Iskra Valentine is one performance artist who is true to her name. This eastern beauty, whose name means “spark” in Russian, is sure to lend a whole new light on modern burlesque. Iskra Valentine is a Perth based neo burlesque and performance artist specialising in riot grrrl rockaburly and Bollywood Burlesque.
Go somewhere private
Take your clothes off
Get a mirror
LOOK AT YOUR VAGINA.
Get to know the depth of your vagina
Get to know the smell and texture
If you have hair, feel the texture of the hair
If you dont, feel the texture of your mound.
Find your Gspot, find your clitoris,
Play with your flaps, enjoy the structure
There are far too many women who have let others explore their Pussies before they have explored it for themselves. Uncharted waters are deadly.
GET TO KNOW YOUR PUSSY!
This was a public service announcement from your friendly neighbourhood burlesque artist! (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Iskra-Valentine/93509145172)
#vagina #sex #masturbation #body love #body acceptance #sex positive #sex positive feminism #pussy #vajayjay
Every burlesque artist has a story, one that traces the glittery outline of their journey into the sequinned sisterhood or the bejewelled brotherhood. Like every beautiful fairytale, there is a once upon a time. For some, that once upon a time was their first day at ballet class, their first old hollywood movie, their first piece of lingerie or even at their first burlesque show (as an audience member). My once upon a time was a broken record, a fairytale on a loop. Once upon a time, I met a beautiful man and we fell madly in love, then reality happened and the happily ever after was replaced with a series of Once upon a one night stands.
Metaphors aside, I found burlesque during the darkest of times at the tail end of my teenage years. I was a raging drunk, extremely bipolar and even an archaeologist wouldn’t have been able to find the remains of my self esteem. I was lonely with too much time on my hands. This is certainly not the makings of a syrupy or saucy seduction story where burlesque instantly changed my life and bagged me a handsome boy toy who fell madly in love with the glamour puss that had been trapped in me for so long. Oh no! Far from it. My burlesque story is dirt and snot, meds and puke, physical and emotional injuries.
One particular routine came to me like snowy white dreams while I was having my stomach pumped in an emergency room at a public hospital. Another came to me the day I lost my temper at a bathroom scale after failed attempts at dieting. I always imagined Dita Von Teese to write ideas on a little moleskin notepad with golden gilded pages, with a gold plated parker fountain pen while she sipped tea in a well manicured garden at a designer’s palace. Or maybe in the bathtub while sipping champagne and soothing her sore muscles. I could never imagine Dita Von Teese with snot running down her nose, with panda eyes reeking of puke and low self esteem scratching words, phrases and stick figure drawings onto paper scraps in a dirty share house toilet. I wonder if anyone could ever imagine the birth of burlesque act in such a flurry of uncontrolled rage and unbridled anger. But that is how burlesque came into my life, slowly and gradually taking my bruised, bleeding fat heart into its satin gloved hands.
Every act I have created which has stood the test of time (almost six years on and off) has been inspired by some pivotal moment in my life. I realised very early on that it was easier for me to share private experiences with rooms full of complete strangers if they were under the impression that it was all “an act for entertainment’s sake”. In a society like ours where we are constantly told to “harden the fuck up” and “get the fuck over it” when it comes to depression, heartbreak and the like, it was a welcome change to hear an audience applaud at the end of a particularly heart breaking routine. Sometimes i wonder whether it is even possible to separate Iskra Valentine from who I am. My life pre burlesque was not the life of another, it was another life. Iskra Valentine isn’t just a nom de plume, it is who i am and have become over the last six years. Burlesque gave me the ability to put my experiences to song and dance and to relate these experiences to an audience in a way that words could not express. I don’t go on stage to be desired, I don’t perform to be adored- I desire to be understood and that is the greatest achievement i can expect from an act. That I was understood on an emotional level by some member or members of an audience for those brief five minutes I was on stage.
I don’t think I could ever put words to the hurt and injuries I have endured and sustained at the hands of callous lovers, frenemies and complete strangers. Sometimes its impossible to express and other times things are better left unsaid. But every time I see an audience member from the corner of my eye who is cheering that extra bit louder, who is watching with that little bit more interest, I feel some kind of unspoken acknowledgement of our shared experience. Knowing that I am understood and that I am not alone in my experience is something very valuable to me. Burlesque has given me this. It has helped me heal. And I am not the only one.
As some of you may be aware, I run a series of Body Positive Burlesque workshops in the country town of Bunbury in Western Australia. The women who come to my classes are from all walks of life and all age groups. They come into my classes each with a different take on burlesque and the part it would play in their lives. Some come out of curiosity, others for the social element, some for the exercise and then there is a general unspoken assumption that there is something in this art form that might be the ticket out of the doldrums. An overwhelming majority of women I come across in my classes tell me that they want to “learn to be sexy” again. Contrary to Justin Timberlake’s belief, if you have to bring sexy back it probably wasn’t all there to begin with. Sexiness isn’t some kind of instant cake mix, I would tell my students, it was something that came from healthy self esteem and a confidence in one’s entirety. It was elusive and was something to be strived for. But sexy doesnt come from being in your bra and panties on stage doing the bump and grind. Perhaps the material concept of “sexy” society sells us exists in that form but, real soulful sexiness comes from knowing that even without the shiny bra and panties, without a routine with flashy moves, just standing on a stage comfortable in your own skin (clothed or unclothed) was a powerful form of rebellion.
Watching my students through out the three day classes is like watching spots of ink spread on a white table cloth, hesitant at first but slowly they stretch and fan and occupy the space around them often melding into other ink spots, sharing space and sharing experiences. I always structure my classes so that there is time at the end of each day for students to reflect upon the emotional aspect of what they are doing. A lot of the times we go over the class time limit because everyone is so keen to share experiences and it is these moments that I treasure the most about being a performer. It has allowed me to create a safe space and medium for others to share experiences and have people listen to them. As one of my students said to me recently, the experience had helped her reclaim her sexuality in a small way. It was something she felt had been taken away from her a long time ago and then later forced upon her by society in a mould that they had shaped. Her sexuality was never her choice, she never got to shape the mantle she had to don. But burlesque was allowing her to explore and express that sexuality at her own pace and on her own terms and this was helping her to heal from her past experiences.
I guess the question remains to be asked, is it the place of this artform to act as a form of catharsis or is burlesque reserved for a different kind of emotional involvement, one that doesnt delve as deeply into the performer and the audience’s psyche. There is no doubt in my mind about the good it has done me emotionally and what it has done for my students who even today drop by my fb page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Iskra-Valentine/93509145172) to share little snippets of their progress.
And the only reason i shared this piece of my burlesque journey with you today, dear reader, is because I was asked about what drew me to burlesque when I first started. And the reply that came from me was poetic and succinct to the point of epiphany:
” There was a time when I had my heart broken and it seemed like burlesque was the only way to express the inner turmoil and changes I was going through. Those glittery pasties were more than just costume, they were sequinned band aids for a badly broken heart”
#healing #burlesque #body positive burlesque #iskra valentine #body love
#body love #body acceptance #riot not diet #anti diet #body positive #curvy #curvy tattooed #inspiration #cupcakes #cupcake #boobs #thick #thick girls #curvy girls #curvy cuties #curvy swervy dames
#body love #curvy #hope #iskra valentine #pride #quote #rockabilly #strength #thick #vintsge
#body acceptance #body love #body positive #curvy #pin up #pin up of color #pin up of colour #pinup #retro #rockabilly #self esteem #thick #vintage #iskra valentine
When bigots see a strong woman who chooses to defy the status quo in any way, shape or form it bugs them. It bugs them immensely. “How dare this person defy society’s set up norms and feel good about doing so, how dare they be happy outside the norm..HOW DARE THEY”. That is more often than not their train(wreck) of thought.
Don’t let the bigots win, even when they hit a nerve with you. Ignore it. Finding a weakspot instead of celebrating the strong package you are is what they feed off like pathetic leeches. Some of them got that way because they hate themselves and others because they have a deluded sense of superiority which they need to validate by bringing a strong woman down. Your pride in yourself challenges the only world they know.
Stay true to you and embrace yourself. It’s not your job to live for other people’s fucked up view of the world. It’s not your job to make society feel comfortable.
Your only job is to love yourself. Everything else will fall in place naturally.
#body love #body acceptance #body pride #fatphobia #body shaming #strong women #stay strong
I am so glad and wonderfully surprised with the reblogs of my last three posts. Thank you for sharing them around. If you think I will enjoy your tumblr pease feel free to drop your url in my ask, I will follow back. I also have a fb fan page where i post a lot of my pin up nd burlesque work. Look for Iskra Valentine.
#body love #body posi #body positive #body acceptance #thank you #fans
#body love #body acceptance #curvy #thick #body posi #body positive #pin up #pinup #vintage #retro
#body love #body positive #fat acceptance #self acceptance #curvy #curvy swervy dame.