or to do a fashion shoot for Vogue or something. That would be a dream come true! … and to own a corset hand made for me by Mr. Pearl in Paris.

How is the Internet changing your craft?
The internet is a wonderful medium of self promotion for very little money. Facebook is fantastic for networking and getting your name, face and work out there. It makes meeting people and gaining new contacts and work easier than ever. I swear sometimes my Macbook has to be physically removed from my hands. If it wasn’t for the internet,I dont think burlesque’s revival would be anywhere near as big as it has been. The internet overall has alot to answer for, good and bad.

Are you down with the whole twitter thing? How is this an important outlet for you and others?
I do have a Twitter account, yes. I dont use it so much though. I used to use it quite alot but I find I dont really gel with it very much. Maybe time is needed. my twitter is sophiaXrose. I do love using it to spy on what other people are up to though. That can sometimes be fun.

Who are some people you want to be interacting with this year?
I 100% would love to go properly international with my act at some point this year. I plan to get alot bigger in London and the UK in general first though. I would like to work with Bizarre magazine alot more as I have already had a bit of contact with them. I am slowly getting to know alot more performers, male and female within the burlesque and cabaret industry through my club night as I deal with who and when I book acts so I get to meet some fantastic people through that and of course the Ministry of Burlesque. I would just love to meet more like minded people who also have my ambition to get to the top and to try and achieve that.

Could you talk about any long-term goals you have in mind?
Yes… I want to go into vintage styling and costume design for sure. Fashion is a big thing for me and a large part of my life so I want to take a more hands on approach to costume styling and design. I want to become a household name like Immodesty Blaze has become in the UK. I would LOVE to own my own burlesque club, and grow old gracefully watching the next generation sparkle on stage like we used to. For future acts I would love to incorporate some kind of ballet mixed with acrobatic skills. How I will incorporate these, I am not sure myself yet but its certainly something on the horizon for me.

When you started out did you think it would be a serious business?

The new revival of the Burlesque boom so to speak was going on a fair few years before I started performing so yes, as far as I have been here, burlesque has always been a very serious profession. It is highly competitive and takes alot of constant maintenance to stay in this game. You always have to be on the ball and thinking about whats round the corner and how to become the best you can be. I have alot of people contact me to ask about tuition and I happy oblige so I think that if you take your own profession seriously, the people who watch you will also pay you the same respect.

How do you separate yourself from others?

I like to think that I am different from alot of the other dancers, as they are also different from the other in their own right. But I like to take something and put my own spin on things. I have avery dark and sinister side to me at times but I also have a very cute and girly side to me. It all depends on my mood. I always keep things very vintage and classic and artful but at the same time dazzling.

Where is your Favorite place to create art?
On stage, when things go wrong. I love to improvise. At the time, I hate it and feel at times like I might just fall apart but thats when your true inner self comes out to play, when your put on the spot, in front of a paying audience and you have to give them their monies worth. A large part of burlesque is audience interaction and comedy so when im put on the spot or have to perform with an element of improvisation, thats when my inner pin-up diva comes out and things tend to fall in place and I make the best of a situation. Other than that, my mind is my favorite place to create my art. I love it when you hear a piece of music or you see a certain item of clothing, advert campaign or object in life, it can be anywhere at anytime, and your mind goes into overdrive and you can create a whole routine or idea from such a small element. I go into a kind of daydream and dream up some fabulous ideas, some never leave my mind but some make it to stage and you can see in some of my routines.

The art and party scene have come together in recent years, why do you think this has happened?

* I think people are in general becoming more creative and realizing that pretty much anything is within reach if they just put their minds and hearts into it. The art and party scene within in London is fantastic and the rest of the country seems to follow. London is my favorite place in the whole world right now purely due to it being such a creative place to live and work. You never know who you are going to meet or run in to. People have their day jobs to pay the bills whether that be sat at a desk 5 days a week or working in a shop but people now need some kind of creative output more than ever and we, as a society are more creatively free than we have ever been. People are starting to think outside of the box and thats great, hence why the explosion of art and culture has been on a boom the past decade or so. I think its now an unstoppable force and that its a very liberating thing!

details for Ooh La La! :
It is every second and last sunday of the month at Bristol Bierkeller:
bristolbierkeller.co.uk/ tickets are avlaible at seetickets.com, ticketmaster, bristol ticket shop and bristol bierkeller direct.
The facebook group is http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000793263882&ref=search&sid=521835098.3376856738..1 and any questions, please email oohlala.enquire@googlemail.com or contact the bristol bierkeller )

How do you describe your burlesque dancing to people?
My burlesque dancing is a delcious mixture of 1950’s strip tease cabaret mixed with elements of fetish and rock and roll.

What have you stolen/learned from another artist lately?
Number on rule is you NEVER ever steal someone else’s ideas or routines!!!! I have learnt alot of things from other performers such as stage presents, how to interact with the audience, how to get the reactions you desire from them and have them at times… in the palm of your hand.

Does burlesque art have a relationship to the rest of the world?
I think burlesque has always had a place in the world. At the end of the day, our inner most desire is sex and…sex sells! Burlesque takes that element of sex and desire and plays and toys with it. It takes the primal instinct of sex, puts it in a pair of killer heels, drowns it in glitter and then parades it in front of a paying audience for the world to see.

Describe who a fan of your art is:
Believe it or not, Burlesques main following is women. Im not sure why this is, maybe because burlesque celebrates the female form, whatever the size, background or walk of life. It celebrates what being a woman is all about and gives you this inner confidence and while on stage, you kind of feel invincible. Typical fans are women who want to let their inner pin-up queen out to play and men who simply admire the female form and the artful way we display our bodies and personalities within the theme of our routines.

Describe your art as if we were blind?
Lots of frills, glitter, bright and dark colors, feathers, luxury and glamour all wrapped up in a corset and stockings. Beautiful textures and complex detailing down to the toe, perfectly preened like a peacock. We prance and we dance to our favorite music while revealing and teasing your peepers as to what lies beneath our breathtaking garments.