As we ramp up to Boylesque 101 (starts March 19th!), we wanted to offer you two perspectives from recent male graduates of the Academy. Apollo Vidra took Boylesque 101 last year, and The Marquis Facade took Burlesque 101 last summer with Indigo Blue. Both have continued performing since they graduated, and sat down with the Academy to offer their thoughts on taking 101.

Apollo Vidra

Q: What attracted you to burlesque?

A: I first saw a Blonde Ambition Burlesque show about two years ago, still newer to Seattle. I was fascinated by the radical body positivity, high art, silliness, and just all around fun of it! From then, I was avidly watching burlesque in Seattle, and it was about a year later that I attended a teaser class from the Academy, taught by Waxie Moon. If I thought I was hooked before, I was sunk now. I was so enchanted by the art form and the small taste I had of it that I signed up for Boylesque 101 that night.

Q: What was it like to take Boylesque 101?

A: It’s a whirlwind of amazing. Waxie Moon and Ernie Von Schmaltz are incredible instructors, and they’re both immensely supportive. I felt pushed in every way to become a better performer. Six weeks is not much time, but somehow, the glitter magic always has its way, and things come together. Aside from the craft itself, getting to know my classmates was a blast. The group of guys I met in Boylesque 101 is very special to me, and I’ve developed some deep friendships. It’s an awesome glitter-brotherhood.

Q: What is Boylesque? Do you think of yourself as a Boylesque performer?

A: Boylesque as a term is one I enjoy, but not one I always use for myself. At its core, boylesque is just “male burlesque,” but all genders can participate in “boylesque,” because honestly, why not? A friend once pointed out that the word is “a burlesque on the word burlesque,” so for that reason alone I enjoy it. I tend to call myself a burlesquer or burlesque performer, just because in context I’d rather be a part of the whole community than a subset, but I certainly wouldn’t correct anyone who used the word “boylesque” to describe me. I also call myself a drag king, musician, performance artist, queer artist, otter, etc, so words are all fun and games as long as we’re using them for building each other up rather than dividing us into camps.

Q: What advice would you give someone considering taking Boylesque 101?

A: DO IT. Well, that is, if you want an amazing experience that will change how you view yourself and your performance capabilities. Even if you never plan to put on the pasties and glitter again, it’s worth the confidence you will gain and the camaraderie you will form with fellow performers.

The Marquis Facade

Q: What attracted you to burlesque?

A: I would never have even thought of doing burlesque if a friend hadn’t suggested it to me. I’m actually pretty shy about my body normally. But since my friend knew the scene and knew me, I started to consider it. I started coming up with ideas that I thought could be interesting. But what really convinced me was going to the Seattle Boylesque Festival. I saw the range of what could be done: the creativity, the humor, the beauty. And so I went to the Boylesque teaser class with Waxie. After that, I had to sign up. Since the next boylesque class wasn’t until spring, I had to sign up for the general burlesque class. I just felt like I couldn’t wait.

Q: What was it like to take Burlesque 101?

A: Burlesque 101 was life-changing. Literally. I had always had a creative, artistic instinct about me, but I could somehow never find the right way to express it. As soon as I started planning out my act and rehearsing, I could feel what I wanted to say flow out of my mind and into my body, and from there into my audience. I feel like, after finding this medium of expression, I live a fuller life and, indeed, am more of a person. It has given me a joy I’ve been searching for for a long time.
Miss Indigo, my instructor, was amazing. I came to her with a somewhat risky idea, and as soon as I told her, she said, “I can see it now. It’s great.” She really nurtured everyone’s individual style- I did not feel like anyone was being pushed into a “type” of performance, but that she brought out that piece of something to share that everyone had inside them.

Q: What is Boylesque? Do you think of yourself as a Boylesque performer?

A: I actually don’t think of myself as a “boylesquer.” I think of myself as a burlesquer. This is a beautiful art form that has been developed by women, and I don’t think that men performing it changes it into something that needs a new name. That said, while I wouldn’t trade my Burlesque 101 experience for anything in the world, I see the benefit and usefulness of a “boylesque” class. Focusing how male-bodied performers present themselves on stage, how the move, pose, etc., would have been useful for me. I also understand that camaraderie that being with groups of similar people can foster, and gender is one of those categories that can foster camaraderie. I don’t think that should be discounted, especially if someone is nervous about performing.

Q: What advice do you have for someone considering taking Boylesque 101?

A: My advice would be to go see some male performers, and to take Waxie’s teaser class. Those things might seem simple and obvious, but those were the two things that made up my mind for me. Talk to the performers after the show too! This is an amazingly friendly and open community, and as long as you approach them respectfully, almost any performer is happy to talk to you.