|2010 New Orleans Burlesque Festival - Photo: Derek Jackson|
Even before the advent of her queenly duties, Coco had quite a full itinerary as a performer. Fortunately she made time to visit Body By Burlesque to talk about her life and career.
Body By Burlesque: Congratulations, Queen Coco Lectric, and welcome to Body By Burlesque. Do you recall the very first time you saw a burlesque performance, and your reaction to it?
Coco Lectric: To be honest I do not remember the very first time I saw a burlesque performance. I’ve always been intrigued by cabaret dancing in old movies. I recall the song and dance numbers in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and the Hot Box Girls in Guys and Dolls very well. That is most likely where I saw my first cabaret style performances. Now that you mention it, I really do wish I knew exactly where I saw my first burlesque performance. I’m sure it shaped me somehow.
|Photo: Naked Lens|
Coco: I’ve never had a moment of revelation when it comes to burlesque. I recognize the moment I felt comfortable in my own skin; it was a few shows into performing with the Jigglewatts, a troupe I co-founded with Ruby Joule. When I recognized that costume peels and reveals empowered the women in the audience I felt a strong sense of duty to continue with burlesque. I’ve always been a very sensual person and I find that I can combine my comfort with sensuality with my love of dancing, singing and acting, arts I’ve trained in my whole life.
BBB: Tell us about your dance training and experience, and how they shaped your signature style?
|Photo: Ben Britt|
I do feel, however, that my extensive go-go experience in Austin contributed the most to my comfort in burlesque. I go-goed in some of the most well-know dance clubs in Austin and pretty girls were a dime a dozen.
I learned how to excel in statuesque poses by working in the shadow box and how to capture people’s attention from across the room by engaging in eye-contact and really showing my dance skills when appropriate. Go-go was my boot camp into incorporating dance and audience engagement while sharpening my improvisational skills.
BBB: We would love to know about the classes you teach.
|Photo: Digicisco Photography|
BBB: Who designs your stunning costumes? What do you choose first - the music or the costume - when choreographing a new show?
Coco: I design all of my costumes. Black Mariah of Fastenating Things, Dallas, and Jennifer Gonzales of Jupiter Moon Corsets, San Antonio, have been a great help to me in making my designs become a reality. I usually come up with the concept of a number before I even attempt to search for music or costumes. Occasionally, I’ll hear a great song that just does it for me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always read well on stage…soul music and R&B tends to really get me…it's just not always the best choice for burlesque.
BBB: Coco darling, your fans know you are also a fabulous professional singer. Do you blend your vocal skills with burlesque performances?
Coco: Oh, I do! I don’t generally perform vocally when I do festivals, but I just love combining striptease and serenade. Austinites get to hear me sing quite often in our home shows at the ND, and I recently sang in Minneapolis with Lili’s Burlesque and in Denver with BurlyCute Burlesque. I’d love to do more of it, but I’m not sure about competing with a vocal number, which is where a great many shows gain popularity. I tend to do songs that are more sultry than a representation of my vocal talents. The goal is still to tease, tantalize and inspire.
BBB: Imagine that you could travel back in time to meet one of the original burlesque stars. Who, pray tell, would it be?
|Hey Pony! HotRods & Heels|
Dallas - Photo: Naked Lens
Coco: There are so many I’d love to meet. I’d love to meet Bettie Page of course, her joy and effortlessness has done so much for me and my performances. But I feel so close to her that I have no great desire to meet her. I would really like to meet Lili St. Cyr though. She seems to have a passion for dance and a general intensity that matches my own. We’d either get along great or keep a great distance. Either way, it would be nice to find out.
BBB: It's been wonderful to have you here, please visit again.
Coco: Thanks so much! Any time!
BBB: For Booking and Fan Information, visit the regal website of Coco Lectric, the reigning Queen of Burlesque!