Friday, 31 January 2014

Burlesque On Ice Rehearsals - Week Three!

It's the final countdown - nananaanaaaaa!

The last couple of weeks I've been sharing all the gossip from behind the scenes of Burlesque On Ice rehearsals - and now we're into week *three*!!

Eep - this week has been manic! Fabulous fun but crazy busy as we gear up for the show in a couple of days... So, how did we spend our final week before showtime?!

This morning Ruby Deshabille, Trixie Kixx, Bonnie Fleur and I joined the fabulous Danni Dee at a rehearsal studio in North London to work on the finale for Act 2 of the show - proper showgirl dancing and it was amazing! I've not really done proper full out dance routines since leaving college; other than a couple of small shows and corporate bits and bobs and it was lots of fun.

In the afternoon we went back over to the rehearsal rooms to continue the ice section of the show with Hollie Deller; we spent a couple of hours going over the choreography, cleaning and changing one or two bits, then had time to work on our individual solo routines too before getting our skates sharpened - it's very sticky now!

Our own personal ice sharpening machine!

I was up early this morning, which regular readers to this blog will know I *hate* but needs must, and all that (our cat was back at the vet for a check up at cock-o-clock in the morning)

Before rehearsals I nipped over to Leicester Square for a very brief meeting with Antonia to swap some costume bits and try on the dress for my ice solo - it's going to be gorgeous and I'm so excited about it!

A sneaky mirror picture (in sexy grey tights) while being fitted for my costume!

We spent the rehearsal drilling and refining the group numbers; Hollie wants them to be so ingrained it's more muscle memory than anything else so we can concentrate on giving the performance of our lives rather than worrying about the steps! Then after going through our solos one by one we did a run-through of the whole of Act Three!

And I got chilly...

WednesdayAnother fun day - we went through the group routines and solos several times and they're looking SO good now!

Absolutely exhausted as a couple of us went out for a few sneaky beverages to send off Glorian Gray who was heading back up North for the last time before show week!

Playing and practising: Ruby Deshabille, Jasz Vegas, Joe Morose and Trixie Kixx!

This is how you finish a rehearsal day!

A long day, but a good one all told! This morning I went to the dance studio with Ruby, Trixie and Bonnie to rehearse the showgirl dance number and had a lovely couple of hours gossiping and dancing around.

In the afternoon we went back to the rehearsal hall; the whole show is looking so slick and polished now - I just want to get on and show everyone how good it is!!

Leggings Brigade! With Jasz, Rosie and Ruby!

We also had a sneaky peek of the pro skaters photos from Tigz Rice Studios - bloody hell they look amazing!!! I'm not allowed to share them yet but I have this picture that Hollie took of a pro-skaters time-out with the Burlesque Bible!

And once again - the BEST way to round off a rehearsal day!

Last day in the rehearsal rooms! We did two full show runs today and it was wonderful to see it come together - we don't rehearse our sections at the same time as the pro skaters so we rarely get to see their routines, although it was SO nerve-racking having them watch ours!

Spiral from my solo!

In the afternoon, we dolled ourselves up and went out to Camden, flyering for the show, with Sarah and Hollie in off-ice skates! There are few things in life funnier than two vintage showgirls in fur coats, on skates, in the rain! It was great fun.

Heading out with Trixie, Sarah, Hollie and Bonnie!

Promotion... honestly! ** Vintage ice skates!

Love BOI!

So that's it - it's the end of the rehearsal weeks and as of Sunday we're into show week - it's terrifying and exciting in equal measure but I can't wait for the results of everyone's hard work over the last few months to come together into a spectacular production...

Will you be there?!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Cabaret and Pirate Cats

It's been another busy week with Burlesque On Ice rehearsals - the show's really come together and it's going to be amazing!

More tube posters!

Fortunately I had a relatively quiet weekend so I could recover and psyche myself up for this coming week, which is going to be *intense*!!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter may know that one of my cats disappeared for a while - twelve days! - but he came back this week which is amazing and we're so happy to have him home.

When we were giving him some food the night he arrived home we noticed that he was rolling his jaw while he was trying to chew, and also saw that one of his eyes wasn't responding to light. Worried, we took him straight to the vet the next morning, and after keeping him in for scans and x-rays we were told he had dislocated his jaw and had nerve damage in his eye; on Thursday he went in for an operation to rewire the jaw and have his eye removed.

Pirate Cat!

He's home now and acting as normally as he ever did; demanding cuddles and feeding every five minutes, purring like a machine and sleeping in awkward places. He's a bit battered and bruised but we're just happy that he's back and will be fine. Thank you everyone who commented on Facebook - we're all a bunch of crazy cat cabarati really, aren't we!

On Saturday night I nipped out for a lovely show at Proud Cabaret; the line-up was fabulous as ever and Hollie and Rosie from Burlesque On Ice came along for the evening as well! It was fab to have them in the audience, to see Joe Morose and I in our natural habitat!

Mirror Picture! With Taz Zebrowski, Bettsie Bon Bon, Joe Morose and Helen Orford!

With Hollie Deller and Joe Morose!

I've spent today being a domestic goddess, completing the dreaded tax return, and crystalling robes for the skaters in Burlesque On Ice. And you know what, I've not changed out of my PJ's all day - Happy Sunday!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Burlesque On Ice Rehearsals - Week Two!

Following on from last week when I kept a daily diary of Burlesque On Ice rehearsals; we're at the end of week two!

Burlesque On Ice - tickets on sale NOW!

So what happened this week?! It's had its ups and downs (literally and figuratively!), we've made great progress with the whole show, had photoshoots, puppy visits, music mix-ups, and unfortunately our Glorian Gray wasn't with us as she's not very well, so we all sent positive, get-well vibes up to Manchester and hopefully she'll be back in skates next week!

I went in slightly earlier this morning as I had rehearsals for my solo with Hollie, and I caught the end of the professional skaters rehearsing the big opening number for the show - bloody hell, it's going to be a-may-zing! Honestly - they've got jumps, lifts, spins, cartwheels; the lot! Boom!

Ruby Deshabille and I spent a couple of hours going through our solo routines, as some moves we could do easily on ice are not so easy on the plastic and bits of them had to be changed or adapted - on the synthetic ice you need to work twice as hard to get half as much result and it's flippin' difficult!

While practising a move in my solo I caught the toe-pick of the blade and, where on ice it would cut a bit and maybe make me stagger, with no give on the plastic I just went straight over and fell face-forward onto the ground! I managed to catch myself as I fell and my knee caught the brunt of the fall so I have a nice shiny bruise on my kneecap now. Lovely.

Later in the day we continued to polish and clean the two big group routines in the show, which are going to look awesome when they're finished, and Hollie impressed us all even with just the bare bones of her solo routine!

Showgirls! With Bonnie Fleur, Trixie Kixx and Ruby Deshabille!

Today was a lovely day - both professionally and personally! In non-ice related news; my missing cat came home! He's been gone for about twelve days and it was heartbreaking but he's back in one piece and I couldn't be happier!

In rehearsal news we spent the day cleaning and rehearsing the two big group numbers in the show - Hollie wants the routines to be so ingrained it's like muscle memory so even if we freak/forget/get stage fright, our bodies will still know what we're doing and just do it regardless! It's something I remember from college, and at times it can feel like we're soldiers doing drill but it's so good.

We even got time to have a basics lesson - as I've mentioned previously, it's so different skating on the synthetic ice to regular ice that it's useful to keep going over things we *thought* we could do to keep ourselves on form! 

My knee was hurting a bit from my fall yesterday but nothing that coffee and nurofen can't handle! Boom!

I was exhausted today - a late night last night followed by a very early morning made me tired and a bit cranky, so I can only apologise to my fellow cast members for being a big ball of grump all day!

We went over the group numbers, adding in Joe Morose on the cleaning. Then in the afternoon the glamorous Gwendoline Lamour joined us for her section and we spent a fun-filled couple of hours mincing, strutting and shimmying around the ice - a booty shake is a lot harder when you don't have a solid surface beneath your feet!

When skates start to hurt, there's always the option of these sexy, sexy shoe covers...

Today was great fun! The pro skaters in the show stayed later after their rehearsal time to run the big finale number, and it's going to be epic!! Fans, Isis Wings, kick-lines, cartwheels, shimmys, boobs.... what more could anyone want?!

Rosie, Jek, Sarah and Kerri practising a lift! Eek!

Hollie in full CSI mode... kind of...

It's the first time we've put the whole thing together and we managed to have a stagger through of the actual show run a whole day before schedule which was ace.

In the evening, Antonia arrived to fit us with some of our costumes and I'm really excited about mine - my ice solo is a variation on one of my regular acts and I'm adapting it for ice, which is much easier said than done!

A nice end to an exhausting week - because the professional skaters in the show didn't have any pictures for the programme, the lovely Tigz Rice came along for a morning photoshoot on the ice

Pro-Girls on the ice - Hollie trying to hide!

We also had Joe Morose with us all day and we had a laughter-filled afternoon with him learning the rest of the finale choreography and working on our individual introductions... it's going to be hilarious! During our solos rehearsal a bit of my choreography changed to a slightly more impressive looking move, which is awesome, but terrifying, and I'm chuffed to bits with myself that I managed to do it at all!

Trixie Kixx also brought along Darcy, who definitely needs to be in the show - look how good she looks in skates!

Pooches on Ice?

Cuddles from Darcy

Once again I'm absolutely shattered and aching, but it's all good and the show will be amazing - now I'm off to pop crystals on a drag queen's dressing gown...

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Niche Blog

Exhausted after a lovely, but busy as hell week! We've been in intensive rehearsals for Burlesque On Ice, which has it's world premier in about two weeks! You can read all about the first week of rehearsals here...

Aside from immersing myself in skating and choreography rehearsals all week I've also had a couple of nice little shows: Friday at Proud Cabaret City, and Saturday at Proud Cabaret Brighton! I've never performed at the Brighton venue before and it was gorgeous!

Mirror Picture! Friday night with Taz Zebrowski, Mister Meredith, Missy Fatale and Michael Standen!


Some pictures by Lesley Taylor from Proud Cabaret, Brighton

Sunday has been a lovely day - meeting some friends for a cheeky afternoon beverage then having an impromptu date-night with the boy.

We're back into Burlesque On Ice rehearsals tomorrow so it's an early night and a good sleep for me now! Rock and Roll!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Burlesque On Ice Rehearsals - Week One!

So, the first week of Burlesque On Ice intensive rehearsals is over - and it lived up to expectations: intensive!!

I kept this diary during the week - and will be doing the same for the whole run of the rehearsals and show, so enjoy!

Bloody hell, I ache!! This morning Glorian Gray, Taz Zebrowski and I woke up at the crack of dawn to journey to the wild North... Archway, where the Burlesque On Ice team has relocated for the next couple of weeks. We arrived early in order to assist with the get-in of the synthetic ice, and had a productive morning drinking tea as multiple panels of what looked suspiciously like styrofoam were brought into the room.


Once everyone else arrived, we had a lesson with Alexei, the Russian ice coach who is a specialist in synthetic ice skating. And you know what... it's flippin' difficult! 

After about 45 minutes we had a break for coffee and biscuits, and Ruby Deshabille finally got her Secret Santa present (I ordered it online and it took aaaages to arrive!)

Ruby 'Cheshire Cat' Deshabille

Bonnie Fleur and I took the opportunity to pimp out one of our show sponsors as well - Burlesque On Ice is sponsored by Vivian of Holloway and we posed for a couple of pictures in some of their gorgeous dresses:

It's bloody difficult skating in a wiggle dress!

Finally home and aching, but have a glass of wine while waiting for the bath to run. Tired and happy!

Such a lovely day! I was lucky enough to join the gorgeous Gwendoline Lamour for a Burlesque lesson! Along with Ruby Deshabille, Trixie Kixx and Bonnie Fleur we took over a dance studio for the afternoon and went through four elements of classic burlesque striptease from Femme Fatale to cheeky Pin-Up; the aim was to introduce our Burlesque Virgin, Hollie Deller (who had pretty much *just* got off the worlds longest flight from America and come straight to the studio - bloody trooper!) about the different styles within classic striptease, and we had such fun mincing, strutting, shimmying and sashaying around the room.

It was such an honour to work with Gwen, who is a complete legend of the burlesque world as well as being the most brilliantly bonkers individual, and I learned so much from her in one afternoon.

Forgot to take any pictures so here's one of my favourite images of the gorgeous Gwendoline!

Back at the rehearsal room today with Hollie on the ice. We were re-blocking an existing routine to fit the show outline, and spent a couple of hours reworking the steps; fabulous fun especially as we we got to throw Joe Morose around and generally be a bit saucy!

I'm starting to ache now and can really feel the difference between normal ice and the plastic ice; it's much, much harder to get momentum and glide on the synthetic ice, and while I feel much more stable, it's more difficult to perform some of the moves that rely on gliding into them! Tell you what; by the end of this I'll be able to crack walnuts with my butt cheeks!

Oh - and guess what?! We got tube posters up too!! They'll be appearing at stations all across the tube network which is super exciting!

Burlesque On Ice tube posters!!

Another hard day, but a fun one nonetheless - Hollie choreographed and began setting the Finale act and it's going to be awesome!

It's starting to really hurt my feet: when I got home I felt like I was walking on stones - because the boots are such thick leather, feet heat up quicker and expand; add to that the heat on the blade from the friction caused by the synthetic ice, which doesn't cool the blade in the way that regular ice would do, and it contributes to very hot, achy feet!! However I wouldn't change it for the world, as much as I want to milk the sympathy from having achy footsies!

Oh - and there is a competition on the Burlesque On Ice Facebook page: can you take a bonkers picture in front of one of our tube posters? Prizes to be won!

Sarah Christou in front of our poster at Hammersmith!

We had Jasz Vegas back with us today!! We spent the day going over the choreography for the opening of Act Three and the Finale, and polishing and cleaning the whole thing - we've done so much in a week I'm amazed and the group routines are already looking fabulous!

Still achy but able to work through it now - I've not danced this much since I left college!

Oh: and Trixie Kixx brought along a new addition to the cast!!

Trixie and Darcey!

And that's that - in one week we have choreographed, learned, set and begun to clean the two big group routines in the show; it's super exciting to see everything coming together and I'm so proud to be part of such a wonderful group of people who are all working so hard to make this show amazing!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Showgirl Magic

Is this my first proper 'What I've Been Up To' blog of 2014? I think it might be... I mean I wrote about New Years Eve but that was half in last year and doesn't really count, and the Resolutions post was more about what I *intend* to be up to... can you tell I'm tired?

So, hello! Welcome to 2014 - how's it been for you so far? I'm exhausted already!

This week has been lovely, if a little hectic: on Sunday I worked with Zebrowski Photography to create a sexy little teaser video for 'Psyche'... (more on that later) and take some promo shots.

Teaser video for Psyche...

My favourite images from the shoot

On Monday I was in skating rehearsals, getting back to grips with the ice after the Christmas break! It was great fun to be back with the Burlesque On Ice girlies and we all went for a coffee and lunch mid-skate which was lovely.

Tuesday was a day of meetings and running errands before heading to Simon Drake's House of Magic for a late Christmas show. It was great to meet the fabulous Lolo Brow properly at last as she joined the family for the night, and the show was as wonderful as ever! It's brilliantly bonkers to be part of such a fantastic show and I love it!

Mirror Picture! With Lolo Brow, Stevie and Beulah Bell!

On Wednesday I was back in 'real life' work, and had a bit of a brain-frying day, but it was followed up by a few cheeky, apres-work drinkies with Emma, my manager, which made me feel much more normal before I had to dash off to meet Antonia Lynch, the insanely talented costume designer for Burlesque On Ice, to discuss my costumes for the show. I'm very over-excited about them and can't wait!

After a quick coffee and a chat I had to dash off once again to meet the gorgeous Bruise Violet who has made me the most amazing chiffon boa for 'Psyche' - it's like a candy-floss explosion! Simply gorgeous!

We only had time for a quick hug and for me to pick up the boa before I had to jet back across London as one of my favourite people, Lili La Scala, had invited me to watch Black Cat Cabaret at the opulent Grill Room - the show was incredible; the cast was phenomenal, including Lili herself, Dusty Limits, Vicky Butterfly and the sensational Lady Rizo. I felt like I had been whisked to Paris during the Belle Epoque in such beautiful surroundings and it was a perfect way to end a busy day.

The ceiling of the Grill Room

At the weekend I was excited and nervous: finally debuting my new act, 'Psyche' at Proud Cabaret, City. It's been in development for over a year, since I first had the idea to finally getting my act together (excuse the pun) and performing the damn thing so lots of nerves as a year or so's worth of work came together...


The act was inspired, in part, by the legendary Gypsy Rose Lee's signature routine 'Psychology of a Striptease Artist', in which she spoke to the audience about what was on her mind. I wanted to lift the lid on the glamour and seduction of burlesque and reveal what we actually think about while we're performing; contrasting the biggest cliches (over-the-top sparkly costume, the most obvious piece of music) with the mundane mind-wanderings of a performer who has done a routine so many times they can think about what to have for tea while seducing an audience...

Fortunately for my nerves, I performed alongside some wonderful people who were all very lovely about the fact that I lurched between petrified silence and verbal diarrhoea!

Mirror Picture! With Taz Zebrowski, Michael Standen, Betsy Rose and Joe Morose!

So that's that! The next few weeks are a whirlwind as we go into intensive rehearsals for Burlesque On Ice; and I can't wait!