22 April 2024

Don your most glamorous PJs for a world record attempt from the comfort of home

| Zoe Cartwright
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woman holding a tiara

Burlesque teacher and performer Mae de la Rue with the Golden Legend Champion Challenge crown. Photo: Cam Attree.

What’s a girl to do after an earth-shattering break-up?

For Mae de la Rue, the answer was burlesque.

Since her first foray into the provocative performance art as an audience member, Mae has gone on to become a celebrated performer and teacher.

In 2018, she took on the Muse School of Burlesque in Wollongong and Loftus, and this week the school will be part of a world record attempt for World Burlesque Day.

She’s encouraging as many people as possible to take part in an online class to learn a dance at 4 am on Monday, 22 April – think “glamour PJs”.

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The class will feature performers and students from around the world, with a half-hour networking opportunity, and a few words from the son of famed US burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee.

Gypsy Rose was known for emphasising the “tease” in striptease – something Mae said was a crucial part of the art.

“It’s all about creating anticipation,” she said.

“The costume, music, the character you create – you take the audience on a journey with you, want them to invest in your performance on this very artistic journey to the end, which is usually some kind of shiny, sparkly reveal.

“When I first started, I just liked it as an outlet.

“I had done life drawing and musical theatre before, but what I’ve learnt teaching and performing is the power of burlesque is that people can recognise themselves on stage.

“There are all different sizes and types of bodies, all ages, people of all abilities, women, men, trans and non-binary performers.

“People in a wheelchair can do burlesque. Whoever you are, you can go to a show and recognise an element of yourself in the people performing.”

First-timers are encouraged to take part in the record attempt.

Mae said participants should expect plenty of fun, giggling and a dance routine.

For those who are a little shy – or not a fan of early starts – there are classes on World Burlesque Day, Friday, 26 April, and Saturday, 27 April, with Wollongong’s own Hot n Fresh Burlesque returning to The Vault in Port Kembla with its special World Burlesque Day show featuring interstate multi-award-winning performers Autumn Daze (WA), Letitia Stitch (SA), Indigenous Newcastle performer Vudu Doll and Sydney’s Demon Derriere.

The show will also include performances from Muse School of Burlesque students.

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“It’s very much a safe space for women to both express and explore their sexuality,” Mae said.

“We make a lot of really dumb jokes, lots of innuendoes, and you can laugh together and that doesn’t happen in many places.

“You can break out of the box of all the rules around what it means to be a ‘nice girl’ and for a lot of women, that is very freeing.”

“The goal is for 1000 people from around the world to take part in the dance class for the world record attempt, but really we just want to raise some awareness and encourage people to bring a little bit of burlesque into their life.”

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