Women encouraged to push boundaries at dance group
A dance group has encouraged women to push the boundaries and discover their inner confidence as they prepare for a spectacular show.
Self-confessed showgirl Ellie Whitefield set up Phoenix Belles Burlesque four years ago in a quest to fulfil her own ambitions and inspire others.
Having previously worked in bars and retail Ellie was desperate to ditch the nine to five and embrace her theatrical roots. The burlesque group was born.
She now has more than 30 women in her troupe who are preparing to showcase their talents in a show next month.
Ellie said: “Burlesque is a feel-good factor. There are so many different types of performers, it can be whatever you want it to be.
“It’s a fantastic group of ladies who are full of fun and confidence. The show is a great opportunity for people to have a laugh.”
Traditionally burlesque is a variety show which is both provocative and comedic.
It features singers, solo dances and slapstick sketches.
Ellie’s troupe also performs striptease acts, but she insists everyone can perform at a level they are comfortable with, whether it’s peeling off gloves or stripping down to just underwear and tassels.
She said: “It’s just like being on the beach in a bikini, but with more sparkle, gems and feathers.
"But there’s never any pressure to get your kit off.
“My ladies are all shapes and sizes. It’s all about being body positive with absolutely no body shaming. It’s amazing to see such a range of people on stage.”
The dancers use different props to enhance their performance. Wings, fans, canes and top hats all add to the spectacle, but can also give novice dancers a feeling of security.
The group are putting the finishing touches to their routines ahead of the show All That Sass.
Ellie’s husband Jamie will be helping out as a stage hand with some of the other husbands.
She said: “I’d love to get them on stage for a men’s routine one day.”
The show is for over 18s only and takes place at Stamford Corn Exchange Theatre on Saturday, September 8.
Tickets cost £16 from 01780 766455.
Classes take place in Oakham on Tuesday evenings and in Stamford on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
To join contact Ellie on 07707 103418 or find Phoenix Belles Burlesque on Facebook.