Part 1950s bombshell, part 1980s hair-rock groupie... She's the platinum blonde with the itty bitty waist and the huge personality! We all know and adore Miss Domino De Jour as one of our amazing burlesque teachers at Maison Burlesque, but we thought we'd get to know her a little better!
How did you come into the burlesque world?
I had been a dancer all my life, & after taking a break for some personal stuff from a long stint as a competitive ballroom dancer I was looking for something to ease myself back into dancing. I had seen burlesque years before and to be quite honest I had mixed feelings on it... I liked all things vintage but really enjoyed the grit of modern day stripping over some of the ‘tamer’ classic burlesque I had seen. The two performers who stood out for me were Imogen Kelly and Gypsy Wood... I don’t think I would have given it a try if I hadn’t seen them. Anyhow, I started classes at a now closed school and very quickly decided that I was not one for group routines and I wanted to be a solo performer. I started taking private lessons with some local performers I knew and developed my first solo acts! I saw more and more burlesque and did lots of research. The more I delved the more I realised how interconnected it was with things I loved and that it wasn't all eBay corsets and tiny hats after all ;)
How would you describe your performing style? Has it evolved over time?
Fearless, unapologetic, gritty, energetic, or as my tagline says .. “ one hell of a hangover”. I have always had a fairly energetic, cheeky style in both classic and neo routines, but to be honest it's in the last 18 months that I’ve really started to be happy with the acts I’m creating and feel they are matching my personality both on and off stage. These days even my classic acts have become a lot grittier and the sense of reckless abandon is carried though. I have a lot more things using dirty 80s rock again! I think that we all evolve as performers as we learn more and it’s a constant shift, currently I’m reworking one of my first neo routines as I really love the music and want to make it a stronger act as it’s so much fun to perform.
What's the funniest things that has ever happened to you during a performance or in class?
Hmm my most of my classes are pretty funny, I don’t really have a filter and tell it like it is a lot which makes for some great moments... Also, I accidentally whacked a student in the face last week demonstrating floor work, that was hilarious. ( Note: SHE IS FINE )
How did you decide upon your burlesque/performer name?
Domino is the only Bond girl name to be used twice , and De Jour is because I love Billie Piper in Secret Diary of Call Girl and her characters name is ‘ Belle de Jour”. Finding a Bond related name was more important to me... For a while I was almost going to be Martha Moneypenny due to my other main love Martha Stewart, but I’m very happy I went with Domino!
What advice do you have for someone wanting to start burlesque?
Draw your inspiration from everywhere! Everything has a purpose and can inspire you. I speak a lot about terrible 90s comedies in my workshops because there are so many influences I get from everywhere and the theatrical techniques (yes there’s technique in Happy Gilmore) are really easily translated to stage for burlesque. Also when you are creating a solo routine, whatever your idea is , simplify it by at least 70 percent! It's a trap that even I still fall into. Making routines overly complicated is main thing I notice about new performers, you shouldn’t need a million props or to explain your routine with a prologue. Taking stuff back to basics makes you a better performer in the long run.
Describe your average Saturday night?
I'm usually working! But sometimes after work you can find me at some rock n roll dive bar flipping my hair in front of any glam metal boy I can find until sometime on Sunday morning... And always wearing something that would make Kelly Bundy proud! Or sometimes I go to the gym and stay at home.
Image by Nadia De Sensi
Tell us a bit more about your non-performer self!
Monday to Friday I spend most of my time at my day job, or at the gym. I focus highly on my fitness and diet throughout the week so I can have fun on the weekend. Most of my routines are fairly physical... and you can’t tassel twirl for 2 mins straight if you don’t do some cardio once in a while. If I’m not lifting weights I’m at home with my two dogs cooking something delicious, I’m a bit of a foodie and really into American BBQ.
Have you faced any challenges in starting burlesque or developing your burlesque career?
I started when there was a handful of newbies, I was really fortunate that Burlesque Bar had its Debut Darlings night for newcomers and for the first year or so there was quite a few opportunities for non-established performers. I think the biggest challenge for me has always been getting shows after that. I’m not a hustler by nature, I’m way too laid back and am terrible at approaching people for gigs. I don’t want to be seen as pushy or rude and I know that’s my downfall sometimes. Putting yourself out there is hard!
Tell us a bit about your classes?
Rock, Sweat & Rears... It's fitness, burlesque and trashy 80s and 90s rock all rolled into one! Cali-floornication is a fitness based class that focuses on floorwork technique... it burns... Being able to teach burlesque to music that I love listening to as well as adding a high fitness element just makes my week. I won’t lie, I do get a lot of joy out of seeing my students almost collapse after multiple sets of squats and stripper push-ups but we are building strength of body and mind...
By the end of the 8 weeks I have a class of fearless women who really get out there and are unstoppable rock and roll goddesses on stage. That’s the end goal, having students come off stage and feel energised and like they want to get back up there and do it again, and if people can take even 10% back into their day to day life then I’ve done my job!
Domino will be teaching the following classes in Term 1:
Thursday 6.15pm: Burlesque Fun-damentals (Beginners)
Thursday 7.30pm: Cali-floor-nication (TECH - All Levels)
Thursday 8.45pm: Rock, Sweat & Rears (All Levels)
To view the Term 1 timetable and enrol for classes head to www.maisonburlesque.com.au/class-enrolments