I had the opportunity to chat with Rosie Mae and Pastel Supernova, two women who have launched a brand new space in Toronto for those who want to experience the world of showgirls through dance training. Burlesque Uni allows these two performers to share their knowledge and help others find themselves. I asked them all about their work and what it is like being a performer. Thank you to both of them for taking the time to answer my questions.
Could you tell our readers a little about yourselves?
Pastel Supernova and Rosie Mae: We are showgirl work wives who spread the burlesque gospel through touring and our Toronto studio, BurlesqueUni.
What led the two of you to become involved in burlesque?
Pastel: I had a spiritual calling to do it and went against the opinions of every person in my private life to take a gig that came at me out of seemingly nowhere. I immediately knew it was the last vital element necessary to fulfill my dance company, Love Letters Cabaret. Rosie came to a show one night and soon became a wonderful contributor. Our sense of humor and work ethic match beautifully.
Rosie: I was advised by one of my teacher’s in commercial dance school to go check out a cabaret they were a part of. That company was Pastel’s burlesque/showgirl troupe Love Letters Cabaret. I loved the dance ability of the group, the interactive portions, the stories…I could go on. Watching the company led me to do my research and now I happily am a part of it and now work extensively with Pastel.
Could you describe Burlesque Uni?
Pastel and Rosie: The Uni is a space designed for dancers who want to experience the showgirl world through various styles of dance training and burlesque.
What led you to create the course?
Pastel and Rosie: The Uni was created because Toronto was lacking a professional showgirl training program that fully encompassed the steps to creating a persona, building performance techniques and learning stage production. We built a fun and safe environment for everyone interested in burlesque, from the most novice level to those looking to make showbiz a full-time job.
What do you hope participants take away from the course?
Pastel and Rosie: We aim to welcome everyone into a safe space where we focus on self-celebration through a good sweaty bump and grind.
Could you both discuss your time with Love Letters Cabaret?
Pastel: The company, being my creative outlet, has been a way to share stories paying homage to goddesses and amazing, often misrepresented iconic figures who throughout history and mythology who have been deemed evil. In truth, just like a strip teaser defiance of social norms, these figures have their own beautiful truths that I have focused on telling. Every single production has also helped me release or deal with a certain life challenge.
Rosie: Love Letters has not only taught me about the world of showgirls and burlesque, but has also greatly improved my skills as a dancer and creative. Soon after joining, the company quickly became one of the only places (as a young, shy dancer at the time) I felt I could openly talk about anything, to be 100 percent myself, and a place where I could express my craziest show ideas. It led me to a form of dance I had never thought about before and yet now it is my entire life. I even have the Love Letters logo tattooed on my neck…I’m a ‘lifer’.
What have been some of your favorite performances?
Pastel and Rosie: We love and were inspired by Dita Von Teese, high glam drag performers like Violet Chachki, Brooke Lynn Hytes and Toronto’s Tynomi Banks… there’s no pinpointing one performance. Ballet and circus companies are also highly influential.
Do you have any additional performances or projects you have coming up?
Pastel and Rosie: We are about to tour or two woman show, WIFE and our Burlesque Uni student showcase is coming up November 28th and 29th at the Velvet Underground.
Where can our readers keep up with you online?
Pastel and Rosie: Find us at www.BurlesqueUni.com, @burlesqueuni on insta and @lovelettersto