All the info and inspirations for for our festival workshops…
It was just about a week ago we got our workshops official and up and running, but the interest have been immense! We have had a little chat with or two workshop holders: Minnie Tonka from New York and Mr Pustra from England.
Minnie, you have been traveling over the world performing all kinds of burlesque, what inspires you and what form of burlesque is most “fun”?
Yes! I have been so blessed to perform all over the world. Our unique and diverse international burlesque community inspires me — I adore making new friends and connecting with people. In terms of my performances, music inspires me to create and choreograph. The majority of my burlesque acts are to 80’s music (my favorite musical decade). In fact, both of the acts I’m performing at SBF are to songs from the 80’s!
I strive to be open and share myself with the audience when I perform. Therefore, the form of burlesque that I find most “fun” to watch is when I can feel performers are being true to who they are. It doesn’t matter what kind of burlesque you do – classic or neo – if you are truly sharing your personality and your unique self with the audience, I’m most likely going to have fun. Or at least be engaged and approve of your performance. (I can be quite critical when it comes to burlesque!)
How long have you been teaching, is it different to teach in different countries?
Teaching inspires me immensely. Teaching gives me the opportunity connect with people in meaningful ways. I have been performing burlesque since 2004 and it took me until 2011 until I felt comfortable to teach. That year, I co-taught workshops with my national touring troupe, Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go. The workshop I’m teaching at SBF, Naughty-Knee Slapping Burlesque, I co-created with Lil’ Miss Lixx for the Show-Me Burlesque Festival 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Lixx and I only taught the class together once, but since then I’ve been teaching it all over the world from Dallas, Texas to Brisbane, Australia to Rome, Italy.
Yes, it is different to teach in different countries. For example, most of my Italian students didn’t speak English and they were interested in being sexy and sultry in their performances, whereas my Finnish students were fluent in English and most of them leaned toward comedic burlesque. Our culture and community definitely influences us in how we approach and understand burlesque.
What can your participants expect from your workshop?
Students can expect to have fun and be challenged! My goal is to have my students feel nurtured and given an opportunity to self-reflect about who they are as people and performers. We’re gonna laugh a lot too!
Last but not least, what are your expectations from SBF?
I am so thrilled to be a headliner of SBF 2013! It will be my first time in Sweden and I expect to get drunk off of Absolut Vodka while eating pickled herring and listening to The Final Countdown by Europe! Whoohoo!
Hi Mr Pustra, you will be holding your “Vaudeville Masterclass” at SBF, what can the participants look forward to?
This 2 hour Masterclass will cover a brief history of North American Vaudeville and other genres such as Burlesque and Sideshows – then the class will concentrate on “Character Development”. This class is a fun way to learn all about vintage Variety and where it all started: essential for any Variety/Cabaret/Burlesque performer at any level. We also will briefly cover make-up/styling/costumes and conclude with a Q&A with Mr Pustra who will share his wealth of information and experience.
You are a very skilled and versatile performer, where do you get your inspiration from?
I trained in Musical Theatre but wanted to be a Film Actor when i was younger – so cinema is the biggest source of inspiration for me and my work. The rest i had to teach myself.
And last- what expectation do you have of SBF?
I enjoyed my last trip to Stockholm so am very happy to be invited back. The audiences were wonderful and supportive which is always a plus for any performer.