Our dance star explodes across Europe
AMELIA McCarthy moved to the United Kingdom in 2016 to work as a professional contemporary dancer, but these days she is also known under another name.
The dancer who started dancing under Adele Lewis in Maclean now also performs as a professional burlesque across Europe as Aurora Nova.
Next week, she's coming home for a limited time and is keen to introduce locals to the unique art form.
After her arrival in the United Kingdom, Ms McCarthy suffered a severe ankle injury that prevented her from working in the industry for a few months, and decided to look into burlesque.
"I had known about burlesque for a while, as I knew other contemporary dancers who also worked as burlesque artists, so during the time I was injured I decided to do some burlesque classes to see what it was all about," she said.
"Not long after starting classes I decided to debut as a professional burlesque artist, and immediately after performing at my first burlesque show I was booked on the spot by a producer to perform at their burlesque show the next night."
Ms McCarthy said that burlesque was a misunderstood art form, and was much more than just feather boas and glitzy corsets.
The word 'burlesque' has existed since the 17th Century, derived from the Italian word 'burlesco', itself from 'burla' meaning joke or mockery. It described this type of theatre during the Victorian era, which was very popular in London, and the term 'burlesque' can be applied to literature, music and theatre. Like a pantomime, in which a musical theatre parodied a serious work, i.e. a Shakespeare play with the addition of music, songs and humorous verse, these burlesque shows (often risqué in nature) used comedy, wit and music to challenge the traditional way of looking at things.
Ms McCarthy said the burlesque of today had changed much since then and was a continually evolving art form with many different subgenres, but at its very core is still all about empowerment and creating art that excites or inspires.
Since her burlesque debut, Ms McCarthy has been in a whirlwind of international shows, European tours and headlining events performing as Aurora Nova, while also working as a contemporary dancer and teacher.
"There are many different reasons why I do burlesque, but the main one for me is that it allows me to have total creative freedom and I can create whatever my heart desires - if you can dream it, you can be it," Ms McCarthy said.
"Burlesque is a unique art form that is accepting of all movement styles and skills and accepting of all body types and abilities.
"There are no set rules or boundaries in burlesque, and you really can be whoever you want to be, and there will be people who support you."
Ms McCarthy said that while her "Burlesque 101" workshop taught the classic burlesque moves, glove peeling and the rich history of burlesque, it focused on developing confidence and having fun being whoever you want to be in a friendly and non-judgmental environment.
"Burlesque teaches us it's okay to own yourself, have a voice and be proud of your body and who you are," she said.
There are two workshops planned, the first at Revolucion Dance Studio on Monday February 24 from 7-8.30pm, and February 25 at Maclean Scottish Town Dance Centre from 6-7pm.
Cost is $25 for the Yamba workshop and $20 in Maclean.
Bookings are essential as there are limited places, and to book or get more information email email@example.com.