Each Burlesque performer gains their inspiration from different sources, and performers past and present: I blog on my Tumblr about performers and figures from the past, but there are several performers that I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with who inspire me on a regular basis!
I appreciate that there is a fine line between inspiration and imitation, and I am keen to emphasise that I would never knowingly directly copy another performers routines - however, no one can deny that, upon seeing one of these acts perform, that they haven't come away buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm.
Kittie Klaw: The UK's foremost authority on Burlesque, and founder of The Ministry of Burlesque: Kittie is a mult-faceted individual with myriad interests, and is an invaluable source of advice and encouragement, and I always learn something new and exciting from her. She inspires me to step outside of my comfort zone of performance while helping me improve and grow within my existing acts.
Millie Dollar: Sometimes I need a beautiful costume but have no idea where to start - all of Millie's outfits are absolutely breathtaking and have definitely inspired me to up the ante on the quality of my own costuming. She has such a wonderfully powerful stage presence, and her acts are reminiscent of the American Golden-Era of Bump and Grind - everything just works, from the music and choreography to the colour scheme, and I could watch her classy-raunchy acts all day.
Millie Dollar by Candee Photography
Lola LaBelle: "Are there enough crystals on this corset?" No. When it comes to Lola's costumes, the answer is always "No: there can never be enough crystals." Whenever I'm running out of steam, a glance at her stunning work is enough to have me hitting the rhinestones hard! She is so sensual on stage: performing almost as if she was the only person in the room; as though the entire routine was purely for her own pleasure, creating a spell bindingly voyeuristic atmosphere.
Lola LaBelle by Scott Chalmers Photography
Vicky Butterfly: A completely beautiful performer - Vicky's acts are so ethereal and magnetic: she has the ability to create a world on stage and make it impossible to tear your eyes away. I love to watch her perform as she is able to make even a simple move completely compelling, and the level of detail in her costumes is absolutely incredible. She inspires me to push myself to create bigger, more dramatic acts, and to think outside the standard aspects of striptease.
Vicky Butterfly by Michael Deirickx
Missy Malone: Missy is amazing to watch; she has more stage presence than any other performer I've ever seen - even when standing still she can totally command the attention of an audience. I love the pure energy of her performances (and she's my Grandma's favourite performer too!) She inspires me to be braver with the choreography of my own acts: to keep things simple and effective, and she shares my unadulterated love of leopard print!
Missy Malone by Candee Photography
Mat Ricardo: Yes I'm allowed to be inspired by boys too - especially boys as talented and suave as Mr. Ricardo! Mat inspires me with his sheer dedication to his craft: I don't know anyone else who has spent nearly a decade honing one trick! He makes me believe that, with perseverance, anything can be possible.
Dusty Limits: I actually don't know anyone working in Cabaret today who isn't inspired by Dusty! A beyond amazing performer: I always push myself to be that little bit better if he is in the same show (and I kick myself that little bit harder if I mess up!) He was also voted 'Best Host' at the London Cabaret Awards in 2012.
Kitty Bang Bang: Her acts and costumes are breathtaking, and she has so many other skills that she incorporates into her routines: she inspires me as she is a wonderful dancer and it's obvious that she loves what she does, which reflects in her energy and confidence on stage. Specifically I'm hugely inspired by her quick, crazy pointe-work! She is amazing and after watching one of her routines, I always pop on my own pointe shoes and have a little dance myself!
Kitty Bang Bang
Beatrix Von Bourbon: Beatrix puts so much thought into every tiny detail of each act: from the meticulously researched concept to the choreography and music, right down to the rhinestones on her stunning costumes. She inspires me to think more about my own acts and to put more effort into the smallest details, as they really do make all the difference.
Beatrix Von Bourbon
Anna Fur Laxis: A fellow committed tea-drinker and cat-lady: she has stunning costumes and ingenious acts, and I can't help but be amazed by the time and energy she invests in her performances. She inspires me to put more effort into my costumes but also into my expression on stage (watch her face while she's performing - fabulous!) and to believe that I can reach the goals I set for myself.
Anna Fur Laxis by Neil Kendall
Elan Koszuk: Silent comic Elan has been working across the world for over 25 years, including headlining at the Crazy Horse in Paris! He steals the show whenever he performs with his funny, irreverent acts, and is such a humble, lovely person to talk to! He inspires me both because of the level of detail in his acts and the passion in his performance, but also for his professionalism and etiquette, and concern for everyone else backstage.
There are myriad other people and performers who inspire me for a wide variety of reasons, be that costume, choreography or their performance ethic and etiquette, but I think these have had the most effect on me because of the combination of hard work and love they have all obviously invested into their craft. These are the performers I aspire to emulate: I am always honoured when I am lucky enough to be sharing a stage with any of them, and as well as being consummate performers, they are all sincerely lovely people too!