Burlesque business: Shimmying to success

ALL IT takes is a shimmy, a bump, a grind and a glove peel and you're practically ready to take to the stage in feathers and tassels.

Well not quite but, Cody-Maree Allsop, who has opened Boutique Burlesque by Bailey, in Mackay, with her mother Sharon Allsop, can show you the moves.

"Mum and I decided to create the business so we can both do something we love. I've taught and performed burlesque for years and my mum came to a workshop once and just fell in love with it too. She loved that women got into it, had fun and giggled. So we saw an opportunity to create a business and bring it to Mackay," Miss Allsop said.

The mother and daughter team opened their business in November last year and they offer Burlesque Party Plans. They come into your home or venue and showcase burlesque clothing. Customers can buy on the spot, play a few fun games and learn the basic steps. For those who want to master a full routine, they can book a workshop as well.

"A lot of people go for both so they can dress up and learn the routine," she said.

Miss Allsop has been professionally dancing for 10 years and specialising in burlesque for the past four.

"People have a bit of a pre-conceived idea of what burlesque is. Burlesque is a strip-tease going down to tassels and underwear or a g-string. More than stripping for a man. It's about celebrating the female form and everything that entails.

"It's in a classy manner. It's not about looking a certain way. It's about celebrating who you are as a woman. Generally burlesque audiences are usually women or very mixed," Miss Allsop said.

Almost like the movie, Burlesque, starring Cher and Christina Aguilera, Miss Allsop came across the dance form while working in a club in London.

"I studied jazz, ballet, tap and hip hop and I performed on cruise ships. Jazz was probably my biggest passion. But you really have to conform to what they need.

Whether it's your hair colour, your size. With burlesque you can absolutely be whatever you want. You make up your own routines, design your own costumes. It's your creative ideas," she said.

Miss Allsop travels between Brisbane and Mackay to perform and teach burlesque.

"A lot of burlesque names are based around liqueurs. I don't drink much at all, but if I do I'll have a Baileys, so I went with that. And my routines are fairly happy and upbeat so I came up with Bailey Bliss," she said.

Marketing herself in the competitive world of London's thriving burlesque scene has given her skills she now brings to establishing and strengthening her business in Mackay.

"Starting out myself, having to market myself and learn to use social media, I've learnt to put myself out there a little bit. I was very lucky.

"I was working at a burlesque club as a dancer. I saw the burlesque acts and thought wow, I want to do that too, I don't just want to be dancing behind them. I got some acts together and I had some video footage I sent out of my performances so people could see what I did," she said.

Miss Allsop currently performs at Showbar in Mackay and one of her favourite routines includes using fire.

"I do fire and fans acts. I do a Champagne; a classic strip with a champagne pour at the end.

It's definitely cheeky and a little bit naughty. Fire's definitely fun because it's different. We would love to grow Boutique Burlesque by Bailey further. It's easy to learn.

"There's nothing better than doing what you love everyday. As a business we want to provide an experience that's authentic."

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