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Lady Blue Phoenix on Modernising Burlesque

The performer with a passion for diversifying the scene


When thinking of Burlesque, it can be easy to picture one image; the glove removing titillation that's flooded screens and stages for generations. However, if you look closer, there is a growing community of performers defying this stereotype and bringing it back to the satirical art of where it all began.


One of those performers is the mighty Lady Blue Phoenix. Having worked their way up through the industry for the past decade, Lady Blue Phoenix is intent on providing fellow Burlesque beauties with a fresh example to look up to. As a self-confessed rock head, Lady Blue Phoenix's performances reflect their love of grunge and freely explore topics that sink right to the core.



As they step into their tenth year of performing Burlesque, Lady Blue Phoenix is shaking up the game one more time by launching her own inclusive, culturally informative organisation - School of Anarchic. Through this project, LBP will be bringing workshop facilitation and mentorship to the performance community, as well as offering a supportive community for all, particularly those who have been historically marginalised within the industry. In this way, they are taking it back to the industry's satirical roots while contemporising the world of performance through inclusive and respectful awareness on and off stage. Read on and tune in to learn about how Lady Blue Phoenix's experiences shape their motivations and the mission behind the School of Anarchic.


 

A self-confessed rock head with a love of grunge, Lady Blue Phoenix tells us how they've built a reputation for being a "bit of a flashbang, a force of nature not to be reckoned with and a person who radiates happiness". These three definitions all reflect the inspiring rebellion and warm passion that Lady Blue Phoenix exudes. Having seen Lady Blue Phoenix in action a few years ago, it was clear how their approach to self-expression through creative sensuality was truly one of a kind. So when they told us they were launching their own School of Anarchic, we couldn't wait to hear more!"People forget that Burlesque can be gritty and raw, political and emotionally searing. What I want to do with the School of Anarchic is nurture that side of it....let's use Burlesque as it used to be - art of satire, the art of thoughtful and mindbending [ideas]!".



School of Anarchic is set to build a family so that people can feel part of a nurturing environment, sharing responsibility for progressive thought and building confidence. Lady Blue Phoenix tells us how they are prioritising those with all varying mental and physical abilities, as well as fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community to feel safe and supported in their professional growth. With a strong focus on educating on the importance of cultural respect, Lady Blue Phoenix tells us how, even tho they are prioritising those from racially diverse backgrounds, "The reason I'm not focusing just on the POC is because we need to come together as a community, and start strengthening our allyship, our circle, and this tightknit community."


We all need to be allies to each other as well as ourselves, as well as those of us who are misrepresented and ignored - we need to stand together.


Alongside tips and advice regarding performance etiquette, Lady Blue Phoenix also offers workshops on 'how to be a good ally' and 'how to grow in confidence' - touching on an array of topics from body image to discussing cultural appropriation in clear and supportive ways that move past ignorance and avoid cancel culture. "Noone wants to talk about [cultural appropriation], it's this big taboo subject but it's not taboo, it's common sense. We need to take these conversations on. because ignoring them is damaging the community." Lady Blue Phoenix sees it as a journey of sharing information, recognising when something makes people feel uncomfortable, and having the right tools to call it out appropriately.



Burlesque has been a mixed bag - it's been one of the best things to happen to me and it's also been one of the worst... because I got my confidence kicked in by a mentor. I had to reflect on myself and my body image


Despite the glowing confidence that Lady Blue Phoenix exudes today, they tell us how

it was a bumpy road to feeling less alienated as a performer and good in their body. This was due to a bad experience with a mentor who had a damaging impact on Lady Blue Phoenix's sense of self. They tell us how this took them through a moment of transformation, defining what self-expression looked like for them. "I don't see people like me who are plus-size POC performers. Burlesque has helped me actually learn to love myself as a person, love my body, it's helped me with my confidence and to become a more genuine me."



My plan is to fuck shit up - we need somebody who's willing to do this!


This journey to Lady Blue Phoenix feeling fully accepting of themself and liberating their self-expression is one that has had a huge impact on their own approach to life. They tell us how, from a young age they knew"what it's like to grow up in an environment where you cannot be you. Or when you try to be yourself you're ridiculed, bullied". Lady Blue Phoenix describes how "it shaped me in knowing how family isn't always the one you grow up with, it isn't always the normal terminology of blood. Sometimes you stick to that family and sometimes you let them go". This has shaped the way Lady Blue Phoenix approaches supporting others in life, always entering a space with a warm heart and smile whatever the mood of their moment. "I want to be that person that people can come to when they're having a hard time, that safe space, [knowing] that if you're gona come to my doorstep at 2 in the morning I won't kick you out to the cold".



Having grown up in America and dealing with racism in every place they've lived has informed Lady Blue Phoenix's advocacy for taking direct action. As they explain "We really need to start supporting each other, unifying...who are we to gatekeep who can come and perform" As a gender-fluid person, Lady Blue Phoenix is an advocate for bringing everyone onto the Burlesque stage and in doing so, helping each individual thrive as their own sassy self with guidance on how to do so with cultural respect.


Stop letting people manipulate you... we're not here to be the same, we're not here to look the same, we're here to be different and unique.


As we witness Lady Blue Phoenix step into their own and build School of Anarchic from a place of genuine, courageous care, our admiration for their work and intentions builds tenfold. The game-changing leadership Lady Blue Phoenix embodies is one for all to look up to and we can't wait to see the incredible performers who will grow as a result of Lady Blue Phoenix's mentorship.



Lady Blue Phoenix's Quickfire


When do you feel most confident?

When I'm in the bathtub



What key experience has shaped you positively?

Back in 2014, my partner suggested I let my hair be natural. I'd never had someone say that to me - it was such a positive experience.


One law you want to change or a cause that's close to your heart?

Be you - do what you want with your body. I'm tired of people don't have my organs, don't look like me, telling me how I should look.


One dream you wish to come true?

It would be really nice if we had equality. I'm the child of the 80s, after the civil rights movements which was going to take care of the hate in the world. Yet here we are, repeating it again. We need to wake up.


Best thing about being you?

Even on my bad days, I still smile.


Name your Sassy tracklist

Queen B - Puscifer (Versatile mix)

The Remedy - Puscifer

Set Fazers - Skindred

Unholy Papercut - Sam Smith & Kim Petras vs Linkin Park

Special - Lizzo, SZA



 


Be sure to check out Lady Blue Phoenix's work via their IG @lady.blue.phoenix or on FB - LadyBluePhoenixx


Interview by Bethany Burgoyne @bxsassy2

Portraits by The Sassy Studio

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