Miss Burlesque WA 2019 | Dee Dee Luscious
The opening oboe soars, a soft sylph-like beauty in a bell tutu delicately pads out under the lilac lights – ahhh the sweet sounds of the ballet to the chimeric mastery of none other than the Russian great – Pyotr Ilyich Tschaikovsky and the romantic force that is Swan Lake. The spotlight raises – I’m ready to be dazzled but instead the light begins to dart across the stage faster than my eyes can catch them and faster than the dancer in those ballet flats can chase them… but alas – they are not quick enough. Laughter ensues from the bellies of the audience and the ballerina finally catches the edge of the light. In a display of gentle gesture and revery the ballerina takes centerstage for a bow, and then another and another before her eyes widen and she gives a firm finger to the tech desk. But the show has just begun – what happens next in this scene? Well the Astor Theatre stage is set to soar with a grand jete and a triple-barrel jump of burlesque, ballet and the pure comedy stylings of Perth’s newly crowned Dee Dee Luscious!
Miss Alyssa Kitt caught up with Dee Dee to chat about what might happen if Swan Lake, Monty Python and Dee Dee had a baby.
Head already clad in the Miss Burlesque WA crown for 2019, tell me, how did it feel when that crown was placed on your head?
It felt incredibly surreal! It kept falling off my head. Each time it was placed back all I could feel was amazement. My smile could not have been wider. I’m glad I had my teeth cleaned earlier that week.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is your second time competing for the Miss Burlesque WA State title. What made you want to enter the competition for 2019?
Yes, I’d entered 2 years ago when we had the WA state semi-final in Fremantle. I entered this year with the encouragement of others. Early in the year I had other members of the burlesque community approach me and tell me I was ready to give it another try. I’d second guessed with my wedding around the same time of year but figured why not.
Did you think you’d be wearing that crown at the end of the night when you started your competition preparation?
Not at all. I thought I had a small chance but I knew the calibre of performers I would be sharing that stage with and knew it would be a tough competition. I admire each of the other competitors and what they bring to this art form. Without some of them and the inspiration they provide me, I know I wouldn’t be where I am at today in my burlesque career.
What nerves/ doubts did you face going through your competition preparation for the WA State Finals? How did you prepare for the competition for 2019? What did you game plan look like?
One of my biggest doubts was creating a costume from scratch. Would it work? Was I capable of designing a cohesive costume? Was it really expressing the era I had based it on? I’ve sewn in the past but this was at another level for me and I felt beyond satisfied with result. Mentally, I prepared myself by doing the research and looking for reasons to do what I was doing. Keep in mind the vision was continuously evolving and changing the more I learnt. By feeling confident in what I was presenting I felt confident performing it. I’d prepared physically by committing to my dancing too. I’ve had a love for dancing since I was three and I’m back to tap, jazz and ballet a few times a week in the studio I grew up in.
Your Red Carpet Parade was described as “Bath Time Beauty”. Tell me, how did this reflect your character?
My Red Carpet was a homage to my first ever performance back in 2015 when I debuted with my ‘Rubber Duckie’ routine. I have grown sooo much since then and have elevated further than I thought I would by this time. I wanted this dress to represent that. It’s still fun and comical like me but with a sense of growth in the form of a glamorous gown. Plus who doesn’t want a crystal duck head dress?
Your traditional routine was a tribute to Music hall burlesque. Tell me what drew you to the music halls?
I wanted something really different for my traditional. I wondered just how far back I could go. Music hall burlesque was something I hadn’t really seen a lot of but heard of. What is burlesque? It’s different for everyone. To me it’s a piece of work which aims to parody through exaggeration and comic mockery. My original traditional concept really evolved to what I performed on the night. I chose to mock the high society of the later Victorian times through parody and use of larger than required props. If what I’m saying doesn’t make sense just come to the Grand Final on the 24th August!
How did you research for this routine?
I reached out to a few members of the Perth Burlesque community as I wasn’t very familiar with this particular era of burlesque. I struggled for a short time to find what I was looking for. I had sessions with Dollar Dazzler and Sugar Du Joure for both historic knowledge and performance advice. They really steered me into the right direction giving me clarity and confidence in what I was going to present.
You performed a Swan Lake comedy act for your unique. Describe the act to me.
Think if Swan Lake, Monty Python and Dee Dee had a baby. That’s Swan Lakesque. As soon as you think you know what’s going on you realise you’re mistaken. This is an act that keeps giving laughter and stomach cramps right until I’m dragged off the stage. Nothing is what you’d expect. It’s definitely one of my favourites to perform.
What made Swan Lake-esque unique? What made it different in the world of burlesque?
I think the use of narrative in this act really makes it unique. There are a few narratives in this one act but the audience can easily follow them all. It elevates scene by scene which keeps the audience on the edge of their seat wondering what could possibly happen next. The removal of garments happens in such a short amount of time in the final scene, you might forget this was a burlesque act until that point.
Did you have a favourite section?
Unique is definitely my favourite section. I love seeing what people come up with. The possibilities are endless. Everyone has their own identities and this section gives us the freedom to really express all of who we are.
How did you represent the different facets of Dee Dee?
The red carpet parade let me show my glamorous and reflective sides by taking where I had come from and elevating it to a new level. Traditional was an opportunity to try new things and branch into a different style of burlesque that I am used too. This showed my curiosity. Through the unique section my comedy and dramatic sides were let loose.
How are you going to prepare for the Grand Final?
Honestly, I’m going to relax and enjoy the ride. I’ll keep up with my dance classes and rehearse my routines. I’ll be arriving home from my honeymoon about six days prior to the big night. I’m so proud and happy of what I have achieved so it’s a win win for me whatever the outcome.
Did you enjoy your MBA Journey in the State Finals?
Enjoy is perhaps not the word I’d use. Rewarding and satisfying seem more appropriate to me. With anything that means a lot to you, hard work and tired nights are naturally apart of it. As this is my second time, I was more mentally prepared for the journey. It comes with stress and doubt but we are human and are so passionate about what we do I wouldn’t expect anything less. I’m more than proud of what I accomplished and I’m honoured to represent WA at the final. It was all definitely worth it.
What did you love about the competition?
The camaraderie and support of the entire burlesque community is unbelievable. Backstage on the night was so positive. Checking in with each other, lending brushes, pins, zipping up dresses, sharing words of encouragement are a only a few examples. Getting to know so many and making connections in the same industry is invaluable. I’d definitely recommend applying. Commit to giving it 100%, ask questions, be prepared, ask for help if you need it and you’ll come out on top, crown or not.
Outside of just bloody winning Miss Burlesque WA, what have some of your other career highlights been?
Last year I was proud to have won Burlesque Idol Perth and competed in NSW for the grand final. This year I was also crowned the International Cabaret Royalty winner at Perth Fringe World Festival. I’m also so thrilled to have been accepted into the Australian Burlesque Festival in Melbourne later this year. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s the first time being a part of what I hope will be many burlesque festivals to come.
What’s your overall style of burlesque – where’s your comfy place on stage?
Make em laugh, make em laugh! I just want to make people smile. Comedic timing, funny faces, parodies and clowning about is my comfy place. In saying that I want to branch out soon. There may be a side of me you never thought you’d see in the near future. Stay tuned!
Stay tuned we will. We look forward to seeing Dee Dee Luscious take centrestage for one grand jete at the Grand Final!