You’d be hard pressed to find any lover of dance not familiar with the talented folk at Lady Velvet Cabaret. More than just one of Perth’s most reputable dance companies – they’ve taken over stages, festivals and competitions across the country and are an intrinsic part of the thriving cabaret, burlesque and dance community here in Perth. We were lucky enough to chat with the award-winning Director, Stella Hui – you may know her as Vita Flame (pictured below) – about all things dance in the lead-up to their event Espionage & Decolletage this Sunday – a guaranteed night of jaw-dropping, eye-popping fun.
Tell us the origin story of Lady Velvet Cabaret. How did it all begin?
Each of us came from very different dance backgrounds (one was a Prima Ballerina, the other was a Brazilian Samba specialist, and I had the full dance school upbringing).
We wanted to start something that incorporated our diverse training and experience, so that we can add our own unique skills into performances, and create shows that were more entertaining for our audience. So came the birth of Lady Velvet Cabaret!
Lady Velvet Cabaret is about more than just cabaret – tell us about the other dance genres and performance mediums you explore and incorporate.
We love incorporating all different styles of dance and performance to our shows. We are all about entertaining the audience and bringing the stage to life with diverse, unique and exciting concepts.
We have no limits in what we include in our shows (venue-permitting of course!)
Anything that we know will make our audiences have a great time, we include – burlesque, musical theatre, jazz dance, comedy, bellydance, samba, singing, tap, fire twirling, acrobatics, hula-hooping, poi-spinning.
We also run classes in a variety of dance and performing arts genres, so our students also get to share their talents on stage.
Every performance showcases a complete visual, aural and at times tactile experience. How do you determine the costuming, props and set when building a performance? Does it come together organically when working on a routine, or do you begin with a vision?
I’m very lucky to have a team of truly creative, passionate and talented performers who have endless ideas for our shows. They LOVE what they do and it shows in everything, from their choreography and costumes, down to their props and makeup.
We usually come up with a theme orconcept for a show first and, as soon as we let our performers know, their (many) ideas start rolling in.
The theme helps our performers to set a vision, but for many of our seasoned performers, it happens organically. Many of them already have acts they’ve planned for months (or even years!) and are dying to do, or have new skills or costumes they’ve been working on and want to incorporate.
We’re always amazed at not only the talent, but sense of confidence and empowerment the Lady Velvet Cabaret performers bring to the stage. What role do you feel attitude plays in cabaret and burlesque performance?
Thank you! 🙂
Burlesque is the symbol of empowerment and confidence. It’s about embracing the stage, being proud of who you are and bringing to life your inner showgirl.
For a lot of our performers, their persona on stage is just a louder, bigger and sparklier version of their real-life selves!
In an intimate setting like a cabaret or burlesque show, even a little bit of self doubt will be picked up by the audience. They often feed off the energy and persona that a performer brings to the stage, so their attitudes and level of confidence can really make or break a performance.
Luckily, our audiences have always been respectful, supportive and enthusiastic. Our students often go on stage a bundle of nerves, and come off more confident than ever!
How do you feel about the cabaret and burlesque community in Perth?
It’s exciting to see how far it has come and how much the community has grown!
Eight years ago, half of our audience wouldn’t know even know what burlesque or cabaret was.
What can we expect to see at Espionage & Decolletage on Sunday night?
We have an awesome line up for Sunday, with burlesque, singers, dancers, acrobats, comedy and games and prizes. Not only are our talented LVC artists going to be revealing some brand new acts, but they’ll be joined by special guest performers, as well as our wonderful students, who have been working seriously hard for this show.
We also have some of the contestants from this year’s Miss Burlesque WA who will be holding a charity bake sale to raise funds for Zonta House, as well as performing.
Lady Velvet Cabaret runs dances classes, entertainment services and a constant flow of special events. Where can people head if they’re keen to join in on the fun?
Photos courtesy of Lady Velvet Cabaret