Originally from Melbourne, Australia and now calling Canada home, Arabella Allure is an international burlesque performer who has not only won numerous awards for her sultry and seductive dance, but also has produced a number of burlesque shows including Blue Belles Burlesque and is president and co-founder of the Edmonton Burlesque Festival. I met up with Arabella Allure at this year’s Gentlemen’s Club Expo, and was honored to learn a little about her personal and professional experiences in exotic dance.
C.J. Asher – First of all, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me! Tell me a little about yourself, such as your age, education and where you’re from.
Arabella Allure – I’m old enough to know better! I was born in Melbourne, Australia, but am now residing in Alberta, Canada. Tertiary qualified with Bachelor Degrees in Science and Business. I used to work in corporate before I realized the rat race wasn’t for me! No kids, avid snowboarder and voracious reader. I’ve performed in Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and coast to coast in Canada and the USA.
C.J. Asher – How did you first decide to become a burlesque dancer?
Arabella Allure – I was working as an exotic dancer and started performing in a few competitions, such as Australian Showgirl of the Year, and a number of other dancers noted I had a very burlesque style. I entered the Miss Burlesque Australia pageant in 2012 and the love of all-things-burlesque began!
C.J. Asher – How did you choose your stage name?
Arabella Allure – I wanted a nod to my Italian heritage but Isabella and Bella just seemed too common, my costume designer Elise (Sweet Carousel Corsetry) suggested Arabella. Alliteration is a typical pattern in showgirl naming, so Allure for the surname it was!
C.J. Asher – Why did you switch from your former stage name, Jade Janvier?
Arabella Allure – I began stripping as Jade because it’s the stone of wealth and prosperity. Once I moved here, it proved challenging for people to understand thanks to my Aussie accent – Jane, Jake, Jay, Jayda, everything but Jade! Janvier means ‘winter’ in French (my favorite season), but most people can’t pronounce it properly, so it loses something in translation.
Arabella Allure – My initial plan was to come out and snowboard for a season then head back to Australia, but soon after I arrived I realized the amazing travel and performance opportunities available to me so I stayed! I’m now a permanent resident, touring as a feature dancer, and president of the Edmonton Burlesque Festival, which I co-founded in 2013.
C.J. Asher – What television shows are you into right now?
Arabella Allure – When I have time at home, which is not often, I binge-watch Netflix. Currently loving House of Cards, Gotham and Archer.
C.J. Asher – What do you like to do for fun to relax and unwind when you’re not performing producing shows?
Arabella Allure – Challenge myself with classes in different styles of dance, costuming, gym and travel, but often the travel is tied to performing.
C.J. Asher – Who are your icons within the world of burlesque?
Arabella Allure – So many! Judith Stein, the Canadian Legend of Burlesque. Tigger! The original King of Boylesque. Sina King, Miss Burlesque Australia 2011. Imogen Kelly, Miss Exotic World 2012. Perle Noire, Burlesque Hall of Fame Most Dazzling 2012.
C.J. Asher – Do your family and friends know about your career and, if so, what do they think?
Arabella Allure – My friends all know what I do, many of them are performing artists too. But my family mostly just know the burlesque side – I don’t discuss the mainstream stripping much, I don’t see the need to.
C.J. Asher – What are your favorite industry-related events, such as the Gentlemen’s Club Expo and burlesque appearances?
Arabella Allure – This was my first year at the Gentleman’s Club Expo, it was crazy! But I typically participate in the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender in Vegas each June, it’s the biggest and most prestigious international gathering of burlesque folk.
C.J. Asher – What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a burlesque dancer?
Arabella Allure – Learn the roots of the craft. Do your research before choosing a name or performing an act. Take some dance classes.
C.J. Asher – What awards have you won and which one(s) are you the most proud of?
Arabella Allure – I’ve won quite a few, but my favorite are Miss Burlesque World, Miss Nude International Entertainer of the Year and Caribbean Queen of Burlesque.
C.J. Asher – How did you come up with the concept of Blue Belles Burlesque?
Arabella Allure – It’s a nod to Margaret Kelly, a dancer for the French Follies Bergere, one of the original burlesque revue theatres. She created the Bluebell Girls troupe in the 1930’s.
Arabella Allure – I love producing shows almost more than being on stage myself – standing at the back of a packed theatre, hearing the roar of an appreciative audience and feeling that energy, knowing that I brought the artist and audience together brings me a joy that is indescribable.
C.J. Asher – Tell me about your founding of the Edmonton Burlesque Festival. Also, how was this year’s event?
Arabella Allure – Edmonton’s burlesque community was still relatively new when I arrived in the city, and while I love working as a feature dancer, I wanted to use my brain and qualifications again. So I called together representatives from all the troupes in the city and got the ball rolling. This year’s festival was excellent, selling out to fantastic audiences for the second year in a row, and with rave reviews from our artists who traveled from across Canada and the USA to be a part of the event.
C.J. Asher – Besides Blue Belle Burlesque and the Edmonton Burlesque Festival, what other projects are you involved in?
Arabella Allure – I run the Edmonton Chapter of Naked Girls Reading, a performance art event which is exactly that – naked girls, reading books with different themes, to an audience. The concept was launched by another burlesque artist 6 years ago, Michelle L’Amour, who is based in Chicago, and now has chapters in eighteen countries around the globe. I also teach a few different burlesque workshops at the Edmonton Burlesque Centre, and there’s a few other things I have in the works – but I’m keeping them under wraps for now.
C.J. Asher – What’s the nicest compliment or rudest comment you’ve ever received from a fan?
Arabella Allure – “I idolize you and want to be the dancer you are when I grow up,” from another burlesque dancer who I, in turn, adore and idolize. I ignore the rude comments, although I was very amused once when I was naked on stage and a patron on the tipping row was vocally horrified to see that I have a well-groomed “V” of pubic hair rather than being completely bald.
C.J. Asher – What upcoming shows and appearances will you and the Blue Belles be having?
Arabella Allure – I have a few gigs coming up in Edmonton, making a guest appearance at showcase of students graduating from the Edmonton Burlesque Centre, a David Bowie Tribute with monthly event All Tease All Shade, plus the 3rd year anniversary of burlesque show Sinners Freaks and Geeks. Then its work-work-work at various clubs until Christmas!
For more information about Arabella Allure, please visit http://www.bluebelleburlesque.com