Chrys Columbine, the queen of international burlesque, talks to BelleBeirut about her debuts in burlesque, her career, and her shows!
1- How would you introduce yourself to the people who know nothing about you?
I would just say: “Hello, my name is Chrys” (giggles). I generally don’t like to, let’s say, project a direct image onto someone. I think that people should make up their own minds. If you like me… that’s great, let’s be friends. If you don’t… you know where the door is, you can show yourself out.
I think everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I just like to meet people, and see how it goes.
2- What was it like growing up in London?
It was quite hectic, because I grew up in Camden [an area which is quite famous (Camden market)]. But it was a rough area when I was growing up, […] It was interesting, [living there] you grow up being tough and learning how to survive stressful situations.
3- What lead you to the world of Burlesque?
I’ve always been enamoured by old style retro-glamour, hollywood icons… I grew up watching films. When I was little, I wanted to be like my silver screen idols. So when I discovered burlesque, I found that it was a way of making my dreams come true.
It all started when I was doing fashion modelling as a teenager [I really hated it]. I ended up going to the alternative side of it, namely corseterie and lingerie… and it was through it that I discovered burlesque. I saw, by chance, my first burlesque show at a club in London and I thought: “Wow, I’m going to do this”. This live show really inspired me.
The fact that I have a background in theater and film, and of course the fact that I was a trained classical pianist helped me a lot on stage and on screen. So I was already past the stage fright, and it was all about how I was going to create a great show with so many people doing great things in burlesque.
4- What is burlesque?
Burlesque comes from the Italian word “Burlo – Burlesco”, which means “joke”. Burlesque originates from Italian opera. It was sort of a musical sketch. It came about in the Victorian age, if you think about it “can-can” in Moulin-Rouge is from opera (Offenbach). It is basically a theatrical performance that is playful and chic but also sophisticated. It is largely about playing with the audience and not taking yourself too seriously.
5- What do you like about burlesque?
It’s the fact that no performance is ever the same. Of course the act itself is choreographed, fashioned, and themed. But the fact that communication with the audience is very important, and every audience is different, so every performance is going to be different. Every vibe, every experience is going to be different from the moment I will get on stage till the moment I’ll leave. And I love that, I guess if I preferred predictability I would be in a 9 to 5 job, but I don’t!
6- You’ve been touring the world for some time now, which performance was the most memorable so far?
It would have to be a toss up between Ireland and Australia. The crowds (on and off stage) were absolutely amazing, I had a great time. I am sure my show in Beirut will be a great one!
The “porcelain doll“, the only performer who combines the art of burlesque with her breath-taking skills as a trained-concert pianist, will be performing two exclusive shows at the Casino du Liban on the 6th and 7th of November. Tickets are on sale at all Virgin Ticketing Box Office branches, all tickets include dinner and open bar.