WHEN Phoebe Kirk gave her first burlesque performance in her home town at last year’s Arundel Festival, she was slightly unsure about how it would be received.
In fact, the reception was so amazing that this year her act is certain to be one of the festival highlights. Even more ambitious than before, she is also bringing along something audiences in the town have never seen before – a boylesque!
Originally from Storrington, Phoebe moved to Brighton when she was 18 and it was there she spotted an advertisement for burlesque classes – she fell in love with this dance form and has been performing ever since.
As a talented illustrator, now 24, she came to Arundel about 18 months ago to help her mother in the Roly’s Fudge business and thought that her act, which is very artistic, might work well as a festival performance.
“I was quite nervous, not sure how it would go down here and I didn’t realise it would be so successful, but last year went so well and I’ve now partnered up with Dawn Gracie to make it even better this year,” Phoebe said.
She sees burlesque as very much an art form – very elegant and sophisticated, and all about the performance rather than any kind of titillation.
“I’ve always been a tomboy, but I’ve also always loved the silver screen and Hollywood glamour. When I got into it finally, I loved it so much – all the rhinestones and glitter.
“I used to be not very confident, but burlesque is a way I can be what I want to be – desirable, interesting and fun. It has brought me out of myself and in my day-to-day life, I’m much more confident and assertive.”
Phoebe’s stage name is Ginger Von Go-Go and because she is known locally through working in her mother’s fudge shop, as well as doing commissions as an illustrator, it can seem slightly odd occasionally when audiences recognise her in a different guise.
Burlesque builds confidence
“Burlesque shows women and girls how to feel confident in their own bodies, to be comfortable in their own skin. It doesn’t matter what age or shape you are.”
This year, Phoebe will be a key player in the festival’s burlesque night on Thursday, August 21, in the Jubilee Gardens, sponsored by Arundel’s newest boutique hair and beauty salon, Harvey Moon.
The evening starts with an introduction to the world of burlesque workshop by Dawn Gracie, then she and Phoebe will take to the stage with a wealth of glitz and glamour, including burlesque acts and dance troupes, together with a very special headline act.
“My friend, a boylesque known as Luxury Values, will be performing – no-one in Arundel will have seen anything like him before,” Phoebe said.
“The festival is such a great thing, so good for the town. A lot of other festivals in the area look on the Arundel event as a model – it’s brilliant, not focusing on just one element but bringing in so many things to appeal to so many people.”
As well as taking to the stage for the festival, Phoebe also helped to illustrate this year’s Arundel Festival brochure.
For more details about the burlesque evening, visit www.facebook.com/pages/Phoebe-Le-Feu and for more on Harvey Moon, go to www.myharveymoon.co.uk