Saucy art of burlesque is booming across Calderdale

Burlesque classes at Tristan Dance Studios, Station Road, Soweby Bridge. Emma Donaldson, Jane Lumb, Lindsay Edgar and Elaine Edgar-Storey.
Burlesque classes at Tristan Dance Studios, Station Road, Soweby Bridge. Emma Donaldson, Jane Lumb, Lindsay Edgar and Elaine Edgar-Storey.

The art of the saucy striptease is making a comeback as a burlesque boom explodes across Calderdale.

More and more women in the area are shedding their inhabitions and their clothes to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Dita Von Teese.

Classes in the vintage art are springing up across the district, along with shows and some very successful up and coming burlesque performers.

Nearly 200 people turned out to The Boo Booby Doo Burlesque Show at The Square Chapel in Halifax last month organised by Rebecca Sedgewick, owner of Anon Lingerie in Elland.

She managed to secure top acts from around the country including the winner of this year’s London Burlesque Games Eliza Delite.

She said she wanted to showcase a range of different styles of burlesque, from comedy to classic, and even invited a male performer for some “boylesque”.

Rebecca herself started taking burlesque classes a few years ago and says she has had several people asking if she knows of any classes because of the retro underwear ranges she stocks.

She is hoping to hire a teacher to start burlesque classes for her customers in Elland in the coming months, starting with a taster session as soon as possible.

“It’s great for people’s confidence,” she said,

“It’s not about judging people, it’s about empowering women.

“It doesn’t matter how curvy you are, you can get up on stage and people will applaud you.

“I see so many women who come into the shop who stand quivering in front of the mirror. Burlesque really is good for self esteem. It’s not about what you’ve got, it’s about how you shake it.”

She said around 70 per cent of the people who go to burlesque shows are women and there were plenty of girls’ nights out taking place at her show at The Square Chapel.

The show raised around £125 for Overgate Hospice- bringing her store’s fund raising total for a year to £4,000.

Burlesque calsses are also proving a huge success for Tristan Dance Studios in Sowerby Bridge.

Studio manager Lindsay Edgar says they have been inundated with requests for when they will be holding the next session.

She stressed their classes focus on having fun and exercise, rather than the stripping.

“It seems as though people’s inhabitions are dropping and it is a good form of exercise,” she said. “It’s great for the bums, tums and inner thighs.”

She too said the art form is a huge confidence boost for women.

Lindsay trained in burlesque three years ago and has trained the studio’s current teacher, Emma Donaldson.

She said they get requests for lessons from women of all ages and shapes, and added they get a lot of requests for private sessions for hen parties.

Some of Calderdale’s own burlesque artists were on the bill at The Boo Booby Doo Burlesque Show, including Heidi Waddington from Cragg Vale - better known as Heidi Bang Tidy.

The 37-year-old mum beat off competition from across Europe to win awards at the Teatime Tassel-Off in Leeds for her signature lollipop lady routine, which sees her play Brenda, a crossing warden who suddenly becomes passionate about her job.

She also runs her own burlesque nights, including one coming up in Brighouse - Heidi Bang Tidy’s Great Big Burlesque Bonanza on Sunday, September 30 at the Ritz Ballroom.

Also performing was Lady Wildflower, who teaches burlesque classes at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels in Hebden Bridge.

She also organises a the Frou Frou Club - a bi-monthly burlesque and cabaret show - at The Little Theatre in Hebden Bridge. The next one takes place on Saturday, August 18 and will include performances from Coco Malone and Crystal Tips as well as Heidi bang Tidy and Lady Wildflower.