For this year’s Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend pre-pageant profiles for Best Debut, the contenders were paired up and mini interviewed each other so they, and we, can get to know them all better. The next pair in the interview chairs is Zelia Rose and Renee Holiday…
21st Century Burlesque Magazine Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2015 Coverage is sponsored by Fancy Feather.
Zelia Rose Interviews Renee Holiday
Renee in One Sentence: Fun! Whether it’s a comedy act, classic, smouldering or any other sort, I want the audience to see that I am having fun, so they will feel good and have fun too.
Renee’s Act: “‘La Petite Mort’ is burlesque by definition; a parody of the highest of the high arts! I might also describe it as the ultimate classic burlesque.”
ZR: What drew you into the world of burlesque?
RH: I have always been a performer (theatre, choir, opera and so on) but it had been a while since I’d done any real performing. I had just moved to Dallas and was extremely lonely. I had no job, and no friends or family near by. I wanted something to fill that void. What sparked my interest in burlesque was a documentary on Netflix, A Wink and a Smile which is a film about the Seattle burlesque scene. Since it centered around a school I wondered if there was anything like that near me and luckily there was! I started at The Ruby Room Studio the following week. From there I learned everything I could, worked for the Ruby Revue selling merchandise and kittening, and eventually became a cast member. Now I’m full to bursting with passion for what I do, success, friends, and confidence… so much more than simply filling a hole with a job or a hobby.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years and beyond?
In ten years I’ll only be 40 so hopefully I’ll still be performing! I also have a vision of Ruby Room Studios all over the country…
What do you love most about performing?
What I love most is feeling found. Home. I wasn’t a stellar student and each job I held I could do well, but I didn’t care about what I was doing. I felt boring and useless. Onstage I feel I’m doing right by whatever forces drive us. The moment I knew I was doing the right thing for certain occurred at the 2014 Dallas Burlesque Festival, when I debuted ‘La Petite Mort’. If you don’t know, Maria Callas is arguably the greatest soprano of the 20th century and my personal hero. At the after party following the showcase, a friend of mine introduced to me her friend, Laura CALLAS, an actual relation to the great Maria. I nearly cried but managed to keep it together! I take this meeting as a sign that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do with my life.
What do you think you bring to burlesque that is unique to you?
I’m not sure I’m unique at all. Not in a bad way! What I mean is, I feel I’m very much like every other woman and man in burlesque, in that I’ve found what I love, am playing to my strengths, have surrounded myself with talent and positivity, and try to remain a student with an open heart and mind. If I’ve done all those things, I hope the result is something unique.
Renee Holiday Interviews Zelia Rose
Zelia in One Sentence: One women who can burn through the stage and leave a red hot trail behind her; Zelia’s performances are dynamite!
Zelia’s Act: Paying homage to a true icon of burlesque in legendary proportion. We step back to a dank and sultry era of jazz, speakeasy culture and the new breed of raucous women. An award winning act which will leave you hankering for more! The roaring twenties is about to go bananas…
RH: When you are on stage what do you want the audience to feel?
ZR: What I find most rewarding about performing is being able to captivate and inspire an audience. Amongst that I also feel super lucky to do what I’m doing and I pour a lot of my heart and soul into my performance. Which hopefully in turn leaves the audience with many things to remember and be inspired by.
To me, Life is about?
Life is about so many things but what’s important to me is the give and take of life (what you put in and what you get back) and the importance of community. Without having a community goals can feel unachievable but when you have the opportunity to work with people that inspire you and believe in you it opens you up to many possibilities. I’m grateful in my life to be able to live my artistry knowing that it’s something people can enjoy and relate to. To me art is something that is eternal as it creates a way of being, thinking, and evoking emotion that stays with you and is never forgotten.
Who would you love to see you perform (living or dead) and why?
It would be great to have had the chance to audition or do classes with the greats such as Fred Astaire and Bob Fosse, or spend some time learning Lindy Hop from the likes of Frankie Manning. I think it would have been amazing to witness the jazz era and be part of such momentary musical movements that inspired dance styles that we celebrate and love today.
About Fancy Feather
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.