Who is Burlesque?
This Blog presents interviews with Burlesque performer. I interview inspiring stage personalities on their ways, their fascination, their realities.
As long as the burlesque history of my decades is alive, I am up to capture it`s stories.
Dia: Salut Colette,
nice to meet you for this Interview.
I had the pleasure to see your Show: 'Au claire de lune' and to present it at my event - Burlesque Night.
Your performance is very feminine, melancolic and comes in a good
dance technique. As well as your whole appearance as Pierrot character is nice.
You told me, you`ve worked two years on that show, which is impressing.
Colette: Well I took one year to create the character and the costume with my stylist, and to think about details, like what I want to put on it. I always work with a designer, who is a friend of mine.
For example the idea at the beginning was to have a lot of collars, bacause my name is Collerette. In French it means a big collar during the Renaissance time. So I was looking for a character who is able to wear a collar.
Pierrot was my first idea and afterwards the idea was born to have a lot of different collars. So first a big one and a smaller one, a smaller one and at least nothing. We want to be everything in black and white, the front in white and the back in black. And after that the mix of this two colors, when I`m almost naked.
A symmetrical mix like you`ll find it in the style of Art Deco.
During one year we worked on that, searched pictures from the 30’s and 20’s.
And in the same time I worked on the story on the stage. Looking for music. And well it`s always a mess. Because it`s difficult to
find good music.
Dia: I perfectly agree on that!
Colette: And after one year of working on the costume, the story, the music, I took one year to work on it on stage. And then, well, it`s a mix of rehearse in a studio to make the choreography and at the same time to meet the audience.
Because the act changes all the time if the audience is small or if it`s big.
The interaction with the audience is very different then, especially when I`m with this character.
Because Pierrot is a really shy person, I really play on it, like: ‚Oh I don`t want to go on stage, Oh yes want to go on stage.’
And the story of Pierrot is not complete if there is no melancholy and love. So I have a love story with the moon, it`s the giant baloon.
But the point is really work on the character and take different faces. And to have something complete and not just one idea and explore this idea. Because I think it`s important to don´t stay with the first idea, but to proof it.
Dia: Your name is Colette Collerette - why did you choose this name?
Colette: It was really difficult to choose a stage name in the beginning and I was dreaming of somebody to tell me: ‚Okay, that`s you’.
And in fact two people make it happen. So it is perfect.
When I started with Burlesque I was working with lady Flo and George Ban Gable.
George was thinking that I was really looking like Colette. She`s a french writer in the beginning of the century.
'You will do foolish things,
do them with enthusiasm.'
Known as Colette
She had really curly hair and she was a very popular writer in the century because she was doing performances as well. It
was really: ‚Oh she looks like her!'
And after we have worked together on stage, Flo said, Oh well,
the name ‚Colette’ is perfect. 'And ‚Collerette’ is matching, like a rhyme.
Like a music.' And I say: ‚Okay: this is it’. - Colette Collerette!
Dia: A pretty unusual way to find your stage name, isn`t it?
And when did you start Burlesque? And how?
Colette: I start 2011. And well, I am a comedian. Comedian, dancer and actress too.
I start dance when I was three and theatre when I was a teenager.
And afterwards I graduate at the Royal Conservatory of Liège.
And well, I always was passionate by Vintage and Retro. It`s a really big part of my life.
I was dreaming to play in old movies, when I was a child.
And then, when I was looking for a job, I find an audition and the title is: ‚Do you like dance, do you like to play, do you like comedy, do you like old movies and I was like - ‚YES!’
Well I started like this.
With an act I created – the smallest cinema in the world.
I walk on the audience and I got a lot of movies on my cinema box.
It`s a little small cinema, like a Cigarette girl and people can come to me and see old movies. Of course I choose a mix of really old movies. It`s really fun. So I started like this, you know more interactive thing.
Dia: Now you are a real Burlesque performer and you are part of the Belgium Burlesque scene? What can you tell us about it?
Colette: It`s pretty new I think. It`s the beginning. It's not new in Belgium but the new thing is that it's start to be regular. People enjoy it very much I think. There are more and more parties with Burlesque. And that`s a really good thing. In the beginning there were big parties. And it is interesting, because there is more something like a little scene with smaller shows.
So new performer can start at this kind of shows. Because I think for the beginning it`s not the good thing to start with a big show, but with a small stage. It`s better to proof it with a smaller audience. I think so.
Dia: A Bruxelles performer told me, there are only ten Burlesque performer around Belgium? Is it right?
- Colette: Yes, I think you can count by the fingers of two hands - I guess.
But I think that there is a lot of newbies.
Dia: Please imagine, a girl is coming to you. Saying; 'I fell in love with burlesque. What can I do to become a burlesque performer?
To see as more performers as you can. And to see what is it and what exists in Burlesque. And the other thing is to be true to
yourself. And don`t try to be somebody else, but really be yourself.
I think a really difficult question. And that`s the other thing that`s interesting in Burlesque: is that most of the girls are coming from everywhere. They are theatre people, stylists, advocats. You don`t approach the stage in the same way if you are a stylist or a journalist. So there is no one tip. There are always different aspects. It depends on the person, and I think I would just have a conversation with the girl who asks and have a beer.
I think if you just learn techniques from Burlesque, I got the impression that it will make it smaller. And if you put a lot of techniques from everywhere you make it big. And the interesting thing about Burlesque is you can mix everything and you can do everything on stage – you`re really free. And it`s really important that girls can be free within Burlesque, that`s why we enjoy it.
Dia: What are the challenges about being a burlesque artist?
Colette: To not be a stereotype. I think it`s kind of difficult to not be a stripper and be true to yourself all the time on stage. To be in the here and now. It`s really important to be in the moment with the audience.
Dia: Merci for this Interview Colette!