Burlesque performer Miss Betsy Rose gives you a look behind the curtains of her dream job

"When I was young I always dreamt of being Margot Fonteyn"

Interview by Henry Gomez

Q1. What inspired your passion for performance art and who has been supporting you from the beginning?

I have always had a passion for performing. I started taking ballet lessons when I was 3 and by the age of 5 I was performing on professional stage. I crossed over from my commercial dance career into the Burlesque world 2 years ago, following a life-time fascination with the bygone era. I have watched countless old black and white movies starting from when I was very young. Having such a supportive family has made performing for me such an easy choice. I was lucky enough to have parents able to send me to all the dance classes I wished to attend as a child and always encouraging me to follow my dreams.

Q2. Have you always aspired to be artist, or did you ever dream of following a different path?

I always knew I would take a creative path of some sort. Although all I can ever remember wanting to do was perform, I also have passion for art. I love to paint and I have a huge passion for vintage fashion.

Q3. How do you feel about the your industry today?

I feel I am at a very exciting time in my industry today. Burlesque has certainly "boomed" again since its revival in the late nineties. It is certainly on trend so to speak, but it is amazing how mainstream it has become in recent years and how it is becoming slightly more socially acceptable now. There are constantly more and more new performers evolving and more and more new nights starting out. In London especially, any night of the week you are spoilt for choice if you want to watch Burlesque or Cabaret...compared to just 5 years ago which was not the case at all.

Q4. Where do you see yourself five years from now??

I'm not entirely sure. I don't like to close any doors, but I will certainly still be performing...who knows what tomorrow will be? I would like to break into the acting world one day so we shall see...

Q5. Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to tell us about?

I have a few exciting projects that I am currently working on. I have become the newest member of "The Girly Show" as "Pin up Girly". A new lounge is opening up very soon in London which we will star in as "The girlies" so we are currently rehearsing for the up and coming shows. I am working a lot in Europe at the moment also with my Agency Voodoo De Luxe who are based in Milan.

Q6. Who have you always dreamt of working with/for and why? How would you go about accomplishing this?

When I was young I always dreamt of being Margot Fonteyn and dancing with her Partner Rudolf Nureyev...they had the most romantic, elegant and intense dance partnership. I would watch videos of them and I would dream of one day bing adored by the crowd the way Fonteyn was.

Q7. As you are starting out in your career, what steps do you plan on taking to reach your goal?

I always strive to be as professional as possible, to be the best I can be in my profession and to be pleasant to work with...I hope that as long as I continue to work this way I will continue to have a successful career.

Q8. What is the greatest thing about working in the your industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?

I get paid to do what I love in life. I meet amazing people and see parts of the world I may not have ever seen.

Q9. If you could have asked anyone for advice.  Who would you have liked to ask?? 

I would have loved to ask one of the original stars of Burlesque some of their little trade secrets. I once read in a book about a lady in the circus who was an animal trainer...she wondered into the ring draped in the most beautiful and elaborate mink coat on her whilste thousands of mink ran off her to reveal her naked self underneath! Not so much advise, but wow would I have loved to speak with that woman!

Q10. From your experience in the arts, what advice could you offer people looking to get to where you are today? 

Be true to yourself, stay an original and try not to copy or follow others. Networking is so important, so get out there and meet with as many people as you can.

Q11. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in the Performance Arts?

Do whatever you can...even if you don’t have the money or opportunity to take class, read books on the area of performance art you wish to pursue, research is always important. I was lucky enough to be given a scholarship to train as a dancer so I have taken many classes, but I have never taken a Burlesque lesson in my life. Burlesque is an expression of you and there is not wrong or right way to do so. It is not a genre of dance, like ballet or contemporary...it's more about confidence, expressionism and grace.

Q12. How many years have you been fighting to get to where you are today? And what has this time in your life been like?

I have been dancing for 20 years and performing for 18 of those. There is always an element of struggle in performing as you have to constantly fight for the next job and compete against so many other people. Making sure you are always on top of your game and the best you can be is so important. Having a bad show or an "off day" can be crutial as there is always someone hot on your heels for your position.

Q13. From your experience so far, what have you found to be most challenging? And how are you dealing with it?

Leaning to be your own boss I find is difficult as you have to find a balance of being strict enough with yourself but also to give yourself a break from time to time. Performing isn’t just my job but my life.

Q14. Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?

There have been so many, though I do regard every job lucky as I am doing what I love. The first professional job I landed when I graduated from dance college was a Head and Shoulders advert campaigne which was such an important platform for me. Last year I took part in the award winning show, Circus Burlesque at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Miss Betsy Rose's website:

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