Friday, May 2, 2008

The Candy Gram: Amelie Soleil

In our ongoing Q&A series --"The Candy Gram"-- we ask the same quirky questions of burlesque's various performers. If you want to be added to the mix, drop us a line at kellydinardo AT gmail DOT com. Today, say hello to Amelie Soleil.

What is your hometown?
Newcastle, UK

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
I began theater at 12 and had danced from a young age. When I was older I became obsessed with vaudeville which led to a career in circus for five years. Sadly, I suffer from involuntary clown syndrome so am far too clumsy! After several injuries I didn't perform aerial for about a year. During this time, I read up on 1920s American circus and became interested in burlesque and made my debut a few months later. I'm not crafty and have always been a tomboy but now, well, I recently bought a kit to bedazzle everything I own and the house is covered in glitter!

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
Surprisingly few. I have one heart shaped pair made by Adora Belle that have been everywhere with me. Plus several act specific pairs and a few comedy pairs. I think every dancer owns at least one makeshift pair, I've resorted to cocktail parasols before.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
Seven Nation Army cover by Nostaliga 77, a really strong song that lends itself so well to fan dancing. I love to perform aerial to non-canon music such as Imogen Heap's Old Piano. My partner in Frayed Knot, Edd Muir and I are currently choreographing to Gopher Mambo by Y Sumac which has been a longtime project for us. It's just an amazing song and perfect for acrobatics.

I have a terrible habit of shrieking "Shh!" then stopping dead in public places to listen to piped music, pull out my notebook and then spend the next hour in a daydream about a possible act. In fact most of my act music has been found in this manner!

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
When I'm performing aerial, rosin to put on my hands for grip, at other times I don't feel right on stage unless I have a hair flower. I definitely couldn't live without my notebook to record notes, train times and lovely new friend's details.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
The people I went to circus school with for encouraging creativity in a hugely traditional genre and my grandmother for ensuring I would be forthright enough to explore what I wanted to do from an early age. She grew up in a small town in Canada but always encouraged traveling and living for yourself. My gram was brilliant at vintage hair & make-up and I think would find it quite funny her previously scruffy granddaughter is now struggling to twist her hair into pin curls.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
Wow, I really don't have a favorite performer. Although her style is completely different to my own, I find Michelle L'amour fascinating. I'm very much a fan of earlier music hall style burlesque so any stars from that age too

What is your favorite item of clothing?
It changes everyday but currently my Wizard Of Oz ruby high heels!

What's the last movie you saw?
The Orphanage -- brilliant but straw children are more terrifying than I ever thought!

What's on your must-see-TV list?
I don't watch television but sometimes buy box sets. I've just finished watching House which reaffirmed my long held childhood love of Hugh Laurie and I became embarrassingly addicted to Heroes.

What book is on your nightstand?
I read really quickly so I've just finished A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory and have nearly finished Kavalier & Clay by Micheal Chabon. I also have several Stephen Fry books on hand for chilling out in the bath. Normally, I have several books on the go and am seriously considering setting up a burlesque bookswap for performers. I'm always on the lookout for books on European mythology & folklore

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Japan. It's another childhood obsession this time with Geishas that's made the country my destination of choice. I don't want to go until I can have at least a month to explore so maybe next year.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
Definitely to be like the little guy from Heroes who could "talk" to technology. How great would that be? No longer would my phone fail mid call, emails drop mid send and my alarm clock would always work. Plus I would always have my own on stage lighting design!

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Red Hot Annie, HoneyLu, Kimberlee Rose, Vicky Butterfly, Dominique Immora, Yasmine Vine, Cherry Bomb, Millie Dollar, Joanie Gyoza, Bonbon Vivant, Lola Martinet, Frankie Boudoir, Vixen Violette, Ravenna Black, Veronica Lashe, Amber Ray, Beatrix von Bourbon, Angie Pontani, Tanya Cheex, Bloody Belle, Clams Casino, Trixie Little, Michelle L'Amour, Margaret Cho, Miss Dirty Martini, Princess Farhana, Miss Delirium Tremens, Paris Green, Jo Boobs, Jack Midnight, Heidi Von Haught, Diamond Minx, The Titillation Twins, Scratch, Creamy Stevens and Gina Louise.

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