Cabaret Risqué: FELLA-nies and MISS-demeanors fundraiser is fast approaching! It takes place on May 5th at the Mad Art Gallery starting at 8:00 p.m. What better way to kick things off than to talk to our emcee, international showgirl Lola Van Ella? She spoke with us about all things cabaret, risqué, and burlesque!
How long have you been doing burlesque performances, and how did you get into it?
“I have been performing for 13 years; I am currently in the 13th year. I got involved through cabaret and musical theatre. Years back in 2005, I was doing a cabaret performance with some fabulous men and a woman. It was that woman that told me about Rue 13 and how they do burlesque shows on Saturdays. I decided to go check it out and it changed my life. I have been an actress, a dancer and a singer all of my life.I was also in a sketch comedy troupe. Burlesque performances just became a natural fit for me.”
How did you come to work with the Gateway Men’s Chorus?
“I was contacted by people at the Gateway Men’s Chorus who wanted to do something fun and different for their Cabaret Risqué event. They said my name was tossed around, that when they asked who should host the event if they had heard of me and that I would be a great choice for the role. I was the emcee for the Main Stage at PRIDE St. Louis and had introduced the Gateway Men’s Chorus, but had never had the chance to work with them prior to this.”
What acts should people look forward to seeing at Cabaret Risqué?
“One group is my troupe called the Bon-Bons made of graduating students from Van Ella Studios. They are showgirls, perform choreographed pieces, and are wonderful solo performers. I have a sample of the Bon-Bons coming. Maxi Glamour is coming to perform a burlesque meets drag performance. Adam Surge will also be performing.”
“Ami Amoré, one of the teachers at Van Ella Studios and well-known beloved belly dancer will perform on the Main Stage. She and her partner - I think his name is Trance - will dance together. Misty Lotus will be coming from Switzerland. I was performing in Berlin and I was in her show. She wanted to do a tour before coming to perform in my Show Me Burlesque Festival and it worked out perfectly for her to make an appearance in the Cabaret Risqué.”
How did you become an Internationally-Acclaimed Showgirl?
“I have been performing for a really long time. In 2009, I performed at a festival in London. I made connections with many people in Nuremberg, Germany before burlesque was popular. Many countries have a popular burlesque scenes now. I got really lucky and was invited to perform. I did my first European tour by figuring it out on my own. I also performed in Jamaica that year.”
“In 2009 and 2015, I did massive European tours including places like Italy, Germany, France, Scotland, and more, which helped people to get to know who I am. I got to connect with so many people who said, “The next time you come, you must be in my show.” That’s how it happens, people see your work and want to work with you. It feels really great to hear that people will want you to perform for the them the next time to come across seas.”
You can learn more about Lola Van Ella and Van Ella Studios at vanellaproductions.com. We hope to see you next month at Cabaret Risqué! Tickets are still available, but we encourage you to act quickly so as not to miss out.