The Burlesque Herald interviews Pixie Rider about Burlesque and how she did not allow disability to affect her aspirations to become a burlesque performer. The Burlesque Herald learns of how Pixie Rider is continuously victorious over not just disabilities, but also helping to ensure there is no discrimination in the world of Burlesque……
.”Let’s encourage all people who want to perform irrelevant of any disabilities; it just takes some thought, remember not all conditions and illnesses are visible at first glance.”
Who would you say is your inspiration?
Hmm… interesting question. My hubby took me to my first ever burlesque show in 2011 and I fell in love with burlesque and asked for a lesson as a Christmas present. Hubby managed to find me an 8 week course and I was smitten. Although I said I would never wear a corset or perform in public at my first class. That was January 2012 and I performed in March that year as part of a troupe! I continued to do that until 2016. I am not sure any burlesque act inspired me to start, but I do love the work of Diva Hollywood, L’Amour Le Monde, Lou Safire, Vicky Butterfly and Kiki Lovechild. I saw L’Amour perform her then new “Breathe of Life” act in early 2016 and spoke to the teacher she had done a course with Saph Rox. I asked her if she would work with me and my mobility scooter to develop a solo act as due to diabetic neuropathy I could no longer dance with troupe due to my mobility issues. I still loved burlesque and wanted to continue to perform, Saph said yes and my first act “Born to be Wild” was created.
Can you tell our readers about any funny stories or experiences you may have?
I guess my first funny story as a solo performer was last year when I was accepted for one of Bella Stirrup competition heats. I left the hotel in full make-up and costume which was decent, but different to normal everyday fashion the look on the face of the receptionist was priceless. The Receptionist asked me on my return when I came back in leggings and t-shirt what I had been up too. It ended up in a really interesting conversation about what burlesque is. My very first funny story happened on my 1st troupe performance. The day was international women’s day in a restaurant in Harlow Essex. I naively thought there would be a car park and as there was no formal changing room. I drove in my costume including stockings only to find out on my arrival the car park was tiny and full!! I had to park about 100-150 feet away and walk to the restaurant the only clothing I had in my car was a cardigan. I kept my dignity, but everyone could see my stocking tops. I remember walking down the road and in my head saying just be confident like you always go out dressed like this!!!!!!
Do you have any new acts your working on?
I have created a second act again with the help of Saph Rox, called “A Forest Pixie”. I have not performed this one publicly yet, but hope to do so soon. I am not developing any new acts at the moment so that I can concentrate on the two acts I currently perform in order to tweak and improve upon them. I have already made a number of changes to my first act and really enjoy receiving feedback from audience members, other performers and producers so that I can improve the acts and get the message across that “people with disabilities can still do burlesque We just have to do it differently.”
Please tell our readers about your experiences with disabilities & Discrimination within Burlesque?
“. If you are affected by an illness or condition you can still do the things you love.”
This is a really interesting question as the motivation behind my first act before I even decided on the music was to get the message across that disability is just the ability to do things differently. If you are affected by an illness or condition you can still do the things you love. I thought my first obstacle would be finding a teacher who would work with the “mad woman” and her mobility scooter now affectionately known as Luscious Legs. However, Saph Rox was not phased at all and I felt very welcome as part of the course. Saph and all the other participants in the course were lovely, especially as I had only had my scooter for a matter of weeks so was very aware of using it. Since then I have probably been disregarded when I have applied for shows due to using a mobility scooter and producers being worried about health and safety and me being on the stage. I do understand this, but would love the opportunity to discuss first as my scooter is very compact and light. My hubby is always with me if the stage kitten needed help. I can always adapt as I need to in order to perform, for example, when I went to perform at the Bollinger Club for the first time earlier this year the stage was much smaller than I expected so I just did some pre-show preparations and made the act work by starting of the stage so that there was sufficient space on the stage for Pixie Rider and Luscious Legs. The Performance went off without a hitch. On a positive note Burlesque Idol did contact me and asked me a couple of questions which I was able to answer quickly and then I was given a slot in the September 2017 heat they were really excited to have my act as they have not had an act with a mobility scooter before. I have not had any bad reactions from performers in fact just encouragement and positive comments from performers including Diva Hollywood, L’Amour le Monde and Rosie Glow. In fact I have made many friends. I am now friends with other performers who use mobility aids in America through Facebook. I work for a charity so I only go so far with the strip for that reason and also because it works for me as part of the act as I use parts of my costume to get the message about disability across. Burlesque is so varied that each performer is an individual. I have also attended workshops with different well known burlesque artists and have always been made to feel welcome. I do believe however, that there is a need for some open and honest conversations with producers to help me have the same opportunities as all other performers. Equal opportunities is not about treating each individual the same it is about ensuring that the playing field is level for everybody. For example, if the stage is too small for the scooter can my act be done in front of the stage and will the audience still see my performance? If you are booking a venue for a workshop check that the building is disabled friendly and that if the studio is on the 1st or 2nd floor there is a lift, don’t assume that all dancers will be fully mobile. Let’s encourage all people who want to perform irrelevant of any disabilities; it just takes some thought, remember not all conditions and illnesses are visible at first glance.