Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coco Lectric, The 2010 Reigning Queen of Burlesque!

2010 New Orleans Burlesque Festival  -  Photo: Derek Jackson
 The 2010 New Orleans Burlesque Festival, as described to us in revealing, titillating detail by our pal, the fabulous photographer Derek Jackson, was the burlesque event of the year. The most exciting moment was when the luscious Miss Coco Lectric was crowned the 2010 Queen Of Burlesque. All hail the queen, we say!

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
BBB: When did you know it was your destiny to strut, shimmy, bat those gorgeous eyes and to take it off to music?

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
Coco: I started out dancing like most little girls do, in ballet, tap and jazz before grade school even started. I progressed to modern dance, pointe, and hip-hop. In my early adulthood, and I finally got some curves, I felt a stronger sense of identity with more colorful styles of dance that accentuated the female form like hula, belly dance and the Latin styles, so I trained in those.

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
Coco: I teach a variety of classes. I’ve taught dance classes to grown up ladies all manners of feeling good in their own skin. I currently teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced burlesque at Galaxy Dance School in Austin. They are very excited about being the home of the Austin Academy of Burlesque. I teach intensive workshops the first Sunday of every month at Lucila’s World Dance, which is quite an honor for me because she used to teach me belly dance and continues to mentor me in flamenco.

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!

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