My name is Harmony Stiletto. I can sing you a tune that’ll make you cry. I’ll dance a dance that’ll make your head spin. Then, I’ll walk all over you in my red spike heels. And baby, you’ll beg for more, once I’m through …Okay, this opening is not only due to the fact that I saw Sucker Punch yesterday—an ambitious cornucopia of violent imagery and kick ass babes, featuring a favorite Bjork song, “Army of Me,” and a seriously hot Emily Browning. This opening is mainly a farewell of sorts to my first month in a Scandalesque dance class.
How did I get involved with Scandalesque? Well, I’ve always been one to dabble in the hot dance movement of the moment. It started when I was sixteen with swing dancing. After about a year of lessons, I started to compete at local bars. The owners all thought I was over twenty-one. (Oops.) Then, in college, I took two years of belly-dance; I even taught for a while after graduation. Finally, as I mentioned in a previous entry (Burlesque University), I saw a friend of mine perform burlesque in Charleston, SC, and well, I was in love.
Scandalesque is a Phoenix standard. It’s a burlesque and cabaret show with “a vaudevillian aesthetic consisting of provocative singing, dancing, and outlandish variety acts.” Founded in 2004 by Julianna Curtis (Lady Fontayne) and Christy Zandlo (Pyra Sutra), it has now become a well-loved troupe, for those in the dance “know.” These ladies realized the need to cultivate the performing arts in Phoenix and generate more opportunities for local artists; hence, the foundation of Scandalesque.I’ve been on their mailing list since I moved here, so when I finally saw a class I could fit into my stupidly busy schedule, I signed up. For each Saturday in the month of March, I was shaped, molded, and inspired by instructor, Jazz Corsette. She’s studied all over the world, and her expertise stretches beyond burlesque into ballet, jazz, swing, salsa, and contemporary modern. In other words, she made me feel like a bumbling child with two left feet. Not that it mattered, because I was too busy having fun to be self-conscious—which is what burlesque is all about.
Burlesque is sensual, exotic, and extremely difficult. But it also allows you to escape yourself. In class, Jazz gave us new names. Since I like to sing and always wear heels, “Harmony Stiletto” fit my personality. I was no longer Sara Dobie—sensitive, high-strung, anxious writer. Instead, I was Harmony—sexy seductress without a care beyond the stage. Every week was an escape from stressful reality, and every week, I left feeling empowered and invigorated.
At the last session, I got the chance to meet Scandalesque founder, Pyra Sutra. Pyra is a nationally renowned fire dancer. She has been featured on various television networks such as NBC, Bravo, Fox, MTV, and ABC; she’s performed for such celebrities as Dave Navarro, Tommy Lee, and Alice Cooper. This amazing woman brought burlesque to the Valley of the Sun, and yet, she bemoans the fact that even though she’s known in New York City, she is not known here in Phoenix. I’m going to do my best to spread the word, but for you ladies out there, I suggest you sign up immediately for a Scandalesque dance class.
Not only will you get your ass kicked by the choreography, but you will leave each class feeling like Super Woman. Sure, your man will appreciate it. But even if you’re single, these dance classes are for you. It’s all about a historic dance technique. It’s about the art of the tease and the beauty of the female form. It’s all about making you feel better about YOU. Go check out their class offerings and upcoming shows on their website: http://www.scandalesque.com/. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta practice my chair dance routine …