Lula Hula, otherwise known as Martina Morati, likes to bring us a variety of flavors and this time she’s back with a spin on burlesque, or a hoop dance video inspired by the song “Welcome to Burlesque” from the film “Burlesque”. She takes the stage with her two backup dancers and everyone, including her audience, is in 1920’s burlesque cool in this stunning video that whisks us all back in time. She lives in Verona, Italy, and the soundtrack “Welcome To Burlesque” by Cher is available on iTunes.
Feast your eyes on this fabulously scrumptious show reel from Lila Margaux of Lila Chula-Hoops.com! A collage of her professional adventures over the past year, she’s teaching workshops, hoop dancing on festival stages, spinning burlesque teases and fire and LED hoop performances too. What? Is that a firework attached to her hoop in the end?! Don’t miss the exciting finale! Speaking of finales, Lila went all the way to the grand finale of Hooping Idol 2. She currently lives in Paris, France, and the soundtrack here is “All I Ask of You” by Skrillex, and you can get your copy of it over on iTunes.
Hooping.org’s very own Katie Sunshine of Katie Sunshine Hoops is back with another fantastic video, this time with a burlesque twist! She’s “calling this routine “Burlesque-esque” because it’s not quite true burlesque, but was definitely inspired by it.” Katie spins up some new moves with her favorite day hoops and throws in her LED hoop for a little variety too. She lives in Conway, Arkansas, USA, and the soundtrack for this is called “Get a Move On” by Mr. Scruff, which can be downloaded for your own music collection over on iTunes.
NSFW: Parental Advisory Warning: You won’t be able to forget Miss Dee Dee Perks dressed up like Nintendo’s Bowser, complete with an LED hula hoop shell. For her latest Peepshow Menagerie’s “Super Burlesque Galaxy” show she breaks out from behind a makeshift castle wall, and unleashing both her LED hoops she shakes what she’s got and shares her hooping talents – including splendid foot hooping that sure is on point! She eventually strips down to pasties, but we couldn’t not share this with you because we’re so in love with her performance. Dee Dee lives in Los Angeles, California, USA, and the soundtrack is a combination of music from Nintendo games and “Bossy (Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix)” by Kelis which is available for you to download on Soundcloud.
Burlesque! With a resurgence of interest in the variety show format, burlesque has returned to the stage, and many hoopers are among the smitten kittens. It’s an approachable and engaging artform that is comedic, elegant, sensual, narrative, and playful. Some acts are social commentary, some are parody, and there are, of course, plenty of beautifully bawdy moments. Wildly entertaining for those who make up the audience, it’s a flexible and fun performance art for those interested in taking the stage as well. In fact, several hooping burlesque performers took time out recently to share a little with us about their start, what keeps them coming back to burlesque, and epiphanies they’ve had about performing and their craft.
”I saw my first Burlesque show during a trip to Italy. I thought ‘I would love to do this with my hula hoop’,” Lila Chupa-Hoops of Paris, France, explained. She picked up a hoop for the first time in 2010 and hoop tease was her first ever performance. She said, “I guess I was so worried about my not so great flow and tricks that adding a bit of sexiness would please the audience more than the hooping.” Her rockabilly act is a spirited and giddy reflection of the 1950s and her energy throughout and her playful stocking removal are sure to charm any audience.
Lila told me, “My idol was Valentina (Unity) Martin. I watched her videos as an inspiration. I love to choreograph my routines too, so hooptease was a good way to build a coherent routine for me. Also, it requires a lot of focusing because it’s really hard to actually ‘do something else’ while hooping! I mostly do burlesque in little cabaret shows, more for the fun of it and the incredible moments we have with the other dancers. The audience can be so cheerful! I have my hooptease signature moves, but I also do a normal routine – always with a bit of a story. Because Burlesque is not just about the striptease, it can be also comedy or circus acts, depicting social situations, characters, clichés. For example, I’ve played the kitty, the air hostess, the Indian goddess, the pin up girl, Hell Girl the super hero, and a Lollipop.”
Anna the Hulagan’s fire hoop burlesque act “The Phoenix” is an award-winning spectacle of flames, feathers, and sensuality that is both hypnotic and tantalizing. A hooper since 2005 based in London, England, UK, Anna too shares in the joy of performing burlesque hoop style. She stated, “Ironically, I find performing in front of hoopers the hardest challenge of all! I think its because I know that a hooping audience knows exactly what is involved in a trick and are judging, or maybe assessing the more finite details, rather than the show as a whole.” She later add, “On the other hand, the general public, who have paid to see you, are more inclined to enjoy the art of being entertained and are there to see the performance, not the hoop tricks!”
Where does she find hooping inspiration? Anna said, “My favourite hooper to watch is the hoop dancer who is just having a lot of fun, and can really style-out the most basic move and make it their own – that’s what I love about hooping. It is so individual. I am slightly envious of the hooper who has the dedication to learn trick after trick after trick, but I know that that is not the element that I love most about hooping, but I know it is what a lot of the community like in regards to seeing their own progression etc. The thing about tricks is that the general public generally doesn’t know what they’re watching, they could see me do the most complex move and barely notice, but when I strut around with the hoop on one finger, they go wild!”
Is she comfortable with the sexy side of burlesque? Anna told me, “It’s a seduction. I don’t think I’m seductive in every-day life, but on stage, that audience is mine to seduce and please and entertain. If I don’t think about them, then the show will be rubbish. Its all about the crowd, so yes, I am comfortable, I have to be, otherwise the audience won’t be.”
While most of us have found community inside the hoop, Harlow Lestrange has found it in burlesque as well. “Being a part of this burlesque and cabaret community has been so rewarding. The people are all lovely and kind of insane and I’ve learned so much over the past five years. I’ve performed in jazz bars, tiny cafes, huge stages in front of thousands of people, strip clubs, people’s living rooms and alongside some of the most talented people I’ve ever met.” From Blenheim, New Zealand, a small town in the South Island mostly populated by vineyards, Harlow began hooping in 2009 and the video above was captured at New Zealand’s first Hoopfest, early in her hoop burlesque journey, though it shows her playfulness, timing, and sense of musicality.
“My first burlesque hoop act was in Christchurch after I finished my course. Instead of using the stage we cleared the back of the room so I could have more ceiling space. I used my LED hoop and it was my first attempt stripping whilst hooping in front of people and it was HARD. I was wearing nude dance tights and they were so slippery! Never again will I wear dance tights when hooping, but that being said it went really well and I was buzzing. Afterwards I got asked to join the troupe, which I accepted eagerly.”
Has her burlesque evolved along with her hooping? “I’ve explored my character and shaped her into something I can be proud of and I’ve learned all about what it takes to put on a show, which saw me moving into producing my own events in 2011. Not only that, but I’ve become a lot more self-confident, and an all round general admirer of bodies. The things we can do with our bodies– no matter the shape or the size, whether you have coordination or lack it– we can entertain, dance, wiggle, shake, shimmy, hula hoop with our bodies. Make people laugh, or gasp or smile with our bodies, and we can make our bodies sparkle and shine with costumes made by our own hands. That is one of the most important things I’ve learned doing burlesque and hoop.”
Burlesque isn’t all about the sexiness either. Lindsey Savage, otherwise known as Neon Emu of Austin, Texas, USA, began hooping in late 2007 and for Viva Dallas Burlesque she was hired to do a series of sideshow hoop acts, as you can see in the video. She said, “At a burlesque show, they’re expecting sexy, tease, silly, slapstick sometimes. Burlesque shows are a delightful mix of all of those things, they’re a celebration of sexuality in all of it’s forms. Some acts are purely sexual (classy, but some just naaasty!) While some acts are peppered in to be silly, funny, and kind of break the ice. The best burlesque shows are programmed with a nice even serving of all of the above. That’s where I came in, I was a sideshow type act in between the burlesque acts. I tailored my act musically to match the show, and worked in a little sex appeal to my act as well, but I never took a bit of clothing off. It’s all in how you work it.”
She too has found the joy of performing for burlesque audiences. “I’ve been performing for a long time, so I guess it’s kind of ingrained into my performer persona. Don’t get me wrong, I am just as nervous and filled with butterflies as anyone else before my shows and I always have been, but something melts away the second I get my first reaction from the crowd. I feed off of the positive energy that I am given and they only inspire me to do better and be a better performer for them. Nothing is as contagious as happiness and when it’s an entire crowd’s happiness aimed right at you, it’s a very powerful, moving experience. There is absolutely nothing like it and I love it!”
Candy Pie, otherwise known as Hoopin’ Annie of World Hoop Day, loves it too and while some may find burlesque intimidating, Annie too has found it liberating. Known in the burlesque world as Candy Pie and a hooper for most of her life, Annie got her start in burlesque in 2005, and now is a founder, producer, and performer at the Bubbles on Fire Burlesque & Variety Show. “Burlesque completely evolved my confidence 1000 fold, by making me extraordinarily body confident in my curves and my cuddly warm body and ample physique. Taking off clothes in public, on the stage, is very liberating and less inhibiting than plain old performing for me because it puts my body out there and this leads to everything I seek in the way of self-confidence, gratification and the fans just adoring my body in its lovely shape. No matter what the media says is perfect, my peers and fans show me that I have the perfect body as long as I have the confidence to show it off.”
How does she feel merging hooping and burlesque? She stated, “The crowds perceive both art forms differently, yet appreciatively. The audience for burlesque are more sexual, so to speak, and the hoopers are more sensual – and when both are combined, it becomes a whirl wind of awesome!” Yes, when you combine all the theatrical elements of burlesque and add hoops, you do have a performance with the potential to be brilliant and wildly satisfying. The magical combination opens up opportunities for the performer to create a character, and share a story while showcasing some hoop skills along the way. So whether it is a flowing and sensual hoop dance, a fiery hoop striptease, or a rollicking circus style hoop comedy, there is a story for your character to tell and the burlesque world is looking forward to hearing all about it.
Contributor Jenny Hill is a poet, arts educator, hoop instructor, performer, and encourager at Acts of Jennius. She is editor and book designer for Paper Kite Press, an independent press for poetry. For 38 years of her life, she lived within the safe confines of her head, and then the hoop found her. If you leave your backyard unattended, she might just start a Hoop(oetry) circus there. She lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. She’s also on Facebook.
Can you say burlesque? Honey Hoopsy, also known as Camille St Martin, uses her hula hoop to seduce her viewers and spin up some fun. Getting her hoop on in a variety of settings and in an array of snazzy costumes, this seductress of spin even uses a hoop to kick her shoes off. Video by Snowman Films. She lives in Crested Butte, Colorado, USA, and the soundtrack for this is “Andrew’s Break” by Algorythmik which can be downloaded on iTunes.
What do you get when you bring together unicorns, hula hoops and the theme from the movie Xanadu? Something pretty ridiculous, of course, and something we simply had to share with you. How could we not? For the Fleur de Tease Burlesque Reviews “Mythical Creatures” themed show, The Mystic Pony Aerial Troupe stayed on the ground to perform their hula hoop tribute to Xanadu as unicorns. This was filmed by Scott Edwards at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, and the soundtrack is, of course, “Xanadu” by Olivia Newton-John and you can get it for yourself on iTunes.