Looking for a fun night out with a bit of a difference? If your answer is yes, then book your ticket now for the Burlesque Ball. Chrissy Jones chatted with organiser Mandy Davidson about the event, to be held in the Wauchope Showground Hall on Saturday 20 April.
With all profits going to the Hastings Women and Children’s Refuge, the ball sounds like a fantastic fundraiser. What’s in store for attendees?
A great night is assured! There will be complimentary canapes, Burlesque performances, a fashion parade by Heart to Heart Lingerie, and we will also have guest DJ Shanie.D, plus live entertainment by amazing local duo Maddy and Alex.
There is a 1920s Burlesque theme for the night, with some amazing prizes for the Best Dressed Male and Female, ladies sexy leg and male booty shaking competitions. Tickets are limited; cost is $35 per head, and they are available at Rebel Sport in Port Macquarie and Heart to Heart Lingerie in Wauchope.
The colour theme for the night is: hot pink, to represent embracing femininity; black, to represent an evening of class; and white, to represent saying no to domestic violence within our communities.
Many people have asked if the event is for male and female attendees, and it most definitely is for both!
How did your interest in Burlesque come about?
I have been instructing fitness classes for 8 years, and a couple of years ago I participated in some Burlesque training and began thinking about instructing a Burlesque/Fitness class.
One of my Zumba participants, Annette Willows, began asking me to start teaching it, assuring me she had a large crowd out at Byabarra who would be interested in learning the art of Burlesque. I began working on a routine as soon as Annette confirmed such interest, and the rest is history!
Over the past year and a half I have taught 6 x 6 week blocks in Port Macquarie, Byabarra and Wauchope. Some of the ladies and I have performed at venues around Port Macquarie, including The Beach House, Tacking Point Tavern, birthday parties and fundraisers. Many brides have booked Burlesque hen’s parties with me over the past year, which have been an absolute blast!
Have you had training yourself in the art of Burlesque?
Once I realised how popular the classes were going to be, I furthered my training by attending the Australian Burlesque Festival in Sydney. I participated in Personal Training classes with one of the world’s best, the lovely Miss Peek-a-boo Point, who focused on booty shaking exercises. I have also trained on the Gold Coast with Burlesque Dolls, who concentrated on fan dancing.
How have the Burlesque classes helped local women?
All fitness programs take you on an emotional and physical journey, but the journey that Burlesque has taken me on was very much unexpected. I was prepared to teach dance technique, some sexy moves and some fitness, but what I end up teaching was so much more.
My participants began to comment to me that they were feeling totally empowered, and in a sexy way that they had not felt for years, or even ever. Sophia Loren once quoted that: “Sexy is 70% an attitude, 30% appearance”, and Burlesque proves this. Women of all shapes and sizes can and should have the right to embrace their femininity and own their own skin.
We all have flaws, and we all also have wonderful things worth embracing. It’s not a matter of vanity; it’s a matter of being confident enough in your own skin that insecurities are not present. Embracing what you have to offer the world, that is sexy, and I think should be every woman’s birth right.
I was humbled far greater than any expectation to have women come up after class and tell me that I had helped them to feel this way. We have had many tears of joy along the path of growth, and it is just such a wonderful thing to be a part of. Each new 6 week block is the beginning of another journey together; I feel very blessed to have this opportunity.
The ladies join together to raise funds for worthy causes through Burlesque. Tell us more …
So here I was with approximately 20 ladies in each class (a lot of these have continued the whole way through the 6 blocks) who now have many routines that they would love to showcase … and how better than by organising a fundraiser! Last year we helped put together a fundraiser with event organiser Annette Willows to raise funds for the Byabarra Hall to build a commercial kitchen.
It was a great night, the ladies loved performing, and Annette and the crew reached a fantastic figure to help fund their kitchen.
Almost 12 months have passed, and many new faces are keen to put on their dancing shoes in front of a crowd. So off I go, with the help of my dear friend Alicia Hayes, in organising what was originally to be a small night for the ladies.
Before too long, my vision of a big night incorporating other facets of my business, Maverique Events, including DJs and more, had taken over and wheels were put in motion for a night of entertainment with the Burlesque Ball!
We have had many community members offering help, as well as local businesses both in Port Macquarie and Wauchope; I cannot say thank you enough to all!
I am very passionate about the topic of domestic violence, so it was only natural that for my first solo fundraising event I would choose the Hastings Women and Children’s refuge in Port Macquarie as the recipient of all profits.
After chatting with staff from the refuge, I am very excited about how we can help those truly in need through the Burlesque Ball.
I am booked to further burlesque training in Las Vegas in May this year. Event management is another facet of my business now (completing a diploma currently)
This should help with sustainability for next years events
The Burlesque Ball Fundraiser is on 20 April at Wauchope Show Ground. Doors open at 6.45pm. Book your ticket today!
This article can be found in issue 89 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus