Photo by Ben Britt.
Interview by Domina Daria. www.dominadaria.com. This interview was featured in the Spring 2012 issue of Sinical.
Domina Daria: How did you get involved with the Burlesque community and how long ago was that?
Athena Fatale: In 2004 I was approached by Angela Ryan, a redhead, and Jami Deadly, a blonde. They were looking for a brunette to round out their trifecta of tresses. Together we formed the very first burlesque troupe in Dallas, On The Fringe. We performed together for about 2 years before separating to focus on our solo careers.
Domina Daria: What is your favorite aspect of performing? Conversely what is your least favorite thing about it?
Athena Fatale: I love everything about performing! The creation process can be really frustrating but it is so exciting when everything begins to come together. I’ve started collaborating with choreographer Eric Hall and I love the way his direction and expertise help bring my visions to life. There is no place I’d rather be than on stage performing for an audience. My least favorite thing is watching the videos afterwards and nitpicking myself to death. I am my own worst critic. I also hate how much I spend on my costumes, ouch!
Photo by Ed Fox.
Domina Daria: The popularity of burlesque performances has greatly increased in the last few years with even a few Hollywood embraces. What changes have you observed?
Athena Fatale: The burlesque scene really has exploded and now you see influences in mainstream fashion and entertainment. One thing I’ve noticed as burlesque becomes more popular and socially acceptable is an increase of performers with formal dance training. As a spectator I think that is fantastic. As a performer with no formal dance training worth mentioning, I say no fair! Just kidding, but that does push me to really be on my game and be the best performer I can be.
Domina Daria: Who are your most loved burlesque performers both retired and still performing?
Athena Fatale: That’s a tough one, in that there are so many! I’ve had the honor of performing along with Satan’s Angel at 2 different events and she is one amazing lady. Of course Dita’s costumes are to die for and her attention to detail is impressive. From Texas I really love Coco Lectric, Ruby Joule, and Ginger Valentine. There are a lot of amazing performers in LA too. Diamondback Annie’s creativity is really inspiring, as is Victoria Vengeance and Venus DeMille. I’ve met so many lovely and talented ladies through the burlesque circuit, I wish I could name them all!
Photo by Miss Missy.
Domina Daria: What is your personal philosophy concerning your artistic expression in these performances? When do you feel like your goal has been achieved and the objective met?
Athena Fatale: Each performance is always a work in progress. I’m always looking for ways to make it better. Whether it’s tweaking the choreography or adding more sparkle to the costume or a complete overhaul, I’m always striving to make each performance better than the last one.
Domina Daria: What words of wisdom might you offer aspiring models and dancers who are looking to expand their repertoire to include burlesque performances?
Athena Fatale: Research the history of burlesque, understand what it is, where it comes from, and what it entails. Burlesque IS stripping. If you’re not comfortable getting naked on stage then burlesque is not for you. You can find burlesque classes in several cities, and if not there is always the Internet. And of course Google your desired stage name to make sure it isn’t already taken. Come up with something unique that fits your stage persona.
Photo by Lithium Picnic.
Domina Daria: You have performed and currently are performing in many venues. Of the venues you have experienced which were your most favorable experiences and why? Are there any that you would like to participate in that you haven't yet?
Athena Fatale: I’ve performed in a LOT of different venues, for sure. I always love to perform at the Lizard Lounge in Dallas. That is my home club and where many of my first performances took place, and I’m incredibly comfortable on that stage. But one of my favorite experiences was performing at the historic Texas Theater, best known as the theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. I just wish there had been heat!
Domina Daria: What do you think of burlesque and film? Should an indie or other attempt be made to create a great burlesque film?
Athena Fatale: Well there was that one burlesque movie starring a couple of pop stars and featuring lots of singing and dancing in fabulous costumes… but no burlesque. That was unfortunate. And it really fed some misconceptions about burlesque that we’ll be fighting for years to come. ‘Burlesque’ was nothing but a buzzword to them. There have been some great documentaries about burlesque that have come out in the last few years, I really like Pretty Things by Liz Goldwyn.
Domina Daria: Where do you see burlesque performances in the future? Is it possible for the momentum to continue on for many years to come?
Athena Fatale: The growth of the burlesque scene in Dallas still amazes me. When I started performing there were 3 of us in the Dallas area. Now there are over 60 with multiple shows each month! That blows me away. But even though everything has been done before, there are still so many unique performers that continue to create original routines. I often wonder when we’ll collectively run out of ideas. I hope the momentum does hold.
Domina Daria: You travel a lot and have many interesting irons in the fire. What are some of the great events you are planning on being a part of in the future? How can people wanting to learn more about you and your work go to find out about you?
Athena Fatale: I’m currently working with Stockroom.com on their 25th Anniversary party which will be a phenomenal event held in 2013. In the mean time, I’m recovering from knee surgery and slowly starting to perform again. I just performed at the 4th Annual Dallas Burlesque Fest and am very happy to be back in the spotlight. For information and updates on performances and travels, visit my website AthenaFatale.com and follow me at twitter.com/AthenaFatale.
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